Marana Town Council member Jon Post remembers when Ina Road was just dirt and bumpy bus rides to school took almost two hours.
“Having grown up here, I don’t see that growth is something that has been bad,” Post said “I mean, when they first put that McDonald’s at Cortaro Road, which everybody’s used to, but that was a big thing.”
Now Post hopes to continue to guide Marana’s future as he seeks reelection to the Town Council post he was first elected to in 2008.
Post has been a Marana resident since he was six months old and marvels at the evolution of his Southern Arizona town. Post’s father grew up on a small farm on River Road and continued his farming legacy in Marana with his own family.
Post took a liking to farm life and received his bachelor’s degree in agriculture. The most surprising part about Post’s love of farming is not the plants or soil, but rather the tractors.
“I’d want to go to buy a new tractor, so after I bought a new tractor, now I need to have more acres to support that tractor to buy it, right?” Post said.
Post fell for tractors the same way car enthusiasts obsess over the newest sports car. His love for tractors coupled with his love for the Marana community kept Post in town.
“Marana has a very unique farming community, we’re kind of buffered from the rest of the issues that are happening in the rest of Arizona, like the water struggles they’re having with the CAP (Central Arizona Project),” Post said.
The Central Arizona Project pipes in Colorado River water to Pima, Maricopa and Pinal counties. A 22-year drought in the West recently led to the declaration of a Tier 1 water shortage for the Colorado River. Post said Marana is lucky to have its excellent groundwater reserves.
Post is famously known as one of Marana’s longstanding town council members and owner of the seasonally popular Marana Pumpkin Patch. Post also grows cotton, wheat, corn and hay. Like everybody else these days, Posts’ business is being squeezed by the prices of inflation.
“We’ve always worked on very, very small profit margins and now we have huge price escalations of our inputs: our fertilizer and fuel,” Post said.
Nationally, fertilizer prices have jumped anywhere from 30% to 100%. Some crops are affected more than others and this jump in pricing inevitably leads to a higher price of his product. Post said it’s really difficult to be a farmer right now and has compassion for businesses affected by the current state of the economy.
Post has served Marana’s council since 2008 and doesn’t plan on leaving.
“I want my community to still be that pleasant place to live, you know, that you feel at home,” Post said.
While having abundant experience in farming, Post committed himself to community service in Marana since his early 20s. He was a volunteer fire firefighter before Marana had a fire department. He also attempted to run for council in his 20s and, “in hindsight, it was a good thing I lost.”
Post admits he was too young at the time but he knew he wanted to make a difference in Marana’s growth. He served on Marana’s Planning and Zoning Committee, the board of the Chamber of Commerce, the Trico Electric Board of Directors, and as the Chairman of the Board of the Cortaro Marana Irrigation District. After learning more about the town’s operations, he set his eyes on Town Council. Over the last 14 years, Post has seen the Town grow at a rapid pace and wants to see more amenities available to Marana residents.
“We want to be able to run to the grocery store, we want to be able to go to a restaurant and not have it be 30 minutes away,” Post said.
Post recognizes that Marana residents have raised concerns about growth, especially when it comes to ensuring there’s enough water for the future. Post said there’s water for the future and transforming farmland to housing can save on water usage.
“A cotton crop uses anywhere from four to five acre feet of water, where an acre of houses use one acre foot of water,” Post said.
Post also points to the Council’s accomplishment of acquiring a wastewater treatment facility from Pima County in 2012. He said buying this facility allowed the Town to claim recharge water credits with the Arizona Department of Water Resources, which allows for more growth. If the county hadn’t fought to take the plant from the county, the county could have used it to restrict growth.
“We had other people that weren’t associated with the town telling the town how they were going to grow,” Post said.
Post is also proud of the town’s new parks and recreational facilities for families.
“I have two grandkids and I take them to the splash pads, and they’re going to start playing soccer and using the park and rec programs,” Post said. “Watching those parks and rec programs grow through that time period has been awesome.”
The Council passed a temporary half cent sales tax in 2021 that will support the building of a multi-generational recreation center. The Town Parks & Recreation Master Plan 2020-2030 included a survey with community input revealing recreational preferences. The possibility of a new community center and aquatic facility was the most popular among respondents. Post and the Council heard the community loud and clear.
The community and aquatic center will be built in about seven years on the northwest corner of Bill Gaudette Drive and Marana Main Street, near the Marana Road exit on Interstate 10.
Post said he wants to make Marana more accessible, safe, and economically diverse as the population grows. He wants to create an arts program, develop more recreational trails, continue monitoring water quality, build emergency access roads for new neighborhoods and support first responders.
“It’s just something that I have always known that I needed to do,” Post said. “An expectation that I needed to serve in my community.”
Editor’s note: The Marana News is profiling candidates for the Marana Town Council ahead of the August primary.