Marana prides itself on being business-friendly and always looking for new amenities for their residents. One new restaurant opened last week and another will open over the summer. Construction on several big projects is also continuing. 

On May 14 the new Chipotle at Arizona Pavilions opened. The gourmet Mexican grill chain moved into the space formerly occupied by Payless Shoes. The location was not originally built to be a restaurant, so the space had to undergo some additional renovations before they could open. 

Bianchi’s Italian will open their second location in Marana this summer. The locally owned restaurant known for its Italian food and wings held a job fair back in April and will take over the space near Tangerine and Thornydale that was occupied by the Steak Out. 

When Bianchi’s opens it will give those living in Dove Mountain and Rancho Vistoso a new dining option in the area. Bianchi’s will have delivery in the area. 

The original Bianchi’s is located on Silverbell and Speedway and have been open since 1977.

There are no other restaurants slated to open, but according to the town there are always a few interested parties looking at locations. 

“There’s a spot for another restaurant in future Arizona Pavilions construction but no lease has been signed,” said Rodney Campbell, Town of Marana Public Information Officer.

Construction has begun on the splash pad at Marana Heritage Park. It is on track to open in July 

and when completed the 4,500 square-foot splash pad will be the largest in Southern Arizona. 

“It will be substantially bigger than the pad at Brandi Fenton (Park),” said Jennifer Christelman of the Marana Planners Office.

The pad will have a farm theme, with a variety of water related attractions for kids. It will be open during warmer months.

Construction is also in full swing on the veterans cemetery. Work has begun on one of the main structures, but completion of the project is not expected until some time in 2016.

The cemetery is being built on 35 acres donated by the Kai family and additional land donated by TMR Investors in northern Marana.

The cost of the construction is being funded by a grant from the national Veterans Administration’s Veterans Cemetery Grants Program. An additional grant will pay for paving the road into the cemetery. 

Construction continues on the premium outlet project. 

Most of the external construction has been completed and things like sidewalks, awnings and other cosmetic features are being built. Tenants are supposed to be moving in over the summer.

So many new things are coming into Marana, but something old is leaving the community. The Columbine II, a 1948 Lockheed C-121A Constellation, which was the first presidential airplane to be called “Air Force One” during the Dwight Eisenhower administration, will be leaving Marana. 

A company called Dynamic Aviation has been working to restore the plane, which has sat in a lot adjacent to the Marana Airpark, and now that they know it can be flown, they have decided to purchase it. 

“After extensive inspection and repairs on the aircraft we are ready to accept it, and to proceed with closing in June,” said Karl D. Stoltzfus, founder of Dynamic Aviation in a press release. “Many challenges remain before we can fly it to Virginia but we are now confident that it is feasible.”

Stoltzfus sees the plane as “a symbol of America’s integrity and that of our leaders in that era” and wants to operate it on the air show circuit and is considering taking the Columbine II to major anniversary celebrations for events of the 1940s and 1950s.

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