After a year of living with the COVID-19 pandemic, all our lives have changed in some way. We are finally seeing our lives get back to some kind of normal. More and more people are getting vaccinated. Our businesses are working hard to bring employees back to work and open at full capacity. Students are back at school learning in person. People are getting out and doing more things in person.

Here at the chamber, we could not be more excited about all these things. Our main goal remains the same: keeping our businesses open and our community members safe. We are asking for the sake of our community that you continue to stay home if you are sick and wash your hands frequently. If a business requires you to wear a mask, please wear one. If you can get vaccinated, do it. 

On March 18, the Chamber hosted our Virtual Economic Development Business Connection Luncheon. We had three dynamic speakers share with us what trends are happening now and a 2021 forecast for our economic development future in Southern Arizona. 

George W. Hammond, the director of Economic and Business Research Center in the UA Eller College of Management, shared that Arizona is outperforming in job recovery compared to the rest of the United States. The travel and tourism sector are still struggling but we are still spending on goods and services. 

Arizona’s affordable housing makes us an attractive destination. John Carroll, an agent with Land Advisors Organization, spoke about the housing growth in Marana and Pima County. With the current demand in homebuilding, there is a need for anywhere from 16,250 to 34,500 new lots that will need to be developed in the next five years to keep up with the demand. 

John shared the three major areas in Marana for housing: Northern Marana, Dove Mountain and Southern Marana. Northern Marana’s Gladden Farms was the most active of lots sold in Pima County in 2020 with 564 lots purchased. 

Curt Woody, Marana’s director of Economic Development & Tourism, closed the luncheon with the facts about what is happening in Marana. Tourism in Marana is a $142.6 million business and as we move more into 2021 it will still play a huge factor in Marana’s economy. 

Our top tourism attractions are shopping, national and state parks, dining, historic sites and hiking. When Marana looks at economic development, they strategically look at healthcare, tourism, public safety, recreation, education and workforce development, quality of life, community beautification and

infrastructure. 

Some of the tools Marana uses are the Marana Job Creation Incentive Program, the Downtown Marana Reinvestment Fund, the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Town of Marana Economic Development website page, www.selectmarana.com, and social media. 

Future strategies will be supporting Marana’s current businesses, investing in infrastructure, and recruiting and expanding information technology, business services and advanced manufacturing. Marana is working with the education sectors so that present and future employers can attract the talent they need.

Have you heard the Marana Chamber’s latest podcast? Did you know the Marana Chamber had a podcast? We do and we would love for you to subscribe and let us know what you think. There are currently three podcasts available which you can find on all the popular listening sites such as Spotify and Apple Podcast. We also have them on our Facebook and website.

After our meeting of the Focus on Recovery focus group, the Marana Chamber is working towards building a transition task force for employers to deliver resources and tools helping them to foster a cultural environment to bring back and engage previous employee(s); recruit and educate new employees; offer alternative solutions to address pay, safety, and purpose; and increase their bottom line through these efforts

Welcome to our newest members Marana Dems and Friends; Rescue Me Tucson, Inc.; Midwest Regional Bank; and Interfaith Community Services. Thank you to all our current members and for your trust in the Marana Chamber. We appreciate you and all your support.

  

Audra Winters is president/CEO of the Marana Chamber of Commerce. For more information about members or news in this article, go to www.maranachamber.com or call (520) 682-4314.

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