Marana News: Possible changes to Sun Shuttle could have impacts

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Danyelle Khmara of the Marana News wrote a story on the proposed changes to bus routes on Marana. 

Sun Shuttle service is proposing changes to three routes in Marana due to low ridership. The changes won’t leave anyone without access to public transportation, but could make it more costly and time-consuming for the select few who use those routes.

Sun Shuttle rider and Town of Marana employee Kurt Schmidt rides the 413, and said it’s always struggled to be on time because it gets caught up at its southern leg by Regency Plaza. 

Schmidt prefers riding the bus to driving. He said gives him a little down time in his busy day to read. He thinks the proposed changes may have some good outcomes but also some problems, namely making public transportation harder for some low-income residents.

“The Sun Shuttle routes that serve the Town of Marana are pretty important for people who don’t have the ability to get from point A to B without public transportation,” he said.

Read the rest of the stories, including how the routes would be altered and/or eliminated at the Marana News.

Wastewater expansion project on target

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The Town of Marana is in the process of expanding their North Marana Wastewater Facility with two major projects.

The existing facility, which the town took over from the Pima County in 2013, can currently treat up to 500,000 gallons per day. With the recent connecting of the Saguaro Bloom subdivision to the sewer system, it is close to maxing out what the facility in its current configuration can handle.

For North Marana to continue to grow, an expansion had to occur. The expansion to the facility will allow it to treat a total of 1.5 million gallons per day and can handle up to 10,000 new homes or businesses in the area. Marana Utilities Director John Kmiec said the expansion was expected with how fast the area was growing. “In the wastewater world that is a normal planning timeline,” said Kmiec. “The town always knew they were going to have to expand this plant as our planning numbers in the housing and commercial development increased in northern Marana.”

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The facility was already equipped to accommodate future expansion and was one of the reasons the town fought to take over the facility. Although they knew expansion was going to happen sooner rather than later, expanding upon the existing infrastructure was always a preferred option over having to build a new wastewater facility from scratch.

The current treatment lagoon utilizes biolac treatment, which uses bacteria, aeration and other processes to treat wastewater. At the end of the process the town sees treated water that exceeds most standards, but their hope is the new expansion will provide an even cleaner final product, in a more efficient manner.

The expansion will utilize an activated sludge process, which also uses bacteria and biological matter to break down waste and help purify the water. The newer process will utilize two separate aeration basins that can each treat up to 750,000 gallons per day. The design will also allow further expansion, with room for additional aeration basins and clarifiers.

This portion of the project began in March 2017 and is expected to be completed in August 2018. It is currently 35 percent complete. The new expansion will not only be more efficient, but the new system will give them more flexibility in treating water and should give them a better final product.

The water from the new process will be pure enough that they will be able to use it in the recharge basins that will help the town get 100% of the recharge credits from the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

The second and concurrent part of the expansion process is construction of three new recharge basins, as well as pond features and a recreation area. That part of the project is over 55 percent complete.

The entire project is on track and on-schedule.

Cotton Festival Blog No. 3: Meet Buzz

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Marana’s Signature Events are all about bringing the community together. They are about giving the Town’s residents a unique, fun experience and about working hand in hand with our community partners. This year’s Cotton Festival will give us the opportunity to combine both.

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Our emcee for the event is Kiim 99.5 DJ Buzz Jackson. Not only does he represent Kiim FM and the Cumulus family of radio stations who are a important partner in our event, but Buzz is a resident of Marana.

Buzz has lived in Marana since moving to Southern Arizona 16 years ago and has remained a presence in the community. He has been involved in the Town’s Holiday Festival and Fourth of July Star Spangled Spectacular and is excited about the Cotton Festival.

 “Anything I can do to expand my involvement is something that I look forward to,” Buzz said. “Being a part of the community and bringing my family to these events is a lot of fun.”

At Kiim 99.5 Buzz plays all of our country favorites, but tries to add a little fun to every broadcast. He must be doing something right as he has won air personality of the year awards from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. His broadcasts are also heard on many of Westwood One's country stations across America every day.

Buzz has also embraced Marana. He likes to ride his bike on The Loop and can be seen walking Wrangler the Dog in the neighborhood. He is excited to interact with the Marana community at the Cotton Festival.

 “These people are my neighbors,” he said. “It is great to share these events with them and be a part of them with them.”

The Cotton Festival is not possible without our community partners. This year the event is presented by Comcast, in partnership with Core Construction.

Ina Road Update: 09/18

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The Arizona Department of Transportation has provided another update on the Ina Interchange Project. According to Tom Herrman a Public Information Officer for ADOT the project remains on schedule.

“The schedule is holding still,” Herrman said. “Long-term plans remain on track.”

The girders are in place for the eastbound lanes of the Ina Road bridge over I-10. By doing the project in this fashion, there will be no need to disrupt traffic to build the bridges

The girders for the westbound lanes will be coming in the next few weeks. Workers are in the process of pouring the cement for the support columns and once complete the framework for the girders can be put in place.

 Once that portion of the bridge is complete, the next big aspect of the project will be moving the I-10 traffic. Currently the eastbound traffic is using the old westbound lanes, and westbound traffic is using the frontage road. In late December or early January, eastbound traffic will move to the newly build eastbound lanes. After that transition is complete, the westbound traffic will move to the new eastbound lanes – with a safe divider between them.

“We’ll have both directions on the new eastbound lanes, using shoulders and narrower lanes, three lanes in each direction,” Herrman said.

Once traffic is complete re-routed, the destruction of the old westbound lanes and construction of the permanent new westbound lanes can begin. The demolition of the old westbound lanes is also necessary before the middle portion of the Ina Road bridge can be completed as the high way was raised in that area.

Tangerine Road Traffic Alert 9/15 - 9/22

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There are three separate projects on Tangerine Road that are about to begin and they could impact travel in the area. 

On Monday, September 18, through Friday, September 22, the contractor will begin reconstructing Thornydale Road about 1,500 feet south of the Tangerine Road intersection. 

  • Traffic along north and southbound Thornydale Road will be shifted to the west and reduced to one travel-lane from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
  • Flaggers will be on site to direct alternate one-way traffic through the work area.
  • One travel lane in each direction will be maintained overnight.
  • Motorists will be driving on unpaved surfaces.
  • Speed limits are reduced to 25 MPH.
  • Motorists should expect delays.
  • Through travel and turn movements at the Tangerine Road/Thornydale Road intersection will not be impacted.

On Wednesday, September 20, from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., the contractor will installtraffic signal loops on Tangerine Road, at the intersection of Tangerine Road and Camino De Oeste

  • Traffic will be shifted around the work area.
  • Flaggers will be onsite to direct alternate one-way traffic through the work area.
  • Speed limits will be reduced to 25 MPH.
  • Motorists should expect delays.

On Thursday, September 21, from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., the contractor will installtraffic signal loops on Tangerine Road, at the intersection of Tangerine Road and Camino De Manana

  • Traffic will be shifted around the work area.
  • Flaggers will be onsite to direct alternate one-way traffic through the work area.
  • Speed limits will be reduced to 25 MPH.
  • Motorist should expect delays.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Kathy or Nanette at (520) 623-3073 or by email at info@tangerineroad.info. We look forward to working with you throughout the project, and encourage any feedback to ensure the Project Team can deliver a beneficial project for the whole community. 

For more information on this project, please visit www.tangerineroad.info. For more detailed schedule information please click here.

Please be aware of bicyclists and pedestrians in the area and ensure that dogs, horses and other animals are not in the construction zone to ensure the safety of all.

Aerial View of Ina Interchange Project

HawkView Aerial Services took to the skies with their drone to get some great shots of the Ina Interchange Project, which they posted on their Facebook page.

Hawkview is an imaging service providing aerial video and photography using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's), commonly known as drones.

Marana News: Residents decide how to improve town

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The Marana News' Danyelle Khmara had a nice profile on the Marana Citizens' Forum.

Marana residents are about to launch into seven weeks of brainstorming, at the upcoming fall Marana Citizens’ Forum, to decide on recommendations to better the town. 

“The Citizens’ Forum is an active participatory method for the public to engage in town projects,” said Vickie Hathaway, communications manager for the Town of Marana.

Twice a year, Marana holds citizens’ forums where interested residents along with designated representatives from the Marana Unified School District, Northwest Fire District, Marana Health Center and the Marana Chamber of Commerce discuss that forum’s designated topic, including, but not limited to town beautification, safety, education and policy.

Read the rest of the story in the Marana News

Taking fun seriously in Marana

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By D. Tyrell McGirt - Interim Parks and Rec Director

The Town of Marana places an emphasis on recreation. It is one of the key components of our Strategic Plan, and is something we feel is critical to a vital community. 

We have invested in our parks and other recreational amenities, and have created a parks and recreation department that is second to none. Our goal is to provide diverse recreational opportunities that create economic benefits and a healthy lifestyle. 

As we enter the fall, we have a number of exciting events and programs to offer our residents who are interested in having fun, while also staying healthy.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, we will host our second Marana Game Day Cornhole Tournament. The event takes the best aspects of tailgating. Like a good tailgate party, our event will have food, games, comradery and even a few adult beverages.

The centerpiece of the event is the Cornhole Tournament, also known as beanbag toss. Dubbed a lawn game, it has found great popularity at tailgates and barbecues. The object of the game is to toss a beanbag, or a bag of corn, into a hole on an angled, rectangular platform.

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Fifty two-person teams will compete for the championship, so there is a lot of pride on the line for the bragging rights as best cornhole players in Marana. 

This year we are moving the event to the Pines Golf Club, which is better equipped for both watching college football games and for serving beer.

All call for fall: With the new season comes a whole new crop of programs from Marana Parks and Recreation. This year, we are offering some old favorites, as well as a number of new programs.

Sports are a major component of what our parks and rec department does, and they try to offer activities for all ages and skill level. We recently began offering once-a-week Open Gyms for basketball and volleyball at the Leman Academy. These open gyms allow players to get out and play, whether it is just for a bit of exercise, or to improve their skills for an upcoming season. 

Our pee wee soccer just began, with 100 percent of the slots now filled. Early registration is underway for our equally popular flag football leagues, which provide a great taste of the gridiron for Marana’s young athletes. 

We are trying to expose young athletes to a variety of sports and activities. We have golf lessons, including our Itty Bitty Open Golf for our youngest newcomers to the sport. There are tennis lessons, lacrosse clinics to introduce one of the fastest growing sports to the community and Steve Berry’s Martial Arts Academy, which is open to those as young as six and as old as 96. 

Got a little competitive streak in you? We have some events that might just scratch that itch. Our Dirt Dash at the Wild Burro is a challenging trail run. We invite hikers and runners alike to test themselves with a grueling 14.8K race on a one-of-a-kind single-track course. If you can handle it, this race will force you through massive elevation gains, extreme downhills and several technical sections.

Prefer to view the world from a bicycle? Then Marana’s 28-mile stage of the El Tour de Tucson might be the ride for you. For the second straight year, we are hosting a leg of the El Tour. The later start time and shorter distances are perfect for riders who want to get a taste of the premier cycling event, whether they are new to the sport or just want a shorter ride. Take a detour after the event, and check out some of our many local attractions. Learn more by visiting DiscoverMarana.org.

It may be a few months out, but our annual Turkey Trot 5K/10K race is coming up. The race is a great way to burn some calories in anticipation of Thanksgiving feasts. 

We currently offer monthly guided hikes of the Tortolitas, and we will soon offer guided horseback rides, giving our residents two ways to enjoy the beauty of the mountains. 

Recreation is important to a healthy community, and, as you can tell, we take having fun very seriously in Marana. 

A version of this Town Message appeared in the Marana News.

Marana represented at El Tour de Tucson press conference

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For the third consecutive year the Town of Marana is sponsoring the El Tour de Tucson Perimeter Bike Race. It also marks the second year that the Town is hosting their own 28-mile segment of the race.

It is the 35th edition of the race, which according to race organizer Richard DeBernardis is the “longest running bicycle event in the state of Arizona.”

The annual press conference was held at the Mexican Consulate and DeBernardis said the idea is to make the race not only the pride of Tucson and Arizona, but Mexico as well.

“This is going to be the start of a long, great relationship,” DeBernardis said.

The race traditionally honors a person or persons who have contributed to the sport of cycling, philanthropy, or other positive endeavors. This year they honored Lila and Totten Warfield, who have been volunteering for 33 years and have celebrated over 70 years of marriage.

The Town of Marana shared the stage with race sponsors and community partners including Casino Del Sol, Easter Seals/Blake Foundation, Pima County Department of Transportation, and Tucson Medical Center.

“I want to express my excitement for this year’s El Tour De Tucson, and particularly for Marana’s 28-mile segment starting at the Marana Heritage River Park located in the heart of our Gladden Farms community,” said the Town of Marana’s Communications Manager Vickie Hathaway.” For the second year in a row, cyclists will see amazing views of the Tucson Mountain range, as well as discover Marana’s scenic open spaces as they ride toward the finish line."

Last year Marana welcomed over 350 racers to the Marana leg. The Marana leg boasts the shortest distance of any leg of the El Tour and was a major draw.

“Our shorter distance makes participating in the El Tour De Tucson more attractive for both younger and older riders, making it the perfect family experience for those seeking a less rigorous option, or for those wanting to test the waters for their first ride,” Hathaway said.

Marana’s proximity to Interstate-10, the Pima County Shared Use Path, and several great areas to ride, has allowed them to position themselves as a perfect “El Detour” before, after, and during the El Tour.

“Venture north onto Dove Mountain Blvd and take in the beauty of the Tortolita Mountains for your next training ride,” Hathaway said. “Enjoy music, food trucks and entertainment at our 28-mile Marana start, and celebrate your big finish by quenching your thirst with a locally brewed craft beer. Whether you’re a rider, spectator, or visitor, there are many things to do in Marana to prepare for and celebrate the race.”

Hathaway encouraged people to see DiscoverMarana.org/ElDeTour for hotel, restaurant, and after-party information.

Make Marana your El Detour from the El Tour

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It does not matter if you are riding the full length of the El Tour de Tucson, taking advantage of the Marana start to the race, or just watching the cyclists ride by. Make Marana your El Detour before, after, and during the race.

With access to the Pima County Shared Use path, Tangerine Road and Silverbell Road, Marana has a number of great places to stay, eat, drink, train, and celebrate that are accessible by bike. 

Loop

The Pima County Shared Use Path, affectionately known as “The Loop”, is a great way for cyclists to get all over town. Although construction has cut off the southern portion of The Loop from the northern portion, there are still plenty of great places to bike in both directions.

After a training ride on the southern portion of the Loop or as the home to a post-Tour after party, the Catalina Brewing Company is a place to check out.

Catalina Brewing Company is no stranger to cyclists. In fact, they cater to them. Heck, their moniker is “We Bike, We Brew.” The brewery already has a mountain bicycling theme, and then embrace “the incredible outdoor spirit that exists in the Arizona Southwest.”

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The Catalina Brewing Company considers themselves a small (nano) craft brewery, and they manufacture and distribute a variety of craft beers designed and created from local ingredients with the southern Arizona market in mind. Their local-inspired brews range from the unique and popular Mesquite Agave to their lighter prickly pear fruit infused La Rosa de Catalina as well as seasonal favorites such as Mesquite Smoked Pecan Dopplebock and Teacher's Aid Scottish Ale.

They are also cyclist friendly. They’re accessible off the shared-use path, making them a perfect destination for those who like to cycle and enjoy a craft beer.  

Marana is becoming a haven for craft beer, with Dove Mountain and Button Breweries coming to town, and the recently opened Growler’s.

Cortaro/Silverbell Road

With the Loop affected by construction, Silverbell Road is a great way to bike from the Marana area to Tucson. The road twists and turns with several hills, making a great training ride. Add a variety of desert scenery, and you have a uniquely Southern Arizona opportunity.

Between Silverbell and the adjacent Cortaro corridor, there are a variety of places to eat, drink and stay.

From local Mexican restaurants and historical steak houses, to familiar national chains, this area of Marana has just about any type of food you can want.  

Nothing tastes better after a long ride than a cold, creamy ice cream cone, especially when that ice cream is made with all-natural ingredients. If that sounds good to you, then the Screamery would make a great destination.

The Screamery’s goal is to not only provide the best tasting hand-crafted ice cream to people, but to make it the old fashioned way using simple natural ingredients. Not only does it taste great, but it fits into the lifestyle of those who care what they put into their bodies.

If you make your way down to the Ina/Thornydale and still want some ice cream made from fresh, all natural ingredients, then check out La Garrafa. They serve Nieves de Garrafa, traditional ice cream from central Mexico. They make everything fresh in house, and don’t rely on a lot of extra sugar and fat, keeping the flavors fresh and pure.

Dove Mountain

hether you live, stay or train on Dove Mountain, there are plenty of things to do in and near the area. The mountain itself is perfect for both intense training rides and leisurely joy rides. From the back of one’s bike they can see the statuesque Saguaros, the great views and, more than likely, a desert critter or two.

A quick ride down Dove Mountain Boulevard. will lead you to Twin Peaks Road and a straight shot to Marana’s Tucson Premium Outlets. There, you can just get your morning coffee fix at Starbucks or do some serious shopping. The Premium Outlets feature all your favorite brands, but with the 25-65% savings that outlet shopping can provide. Deals like these are sure to please casual shoppers all the way to the most diehard shop-a-holics.

Looking for a good cup of coffee or tea on Dove Mountain? Then Savaya is your place. Savaya features a prominent green coffee roaster that is used weekly to roast coffees from around the world, giving true coffee lovers a wide variety of flavors to choose from.

Savaya invites their patrons to sit back, relax and spread out with the cup of joe. They have a mesquite wood bar, covered outdoor seating and even a children’s playground patio area.

MPD honors those who gave their lives on 9/11

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September 11 is a solemn day for most Americans, but it is even more so for the men and women who serve as first responders in our community. Members of the Marana Police Department did their part to remember the terrorist attacks on September 11.

12 Marana Police Officers ventured to Arizona Stadium on the campus of the University of Arizona to participate in the 6th annual 9/11 Memorial Tower Challenge. Several hundred participants from various organizations climbed 2,071 stairs within the football stadium.

The number of steps represent the 110 floors and 2,071 steps that were in the Twin Towers.

Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema gave the Invocation at the Tower Challenge. 

The event is not only a way to honor the fallen, but is also a fundraiser for local charities. The previous five years of the vent saw it raise more than $100,000.

Current MPD Officer Dan Rowan was a member of the NYFD on September 11. He ventured back to New York this week to meet up with other current and former firefighters and honor his fallen comrades. Tucson News Now did a profile on Officer Rowan. 

"It's almost like I've never left them," Rowan told Tucson News Now during a phone call. "That's what's so great about this department. You come in, the tears are flowing. There's no handshakes, it's kisses and hugs. That's what the brotherhood and sisterhood is all about. It's all about love for what we do. We put our lives on the line, every second of the day. When I put the badge on now and I get in my car, I'm a police officer, a fireman, and an EMS technician. It feels great, and I love it to death."

For the full story on Officer Rowan, go to Tucson News Now’s website.

Construction along Cracker Barrel Road to begin September 11th

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Construction along Cracker Barrel Road between Cortaro Road and Arizona Pavilions Drive will begin on Monday, 9/11/2017 and is expected to continue for approximately three months. The work will include water service line adjustments, replacement of the existing underground storm drain system, new asphalt pavement, sidewalk repairs, and ADA improvements. Work crews will be active Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

During the project, traffic movement along Cracker Barrel Road will be restricted to northbound, one way travel only. Directional signs and traffic control devices will be set up to guide vehicles through the work area. Business access will be maintained during construction.

For your safety and that of the contractor’s personnel, please comply with all traffic control devices, flagging personnel, and/or detour signs. Travel time through the project area may increase during construction so please adjust your schedule accordingly. Construction may restrict traffic lanes and create congestion. Taking alternate routes is suggested.

If inclement weather or other events cause delays, the work may be rescheduled without further notice.

Stay up-to-date on Town of Marana news, projects, and events. Visit MaranaAZ.gov, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

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PD honored as Dispose-A-Med Program continues to grow

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The Marana Police Department has worked hard with their community partners to conduct Dispose-A-Med Events, which have been successful in getting unused prescription drugs off the street.

The program had one of their best outings last month when 569 pounds of drugs were collected in a two-hour period. Because of this great community effort, one of MPD’s officers was given an award at Tuesday’s Marana Town Council meeting.

Nancy Lyngby, president of the Marana – Foothills Optimist Club, recognized Marana Police Officer David Danielson by presenting him with a certificate for his service to Marana. He was specifically recognized for the Dispose-A-Med program and for “Bringing Out The Best in Kids.”

“He has been absolutely fabulous to work worth,” said Lyngby.

Danielson recently began overseeing the program, inheriting an already successful model from prior officers Lori Shepherd, Steve Johnson and Kevin Litton and trying to keep building it bigger and bigger.

“They laid the foundation for this program and provided me the tools for me to make sure that this goes forward in the right direction,” Danielson said.

Previous events were averaging between 120-150 pounds of drugs collected and the idea was to expand it. Between Marana Police, the Optimist Club and other community partners they worked hard to expand coverage of the event, utilizing the media and social media accounts. The exposure worked, as they collected almost 600 pounds of drugs.

Now their goal is to get 1,000 pounds at their October 14 event. So far this year they have collected over 1,200 pounds and still have additional events in October and December.

Lyngby praised Danielson’s ability to motivate volunteers, while Danielson praised the hard work of the Marana Police Department’s volunteers, the VIP’s.

“I have not seen this many volunteers show up to do a dispose a med in years and that is a real testament to him,” Lyngby said.

Marana’s two final Dispose-A-Meds will be Saturday, October 14 and Saturday, December 9 in front of the Target at Ina and Thornydale from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Discounts for early registration for Marana stage of El Tour

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Early registration is now underway for the Town of Marana’s 28-mile segment of the El Tour de Tucson. Cyclists who wish to participate in the segment can act now for discounted entry fees.

Marana debuted the 28-mile segment last year and it was an instant hit. More than 350 riders participated in the 2016 El Tour in the Town of Marana. The third year of the Town of Marana’s partnership with the El Tour de Tucson promises to be even more popular.

The shorter distance proved to be an attraction for both younger and older riders, as well as riders experiencing their first El Tour de Tucson. At just28-miles the Marana stage appeals to those who want to participate in the race, but find the longer distances too daunting.

Starting in the heart of the Town of Marana at Heritage River Park, cyclists travel south through the Gladden Farms area to downtown Tucson along the base of the Tucson Mountains with awesome views of the Catalina and Rincon Mountain ranges. It will provide great views of Marana’s scenic open spaces.

The special early bird pricing is in effect from now until October 31. Riders 15 and over are just $125, while those 14 and under are just $44.

After October 31 the rate climbs to $175.

The special rates are only available through the Marana Segment webpage: http://www.perimeterbicycling.com/el-tour-de-tucson/register-marana/

Tucson Local Media: Traipsing through the Tortolitas

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Area residents will have the opportunity to explore the Tortolita Mountains in the coming months through guided hikes offered by the Town of Marana. The mountains, which overlook the town, are rich in southwest wildlife, crested saguaros, fluttering hummingbirds and, soon, hikers of all ages, sizes and experience levels.

The free, guided hikes are on the first Saturday of every month, September through April. The first hike was a hike on the Lower Javelina Trail this past Saturday, Sept. 2.

Bob Stinson, outdoor recreation coordinator for the Town of Marana, will typically guide the hikes. In general, he said he likes to start off the program with easier hikes, and gradually increase length and elevation gain through the season. He also takes potential storms and increasing heat toward the end of the program into account.

To read the rest of this story go to Tucson Local Media's website.

Marana Chamber wins award, celebrates anniversary

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It has been a big year for the Marana Chamber of Commerce. They are in the midst of their 30th anniversary celebration and earlier this week they were awarded the Best Chamber of Commerce in the 2017 Arizona Daily Star/Tucson.com Readers’ Choice Awards.

The award recognized the chamber for their hard work and dedication to growing the economy in the Town of Marana. The Town and Chamber have been partners since the start. According to current Marana Chamber President and CEO Ed Stolmaker, then Mayro Billy Schisler approached Phyllis M. Farenga about starting the chamber.

In a column he wrote for Tucson Local Media, Stolmaker explained that the early marketing materials were basic and low-budget.

“A yellow and blue bumper sticker sported a large ‘Marana’ with an up arrow on the N and read ‘We’re really growing places!’,” Stolmaker wrote. “The first business card for what was then called the Greater Marana/Avra Valley Chamber of Commerce featured a rising sun.

“An early map of the area given to members and visitors was hand-drawn,” Stolmaker added. “By contrast, today’s Official Chamber Map is a professionally-produced slick, full-color foldout full of pictures, information and advertising. It is updated and distributed annually.”

Today the Chamber has over 550 members and is adding new ones every month. As Marana grows, the chamber grows.

The Town partners with the Chamber to run the Marana Visitor Center, which also serves as the Chamber’s office, as well as other services like business retention. The Marana Town Council approve to extend the partnership for the 2018 Fiscal Year at a June council meeting.

“We have a strong partnership and many, many successes in working with the Marana Chamber of Commerce over the years,” said Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson.

The Town and Chamber work side by side on the annual State of the Town, and this year they have worked hard to help businesses affected by the Ina Interchange Project, including two business walks to help determine the needs of those area businesses.

“The agreement between the town and the chamber makes a lot of sense for both of us,” said Stolmaker. “It is a good partnership, we have a great relationship and I look forward to working with them in 2017 and 2018.” 

The role of the Chamber has evolved over the 30 years. Initially they ran some of the town’s events and did much of the town marketing. Stolmaker said slowly it evolved into what it is today, a way to attract and retain businesses in the area, and grown the local economy. Not that they have completely abandoned events, in addition to partnering on the State of the Town, the chamber has their annual golf tournament, the ever evolving Marana Earth Festival, and all of their weekly, monthly, and quarterly events.

In July the Chamber held their annual luncheon and they were able to recognize several members who had been there from the start: Marana Unified School District, Marana Health Center, CalPortland–Rillito Plant, the Town of Marana, Trico Electric Cooperative, Inc., Comcast Business, Hensley Beverage Company, The Planning Center, and Marana Stockyards and Livestock Market, Inc.

Tangerine Road Construction Update: Sept. 5, Sept. 7

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There are two new projects beginning next week as part of the Tangerine Corridor Project. Although they are not actually in the Town of Marana, they could impact those who use Tangerine for their daily commute. 

Beginning at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, September 5 through 10 p.m. on Thursday, September 7, the contractor will remove the median on Tangerine Road, just west of the La Cañada intersection. During this work, westbound Tangerine Road will be reduced to one through lane. The eastbound designated left turn lane at the Tangerine Road/La Cañada intersection will be temporarily closed. However, left turns will be permitted from the through lane. The speed limit will be reduced to 25 mph, expect delays.

Beginning Thursday, September 7 at 10 p.m. the contractor will shift traffic to the south along Tangerine Road, between La Cholla and La Cañada, in order to build the new westbound lanes of Tangerine Road. East and westbound traffic along Tangerine Road will be reduced to one lane in each direction, just west of the La Cañada intersection. The speed limit in that area will remain 25 mph. 

**Following this work traffic control will be significantly different, please take extra caution when driving through the area.**

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Kristi or Nanette at (520) 623-3073 or by email at info@tangerineroad.info. We look forward to working with you throughout the project, and encourage any feedback to ensure the Project Team can deliver a beneficial project for the whole community. 

For more information on this project, please visit www.tangerineroad.info. For more detailed schedule information please click here.

Please be aware of bicyclists and pedestrians in the area and ensure that dogs, horses and other animals are not in the construction zone to ensure the safety of all.

Notes from Neptune ready to regale Marana

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The Town of Marana is excited to welcome Notes from Neptune as the next band in our Free Music In Marana Concert Series. The Phoenix-based band is making the trip down I-10 for the show and is excited to perform in front of the Marana audience.

They will take the stage at 7:00 p.m. at Crossroads at Silverbell Regional Park. Ciao Down will be selling their hand crafted pizza and Italian Sodas starting at 6:30 p.m., making dinner and dancing a Saturday night option.

Notes from Neptune is often described as a musical journey. The band is comprised of Scott, a nylon string guitarist and Thomas, a saxophonist. Both have amazing vocals. Their performances are a combination of a mellow acoustic groove combined with Thomas’ gritty, soulful vocals. Throw in the cool jazz feel of Thomas’ saxophone and their great vocal harmonies and you have a very unique, engaging musical act.  Fans of theirs have described them as “genuine, soulful, joyful, and classy.”

Their set list is a versatile one. They will take you back in time with classic rock covers of Pink Floyd and The Doors, and they bring out the Motown soul in you with Bill Withers and James Brown. They like to go modern with a little John Mayer and Gnarls Barkley and even swing the jazz a bit with their impression of Michael Buble and Louie Armstrong. Then there are their originals. With Thomas’ saxophone they can easily transition from 1980’s pop to 60’s and 70’s R&B to cool jazz, while their tight vocal harmonies can breathe new life into familiar favorites. Some songs will get your toes tapping, while others will soothe the soul.

Both Scott and Thomas are phenomenal musicians having each played for over 20 years. They started this trip together a little over a year ago and see a bright future ahead.

Cotton Festival Blog No. 2: Chili Bowl

 
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While we are always trying to make improvements to all our Signature Events, we also like to keep them rooted in tradition. That is true of the Cotton Festival, which harkens back to Marana’s agrarian roots, and tries to have a small time carnival feel, while simultaneously providing visitors a first class event.

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Even though the festival is nearly two months away, we are conducting weekly meetings to work out all the little details to make your Cotton Festival experience the best we can. From parking to food to the beer garden, we are planning to have everything run as smooth as possible to make the night a success.

Our goal is to take the things that work, and see if we can make them better. One of those things is the chili cook-off. It has been a good event, but the idea was to expand it, and so this year the cook-off has become the Chili Bowl.

The winner of the Chili Bowl earns the title of Marana’s Favorite Chili, which is one coveted championship, but more importantly, the proceeds go to a great cause. We already have several organizations fine-tuning their secret recipes to try and take home the championship. We hear that even several weeks out they are testing recipes, perfecting spice blends, and answering the important questions like “how hot is too hot?” and “beans or no beans?”

Right now groups like Avra Valley Fire, Northwest Fire, the Marana High School Culinary Arts team, Firehouse Subs, Highlands Grille and the Marana Chamber of Commerce have all indicated that they wish to compete, but there are still openings for those who think their chili is the best in Marana. The only catch is you must have access to a commercial kitchen and be able to produce 5 gallons of the good stuff, and be able to serve it at 135 degrees.

For those who don’t cook chili but want to eat chili, they can pay $5 to be a judge and sample all the great offerings. The funds raised by the sampling fee will go to benefit the Community Food Bank in Marana.

The contest will award 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, as well as a taster’s choice award.

What’s better than eating some great chili or eating some great chili to benefit a great cause? The whole event is part of the fun of the Cotton Festival.

For more information on the Chili Bowl contact Marsha Johnson at 520-334-7109 or e-mail at marshajx6@gmail.com.

ADOT: Ina Road Interchange Project 6-month update

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The Ina Road Interchange Project is officially 6 months old. The Arizona Department of Transportation provided an update on the project.

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Six months in, signs of progress abound at an Arizona Department of Transportation project creating a modern traffic interchange at Ina Road and Interstate 10 and more efficient traffic flow through a growing area.

Crews recently poured concrete to create a deck for the first of two new bridges carrying Ina Road over the Santa Cruz River just west of I-10.

With supports in place on the west side of I-10, drivers soon will see the first girders set for a bridge that will carry Ina Road over Interstate 10 and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. The former interchange configuration had local traffic passing under I-10 and waiting as several dozen trains crossed Ina Road each day.

“Those are important milestones in this project,” said Dan Casmer, ADOT’s resident engineer for the project. “Our teams have done a great job staying on schedule despite the extreme heat earlier this summer and the heavy monsoon rains.”

Crews are now more than halfway toward completing work on the west side of I-10, which also includes building new lanes for eastbound I-10 and laying a new frontage road. To allow this work, eastbound I-10 traffic has shifted to the former westbound lanes, and westbound I-10 traffic is using what had been the westbound frontage road.

Beginning in early 2018, crews will move to the east side of the freeway. They will remove the remaining I-10 bridge, create new freeway lanes and a new frontage road and complete the Ina Road bridge. Drivers already can see rebar towers that will become bridge supports on the east side of I-10.

At the same time, crews will move traffic to the new bridge over the Santa Cruz River, remove the existing bridge and build a new one in its place.

When work is complete in early 2019, both I-10 and Ina Road will be wider to handle increasing traffic in the area, capacity on the Santa Cruz River bridges will double and drivers no longer will have to wait for trains that run east of I-10.

ADOT is overseeing the $128 million project, which is funded by the Federal Highway Administration, the Pima Association of Governments and the Regional Transportation Authority. The town of Marana is contributing $7.9 million toward the cost of the new bridges over the Santa Cruz River west of I-10.

Ina Road is closed at I-10, but ADOT will continue to maintain access to area businesses throughout the project.

Eastbound I-10 drivers can use the Cortaro or Orange Grove exits. For westbound drivers, the Orange Grove exit remains closed, and drivers should consider exiting at Sunset or Cortaro roads.

For project information, visit azdot.gov/InaTI.

For more information on the project, including traffic and construction updates, as well as business specials in the area, check out our

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