Recreation

Marana Town Talk Episode 9: Summer Fun, Macro Machines

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Town of Marana has released its ninth episode of "Marana Town Talk", a local government podcast that balances education and entertainment with thoughtful commentary on local current events. 

Communications Manager Vic Hathaway and Communications Specialist Brad Allis kick off the episode with a double Summer Preview. First we interview Marana Parks & Recreation’s D. Tyrell McGirt and Corey Larriva (1:00) to get all the details about the great summer programs Parks and Recreation has for kids this summer. Next Special Events Coordinator Monique Hagberg (13:30) gives us a preview of the Fourth of July Star Spangled Spectacular as well as the Free Movies and Music series that the Town is hosting this summer. Finally, we look back at the Marana Macro Machines event (25:00) and get some on location interviews with Public Works Deputy Director Fausto Burrell and Parks Superintendent Dave Herman, who both helped make the event so much fun.

Re-planted Saguaros decorate Shared Use Path

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Marana Parks and Recreation has worked with local developers and other Town departments to re-purpose cacti and other desert plants to decorate the new section of the Shared Use Path (SUP) in north Marana.

This past week they moved Ocotillos and Saguaros from in front of businesses and construction on Cortaro and Serius Stra and re-planted them next to the SUP. Due to a new turn bay being added at that location on Cortaro Road these Saguaros and Ocotillos had to be moved because they were a visual obstruction.

The project had to be coordinated between Marana Parks and Recreation, Engineering, and Public works.

“They are a nice addition to our nodes on the new section of Shared Use Path,” said Marana Parks and Recreation Director Jim Conroy. “I appreciate the on-going, good coordination of efforts, between our department and other departments and divisions within the Town. It was good Town of Marana teamwork and environmental awareness between Engineering, Public Works and Parks and Recreation.”

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The Saguaros weighted between 1500 – 2000 pounds each and due to their position, traffic control was necessary, but was next to no problem thanks to the efforts of Donna Chambers and Nathan Jansky of Marana Parks and Recreation.

Marana Parks Superintendent Dave Herman said their efforts were vital in making the project safe, cost effective, and lessening the impact on motorists. He noted that similar traffic control in other jurisdictions could have run at least $1,000.

Signs and Markings Technician Rich Jacinto was able to temporarily remove a road sign, allowing crews safer access to one of the Saguaros, then replaced the sign as soon as it was safe.

Things to do in Marana for May and Beyond

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May 4 - Ina Road Celebration Weekend

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Come celebrate the reopening of the Ina Road Interchange and Ina Road Beautification Project with a 9 AM ceremony on Saturday, May 4 and business block party throughout the weekend!

The Ina Road Celebration Weekend kicks off on Saturday, May 4 with a 9 A.M. cake-cutting ceremony featuring Town elected officials and staff, and representatives from Arizona Department of Transportation, Regional Transportation Authority, and Marana Chamber of Commerce.

The ceremony will be followed by the business block party that will last throughout the weekend with celebrations and sales at participating business locations throughout Ina Road.

May 4 - Free Music in Marana: Kate Becker

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Bring your dancing shoes for a night of free music in the park! Kate Becker is a vocalist and writer of melodies and lyrics. Becker brings deep and soulful meaning to her original songs with an eclectic mix of funk, latin, rhythm and blues and jazz.  Her all-star band includes some of Arizona’s best musicians.

May 4 - Marana Meltdown

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Join us in our first ever Mountain Bike Time Trial on the Tortolita Preserve. The course is  9.9 miles of single track with sand, hard pack, and some nice flowy sections. This is a semi-technical trail that meanders through the beautiful Tortotlita Preserve.

May 11 - Mother's Day 5K

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Celebrate Mom the healthy way at the popular Mother's Day 5K in Marana. This event features a family fun walk/run beginning at the beautiful Gladden Farms Park. Every participant will receive a raffle ticket. Mom’s, Grandmothers, & Moms-to-be are the guests of honor and will receive a charm at the finish line.

May 15 - Coffee With A Cop

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Come grab a cup of coffee and meet and interact with members of the Marana Police Department from noon to 2 PM on Wednesday, May 15 at the Starbucks located at 3951 W. Ina Road.

This is a great opportunity to meet Ofc. Ashley Espinoza, who is the new Community Resource Officer for the Marana Police Department, or just chat with any of the MPD staff on hand. 

May 18 - Free Movie In Marana: Emoji Movie

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The Free Movie in Marana for May is the Emoji Movie, which will be shown at the Splash Pad at Crossroads at Silverbell District Park. Show starts at 7:30pm, once the sun has gone down. Bring something to sit on or borrow a chair or blanket from us. We will have a snack vendor present with movie treats for purchase.

June 1 - Free Music In Marana: The Drift

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The Drift has been playing classic rock since before it was classic rock. The band was formed in 1982 playing guitar-based rock with influences like Foreigner, Boston, and Journey. They mix some of their originals, with rock in roll radio standards we all know and love.

July 4 - Star Spangled Spectacular

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Come out to Marana's spectacular Independence Day celebration, the Star Spangled Spectacular at Crossroads at Silverbell District Park. Enjoy live music, dozens of food trucks, inflatables for the kids, a beer garden for the adults, and of course, a magnificent fireworks show.

Marana named Tree City USA for the fourth time

Marana planted Saguaros and other cactuses as part of their Arbor Day Celebration.

Marana planted Saguaros and other cactuses as part of their Arbor Day Celebration.

For the fourth straight year the Town of Marana has been named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Jim Conroy and Dave Herman re-plant a Saguaro on Arbor Day.

Jim Conroy and Dave Herman re-plant a Saguaro on Arbor Day.

Tree City USA is a national recognition program that began in 1976, and is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters. Marana joins over 3,400 other cities and towns across America, and 29 cities and towns in Arizona as Tree Cities.  Towns and cities that have received their Tree City USA recognition take pride in this distinction, and the people who live there enjoy the valuable benefits of having a greener, healthier community.

One of the requirements of being a Tree City USA is celebrating Arbor Day and the Town of Marana did that in several ways, including an official proclamation by the Marna Town Council at their April 16 meeting.  

“Arbor Day is so important for the community, for the Town, and for the country. Trees bring so much to everybody, it is a beautiful thing to be under a nice shade tree,” said Marana Parks Superintendent Dave Herman.

Herman is the Chairman of the local Tree City Board, who is behind the Tree City Designation, and also a member of the Southern Arizona Arborist Group (SAAG).

Hedgehog Cactus in Bloom

Hedgehog Cactus in Bloom

On Wednesday Herman attended the State of Arizona Arbor Day Celebration. In addition to accepting this year’s award he and other representatives planted a Pistachio tree on the back lawn of the state capital museum.   

The Town of Marana put its own Southern Arizona spin on this year’s Arbor Day celebration. Recently, Herman was able to relocate 20 saguaros from the construction site of the Dove Mountain Senior Living facility. While the building project is keeping many of the Saguaros, some had to be relocated and Herman and his crew took up the task.

This is the best time to harvest Saguaros because they are full of water after winter rains. It also makes it tricky to actually move them because the water makes them quite heavy. However, with all of this stored water they won’t be drought stricken before the summer monsoon hits.   

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In addition to the Saguaros, Herman also rescued five Fishhook barrel cactus, 50 Pincushion cactus and 30 Hedgehog cactus which will be in full bloom this month along the Town's new 2.5 miles of the Shared Use Path on the Santa Cruz between Gladden Farms to CalPortland. The new cacti were planted at the five rest stops along the path where they’ll get moisture from the tree irrigation.
 
The Town of Marana will be using these Saguaro plantings as part of their annual Tree City USA Arbor Day” celebration.

“We felt that this was unique to Southern Arizona as not too many Tree City USA member cities could do this kind of planting anywhere else in the United States,” said Marana Parks and Recreation Director Jim Conroy. 

The Town of Marana has officially celebrated Arbor Day annually since 2006 with tree plantings involving volunteers, scouts, school groups, or special event attendees.  Most of those years have included an Arbor Day Proclamation signed by the Mayor.

Marana State of the Town 2019 presentation summary

Mayor Ed Honea speaks at the 2019 Marana State of the Town held at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain.

Mayor Ed Honea speaks at the 2019 Marana State of the Town held at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain.

MARANA - Mayor Ed Honea along with members of Town staff gave a presentation at the annual Marana State of the Town luncheon held at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain on Thursday, April 18. Topics discussed included latest developments, parks and recreation programming, and strategic planning for the future.  

NOTABLE TAKEAWAYS

  • Marana is one of the fastest growing communities in Southern Arizona. This past year, over 800 new single-family resident homes were built, yielding approximately 2,300 new people moving to the Town of Marana and making our population surpass 48,000 people.

  • Increased development has led to the creation of a new Marana Unified School District School in Dove Mountain, and a new Northwest Fire District station in both Dove Mountain and Gladden Farms.

  • Marana welcomes the film industry to the region with the opening of Modern Studios. Located near the AZ Pavilions Shopping Center, this 12,000 square foot facility features 7,000 square feet of production studio space, more than any other facility in the entire state. It also features the most advanced high-speed camera in the film industry, the BOLT Highspeed Cinebot.

  • Two new Parks and Recreation facilities were opened to the public, including Tangerine Sky Community Park in northeast Marana and the Crossroads at Silverbell District Park Splash Pad.

  • A brand new Parks and Recreation mobile app takes program accessibility to a new level, where users can now stay up-to-date with park closures, programming events, and trail conditions. Users can check the status of their favorite park amenities in real time, and sign up for activities.

  • In North Marana, the Town completed the new water reclamation facility and aquifer recharge facility. These plants can now handle up to 10,000 new homes or businesses coming into the area. The recharge facility will receive credits for 100 percent of the water stored from the Arizona Department of Water Resources. These credits allow the town to provide safe, reliable, and sustainable resources for our customers, and it secures Marana’s water needs for future generations.

    In December, the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona approved a $15 million-dollar loan to the Town of Marana to address the issue of unregulated compounds affecting two Marana Water systems. Staff is now working on the design and construction of two unique advanced water treatment plants to reduce or remove those unregulated compounds. 

  • After nearly two years, one of the region’s largest projects has come to completion. The reopening of the Ina Road Interchange has revitalized our major commercial hub making it a destination once again.

  • 2018 also saw the grand opening of the new Police facility located at the Marana Municipal Complex. This building was the result of months of public education and outreach, years of planning and development, and paid for with a community-supported half-cent sales tax.

  •  The Town of Marana is designing the blueprints for the future. Important documents in the works include the 2040 General Plan Update, Land Development Code, Marana Parks and Recreation 10-year Master Plan, North Marana Drainage Study, Sewer Conveyance Master Plan, and Potable Water Plan.

PRESENTATION TRANSCRIPT

EXCITING THINGS ARE HAPPENING IN MARANA

Economic Development Specialist Heath Vescovi-Chiordi speaks on the development in Marana.

Economic Development Specialist Heath Vescovi-Chiordi speaks on the development in Marana.

Marana is one of the fastest growing communities in Southern Arizona. This past year, over 800 new single-family resident homes were built in our community. By our calculations, this yielded approximately 2,300 new people moving to the Town of Marana, making our population surpass 48,000 people. Because of this rapid and sustainable growth, developers have plans to expand those numbers and challenge the 824 single-family home permits we issued in 2018. 

Right now, we have ten new subdivisions with 1,500 new lots planned throughout the community, including the Gladden Farms area, Dove Mountain area, and Saguaro Bloom.

This year, Encantada at Continental Reserve began construction. The addition of this 304-unit multifamily residential product gives rise to new living opportunities for both young families and young professionals alike. With this addition of multifamily housing to Marana, we position ourselves to better attract and retain a newer skilled workforce. In addition, this housing product will help increase the critical mass of people in this area that is necessary for further development of quality retail, restaurant, and other valuable commercial activities. 

2018 saw many new businesses and restaurants come to Town, which not only enriches the local economy and quality of life in our community, but serves as great destinations for people passing through or visiting our beautiful region.  

Last year, the new Hampton Inn & Suites at Marana Center opened next to the Tucson Premium Outlet Mall, creating an amazing retail opportunity for our region. With the pairing of the hotel and the luxury shopping experience at the Outlet Mall, Marana is now able to attract a significant number of travelers from Mexico who come solely for the purpose of shopping and staying overnight in our community. This retail-tourism helps contribute significantly to our sales tax and bed tax, allowing the Town to continue its strategic efforts related to Tourism-based Economic Development. Not only has Marana Center attracted multiple types of new developments, but it has become an area of note in our region, helping to solidify the identity of Marana in Southern AZ.

In 2019 we will welcome Dutch Bros., located at Cortaro Road and Interstate 10. Dutch Bros. will be just one small part of a larger master development on this corner. Also, in this new retail and service center, we will see a new 32,000 sq./ft micro hospital featuring a 14-bed emergency department and two operating rooms. ATI Physical Therapy will also join the mix, as well as a Tucson area favorite- Serial Grillers.

Top Golf celebrated their first full year here in Marana, and continues to be a destination for people all over our region.

Playing sports is a vital past time in this community, and we are so excited to welcome the Hitting Factory for ball players both young and old.

Modern Studios in Marana, Arizona.

Modern Studios in Marana, Arizona.

In the spirit of Tourism, The Town of Marana has also bid welcome to a new type of entertainment industry sector with the opening of Modern Studios. Located near the AZ Pavilions Shopping Center, this amazing 12,000 square foot facility features 7,000 square feet of production studio space, more than any other facility in the entire state. Including two studios, dressing and makeup, a post-production editing suite, and the most advanced high-speed camera in the film industry, the BOLT Highspeed Cinebot, Modern Studios truly has revolutionized the film production game in Marana and the entire region.

Medical and healthcare is an industry that is finding a home in the Town. Last year we welcomed the Northwest Emergency Center at Twin Peaks, and the Watermark at Continental Ranch Senior Living. 2019 will see a continuation of that, as the Carondelet Health Network Micro-Hospital and Dove Mountain Senior Living facilities will open. With the healthcare industry rapidly expanding, and Marana seeing much benefit from this expansion, we will continue to facilitate appropriate healthcare sector development to add quality jobs to our community, and quality services for our residents. To that point, we are currently working on six expansions of current businesses within the Town, and two brand new locates.

Due to the Town’s growth, Northwest Fire District is relocating one of their stations, and building a brand new one to better serve the Marana community. Station 37 in Dove Mountain is moving to its new location near the Gallery Sports Club. Upon its completion later this year, Station 37 will better serve the northern portions of Dove Mountain, while Station 39, located at Thornydale and Tangerine, is optimally located to serve the southern portions of Dove Mountain. 

The resurgence of development in the Gladden Farms community has also spurred the construction of Station 41, located on Tangerine Road near the Gladden Farms II development. This station will improve response time and increase overall safety in north Marana.

Dove Mountain CSTEM K-8 School.

Dove Mountain CSTEM K-8 School.

Growth also means more schools. The new Dove Mountain CSTEM K-8 School opens this fall, providing even more opportunities for our children to get a good education. Students will experience rigorous computer science, technology, engineering, and math academics with direct relevancy to real-world challenges.

At the Town of Marana, we pride ourselves on being business friendly, but to do that we have to continue to evolve and innovate. This year, we will begin using a new business license software package that will aid in making the process easier than ever. By streamlining several processes and procedures, and making the overall process easier to understand, this will allow future business development in the Town with even more ease than we currently offer. When you come do business in Marana, you’ll quickly find out that Marana means business.

 

QUALITY OF LIFE IN MARANA

Technology Services Director Isaac Abbs speaks on quality of life in Marana.

Technology Services Director Isaac Abbs speaks on quality of life in Marana.

 It is important to invest in the qualities that make living in Marana meaningful. And for our residents, we understand how important the everyday experiences are for you and your family. Whether it’s participating in your very first race, teaching your child the fundamentals of a new skill, or enjoying a walk outside in nature, we understand how impactful those moments are and why having a strong quality of life means having a strong Parks and Recreation department. 

I am excited to share with you the following accomplishments from the past year.

Tangerine Sky Community Park

Tangerine Sky Community Park

Marana Council cut the ribbon on two new attractions. Tangerine Sky Community Park is the first major public park serving our northeast Marana residents— nestled in the natural desert environment against a stunning Tortolita Mountain backdrop. It features ramadas, playgrounds, trails, dog parks, ziplines, and a basketball court. The field is even powered to accommodate small concert events, including our free Movies & Music in Marana series.

Located in the heart of Continental Ranch, the new Crossroads at Silverbell District Park splash pad enhances an already robust district park where families can now splash in the water by day, and enjoy a stunning light show by night. The splash pad is located close to the existing playground area and several ramadas, making it the perfect destination for parties. And when the July 4th Star Spangled Spectacular comes around this year, the music, fireworks, and water will top off a perfect evening with your family and friends.  

Both amenities bring new recreational opportunities to key areas around the community. Vibrant and dynamic communities are where residents can walk to, and from, a park in just minutes. Now, both north, south, and east Marana have access to park amenities and programs.

The Town also grew its recreational offerings this year by 30 percent, including horseback riding, art expos, job training, painting in the park, and musical theatre.  

We also created two inclusion programs for our residents with special needs. Last year, Marana Parks and Recreation began offering Sensory Splash classes at the Marana Pool where people can meet up in a safe, positive and inclusive aquatic environment.  

Cape Chase Adaptive Fun Run.

Cape Chase Adaptive Fun Run.

This year, the Cape Chase Adaptive Fun Run debuted with over 120 participants. Young athletes with special needs traveled through a sensory obstacle course, including a cone maze, bubble pit, and mirror tunnel—all while dressed as their favorite super heroes.  

Experiences like this matter for our residents, where opportunities are accessible by anyone in the community.  

Now, we take that accessibility a step further with the release of the new Parks and Recreation mobile app. This app provides residents and visitors with everything they need to stay up-to-date with park closures, programming events, and trail conditions. Users can check the status of their favorite park amenities in real time, and sign up for activities.

Our success isn’t just measured by the new programs and events we roll out each year, it’s also measured by the continued maintenance of all our facilities, and by our strategic planning as we anticipate the future.  

This year, we extended our Tortolita Mountain trail system and the Santa Cruz shared use path. We completed facility improvements throughout all our parks, including installing the new solar structure over the Crossroads at Silverbell District Park basketball court. This very simple upgrade opened up new opportunities for events, and in celebration, this facility became home to the new Hoops for Heroes Challenge between Marana Police Department and Northwest Fire District. We won this year, but who knows what the future may bring for Northwest Fire?

We continue to find recreational opportunities in surprising places. Even in the heart of the desert, residents can enjoy the waterfront at El Rio Preserve. We plan to bring back disc golf with the addition of a recreation area nearby, and we are accommodating our nature lovers and bird watchers with an observation deck. This surprising oasis is one of Marana’s best kept secrets, but now we plan to maintain and enrich this preserve so anyone can come and enjoy the beautiful outdoors that is unique to our community.

We understand that people come to Marana for our quality of life, and we are dedicated to keeping this momentum going as we grow into a larger community. Marana is truly a place where you can live, work, and play.

 

 PUBLIC SERVICES IN MARANA

Deputy Town Clerk Hilary Hiser speaks on public services in Marana.

Deputy Town Clerk Hilary Hiser speaks on public services in Marana.

 Right now, the Town of Marana is working hard to secure continued growth for our community by making essential investments in our built public infrastructure. A strong foundation for growth means a strong investment in infrastructure.

From water improvements to major roadways, 2018 had several fantastic projects that directly benefit our citizens’ quality of life and ensure businesses can thrive. 

North Marana water reclamation facility.

North Marana water reclamation facility.

In North Marana, we completed the new water reclamation facility and aquifer recharge facility. These plants can now handle up to 10,000 new homes or businesses coming into the area. More importantly, the recharge facility will receive credits for 100 percent of the water stored from the Arizona Department of Water Resources. These credits allow the town to provide safe, reliable, and sustainable resources for our customers, and it secures Marana’s water needs for future generations.

In December, the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona approved a $15 million-dollar loan to the Town of Marana to address the issue of unregulated compounds affecting two Marana Water systems. We are now working on the design and construction of two unique advanced water treatment plants to reduce or remove those unregulated compounds. 

Investments in new water resources are essential to attracting new residents; however, the Town of Marana is just as committed to ensuring our current residents have the most up-to-date infrastructure necessary for an enhanced quality of life. The Adonis wastewater system project is just such an example of the Town’s continued commitment.  This project replaces one of our historic neighborhoods’ outdated over-capacity lagoon system by connecting residents to our new wastewater reclamation facility.

Tangerine Road.

Tangerine Road.

This past year we had two major road projects that will address the future traffic needs of Marana. The Tangerine Road expansion involved the combined efforts of the Town of Marana, the Town of Oro Valley, the Regional Transportation Authority, and Pima County.  All of us worked together to build this major transportation corridor between our communities while maintaining wildlife linkages. This project literally paves the way for future development, and it establishes Marana as a regional destination. We anticipate that this road will serve as a center for commercial activity creating economic development opportunities for our local community for years to come.

After nearly two years, one of the region’s largest projects has come to completion. The reopening of the Ina Road Interchange has revitalized our major commercial hub making it a destination once again. This project was an incredible feat by the Arizona Department of Transportation. It eliminated at-grade crossings for the Union Pacific Railroad, it reconstructed the frontage roads, and it installed fiber optic communication cables. The Town of Marana and the Pima Association of Governments designed and funded two bridges over the Santa Cruz as part of the Ina Road Interchange project.

Yes, losing access to 1-10 during construction was challenging for both residents and businesses. But all good things are worth the time and the effort to do it right. With this new overpass, we now have improved accessibility to Ina Road. Thank you to the Department of Transportation for pulling off this amazing project.

The Town also made significant investments in the functionality of the Ina commercial area. The Ina Road Beautification project makes the area even more appealing to our customers and residents.  It includes new asphalt pavement, fresh landscaping in the right of way, new street lights, sidewalks, accessibility ramps and fiber optic cables. By early summer this project will be entirely completed, and Ina Road will be unrecognizable from what it was over two years ago. The Town is excited for Ina Road’s re-opening and we invite the community to join us on May 4th for the kickoff of the Ina Road Celebration Weekend.

Ina Road has been a team effort, and I would like to thank the Regional Transportation Authority for the role they played helping to get information out to our businesses. I would also like to thank the Marana Chamber of Commerce for their continued advocacy of the business community.

Marana Police Facility grand opening.

Marana Police Facility grand opening.

Let’s not forget that 2018 also saw the grand opening of our new Police facility located at the Marana Municipal Complex. This building was the result of months of public education and outreach, years of planning and development, and paid for with a community-supported half-cent sales tax. The new Police Facility is state of the art with amenities to accommodate our department’s various services and our officers’ continued focus on “unparalleled service, unwavering protection”. This new building has the capacity to meet the safety needs of Marana’s growing population for the next twenty years.

All of these amazing projects took years of strategic planning, and they were not designed or built in a day. Providing citizens good public service, means foreseeing the future needs of the community, and making strategic decisions now, in the present, to ensure Marana is a better place for future generations.

 At this very moment, the Town of Marana is designing the blueprints for the future.

The General Plan is the Town’s roadmap for tomorrow. Town staff is working hard with members of the public to draft the 2040 General Plan Update. This visionary document along with the updated Land Development Code will help guide all aspects of the town, from growth and development, to health and safety, to town services, and the environment.  

Other strategic documents in the works include the Marana Parks and Recreation 10-year master plan, the North Marana Drainage Study, the Sewer Conveyance Master Plan, and the Potable Water Plan.

These strategic plans and our many public infrastructure projects lay the foundation upon which the Town of Marana can support a strong quality of life for our residents and businesses. However, it is just as important that we continue to provide a high-quality level of service to maintain our assets. Our Public Works Department works hard every day in our community, and the Town is proud of the work they’ve done to keep Marana clean and beautiful.

Thank you for this opportunity to share the amazing things we’re doing here in Marana. We’ve accomplished so much, and we have plans to accomplish so much more. Thank you. 

Second Marana Macro Machines a hit + photo gallery

On Friday, April 12, the Town of Marana held their second Marana Macro Machines event. The event allowed people to get up close and personal with the machines that help Marana Town Staff and their community partners do their jobs to make Marana a great.

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This event featured departments and divisions from the Town including Streets, Traffic, Facilities, Fleet, Pavement Preservation, Engineering, Police, Water, Animal Services, and Parks and Recreation. Additionally Northwest Fire, the National Weather Service, the Air National Guard, and several contractors were also on hand.

“This is a great way for our employees to interact with the public and show them what they do,” said Marana Public Works Deputy Director Fausto Burrell.

“The kids really love seeing all of the equipment we use to keep the parks looking great, and their parents love seeing all of the tools we use every day,” said Marana Parks Superintendent David Herman. “I’ve had a lot of questions from some dads about the battery powered chainsaw that we use.”

Marana Macro Machines was held at Marana Heritage River Park and was attended by students from area schools as part of a field trip opportunity, as well as a number of residents.

Manager's Message: Summer Parks and Recreation Programs

Marana Parks and Recreation invites you to Soak In Summer.

Marana Parks and Recreation invites you to Soak In Summer.

Although we have a few months left until the summer heat hits us, registration for our summer programs has already begun. This summer many of your favorite programs return, while we debut some exciting new ones as well

Fun at the splash pad.

Fun at the splash pad.

There will be plenty to do this summer for the kids. We have a few new camps, including the Full Day Summer Sports Camps and Summer Cheer Camp that will last all summer long, plus Teen Extreme Day Camps and Challenger International Soccer Camps.  Several old favorites also return, including our Create with a Beat/Art Day Camps, basketball, flag football, volleyball, and Speed & Agility clinics, summer horse camps, and both tennis and golf lessons.

There are a number of exciting programs for adults as well including pickleball, open gyms, a men’s basketball league, the “Dance Fit Fun” Fitness Class, Teen Paint Night in the Park, and we close out the summer with the 80’s Doggy Paddle Pool Party at the Marana Pool.

Our goal is to have programs for everyone in Marana. We have programs for our youngest residents with Tots & Me Story art, Pee Wee Sports Camp, and swim lessons. For active adults adult sports leagues, a variety of races on both land and water, fitness classes, walking clubs, and open gym. For the more creative we offer the Marana Community Music Theater, Paint Nights in the Park, and make and take garden classes. Our senior center offers a variety of great programs for only the cost of a Senior membership. These programs include fitness classes, dance classes, table games, and crafting.

Paint Night at the Park.

Paint Night at the Park.

This past year have expanded our programming to include children with special needs, which is why our Sensory Splash programs return to the Marana Pool and Gladden Farms Splash Pad.

If events are your thing, I invite you to come out to one of the free concerts or movies we offer, enjoy the fireworks at the Star Spangled Spectacular, or just indulge in the benefits of being outdoors in one of Marana’s parks, splash pads, or trails.

Busy weekend in Marana

Saturday, April 6 is a very busy day in the Town of Marana. There are two fun events in our parks, a Memorial at the airport, and a Shred-It event for those needing the safe disposal of documents.

8:00 a.m. - Kids at the Park Day + Fitness Fun 5K

Kids at the Park Day on April 6.

Kids at the Park Day on April 6.

Join Marana Parks and Recreation for a FREE day of fitness and fun in Gladden Farms Community Park. This event is robust with activities that encourage families to get outdoors and explore their local parks and paths! The best part… it’s all FREE! Don’t miss out.

Not only is it the start of Splash Pad Season, but we will have a face painter, balloon twister, inflatables and more.

Come early and celebrate the new 2.5 mile extension of the shared use path in north Marana! Enjoy on-course entertainment provided by Salpointe High School Drum-line.

Kids at the Park Day

7:00 p.m. - Free Music In Marana: Caiden Brewer

Caiden Brewer

Caiden Brewer

Bring your dancing shoes for a night of free music in the park! Enjoy music while lounging in a chair or on a blanket (borrow one from us if you don't have one). The first free concert of the year is Marana's own Caiden Brewer. Brewer plays country music and has become a real fan favorite at Marana events. The show starts at 7:00 p.m. at Crossroads at Silverbell District Park.

Grab a bit from our great food vendors Carole’s Homemade Salsa & Up In Smoke BBQ and Sweet Sensations.

Free Music In Marana

9:00 a.m. - Paper Shred-It

Town of Marana and Shred-It partner for a paper shred event.

Town of Marana and Shred-It partner for a paper shred event.

Free paper Shred-It Event for Marana Residents with non-commercial documents that need shredding. The shredding will occur on-site at Twin Peaks Elementary from 9:00 a.m. until noon, unless the truck fills up. Donations to the Marana Community Food Bank are encouraged and greatly appreciated.

Paper Shred

DOWNLOAD FLYER

10:00 a.m. - U.S. Marine Memorial Service

Nighthawk 72 Marina Memorial at the Marana Regional Airport/photo courtesy Tucson Local Media

Nighthawk 72 Marina Memorial at the Marana Regional Airport/photo courtesy Tucson Local Media

The Marana Regional Airport will host a U.S. Marine Memorial Service on April 6, 2019 at 10 a.m. The Memorial Service at the Marana Regional Airport is to honor the 19 U.S. Marines that were tragically killed in an MV-22 Osprey Tilt rotor aircraft accident at the Airport on April 8, 2000.

The ceremony will include posting of colors by the Marine Corps, wreath laying by various organizations, guest speakers Honorable Mayor Honea, Department of Arizona Marine Corps League Commandant John Rodriguez, and Cpl Joshua Hanson, 3rd Battalion 5th Marines 0331 Machine Gunner, rifle salute, taps, bagpiper, and vocalist Amanda Sinner.

A special missing man formation flyover provided by the Scorpion Squadron of the West Coast Ravens Formation Team.

The event is free and open to the public.

Other events

There are some other great events in Marana later in April.

April 12 - Marana Macro Machines

Marana Macro Machines, Friday April 12 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Splash Pad at Heritage River Park.

Marana Macro Machines, Friday April 12 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Splash Pad at Heritage River Park.

On Friday, April 12 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Splash Pad at Heritage River Park, get up close with the people and machines that work to make our community great! Free ice cream vouchers for the first 200 kids. Visit a wide variety of vehicles, including a sweeper, loader, blade, striping truck, landscape truck and trailer, fire truck, police squad cars, and morel Observe police squad car demonstrations and more.

Marana Macro Machines

April 27 - Camping Under the Stars

Camping Under the Stars

Camping Under the Stars

Join us for the 11th Annual Camping Under the Stars event!! Experience the great outdoors by camping overnight in our beautiful Ora Mae Harn Park. Registration will include your tent site, movie in the park, campfire, star gazing, crafts, games, and environmental exhibits

Camping Under The Stars

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We are showing Peter Rabbit as part of our Marana Camping Under the Stars event. Join in on the fun and spend the night camping or just come for the free movie. Whether you come for just the movie or the movie and the camping event, it is sure to be a great time for all.

Peter Rabbit and his three sisters -- Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail -- enjoy spending their days in Mr. McGregor's vegetable garden. When one of McGregor's relatives suddenly moves in, he's less than thrilled to discover a family of rabbits in his new home. A battle of wills soon breaks out as the new owner hatches scheme after scheme to get rid of Peter -- a resourceful rabbit who proves to be a worthy and wily opponent.

Peter Rabbit

Cape Chase a Success + Photo Gallery

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Marana Parks and Recreation held their first Cape Chase on Saturday and the event was a huge success. The first-of-its-kind superhero-adaptive fun run saw130 registered youth and their families participate, with some traveling from Phoenix to enjoy the event. 

Trumpet behavioral health sponsored and provided scholarships for a number of special needs students from Marana Unified School District. 

Families expressed so much gratitude and excitement, as they have very few adaptive options in the region. 

"You all did amazing," said Diana Salazar Garcia via Facebook. "Our family and friends had a marvelous time. Thank you." 

The Cape Chase is the latest in new programming created by the Marana Parks and Recreation staff in an effort to reach previously underserved portions of the community. In this case Cape Chase joins the Sensory Splash programs at the Marana Pool and the Gladden Farms Park Splash Pad in an effort to provide programs specifically for children with special needs.

Take the LINK For more information on these and other great Marana Parks and Recreation Programs.

Marana Town Talk Episode 7: Chamber legacy, General Plan Update, Cape Chase Adaptive Fun Run

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Town of Marana has released its seventh episode of "Marana Town Talk", a local government podcast that balances education and entertainment with thoughtful commentary on local current events. 

Communications Manager Vic Hathaway and Communications Specialist Brad Allis kick off the episode with outgoing President/CEO of the Marana Chamber of Commerce Ed Stolmaker (4:00). Ed talks about his impacts on the community and his plans after retirement, before handing the mic over to incoming President/CEO Audra Winters, who tells us what her plans are for the upcoming year. Next, they sat down with Senior Planner Cynthia Ross (11:45) to discuss the 2040 General Plan Update, and how the public’s involvement can make a difference in their community. Finally, they spent some time with Recreation Coordinator Kevin Goodrich (19:40) to talk about Cape Chase and other modified recreation experiences for participants with special needs.

Things to do in Marana for March and beyond

Manager's Message: Cape Chase an all abilities event

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Marana Parks and Recreation Director Jim Conroy provided the following Manager’s Message on the upcoming Cape Chase to the Marana News/Explorer News.

At Marana Parks and Recreation, we try to serve the diverse needs of our residents. We have events for the most elite athletes to those just beginning their fitness journey. We offer classes to enrich the mind, and we provide training to those just starting their first jobs as a baby sitter or lifeguard. 

Now, we are proud to expand our programming to serve our special needs community. 

The Town of Marana is excited to bring the first Marana Cape Chase Adaptive Fun Run to the community Saturday, March 9 at Ora Mae Harn Park (13250 N. Lon Adams Road). This non-competitive course is designed for tots, youth, teens, families and participants with disabilities who seek adventure and want to stay active.

When we assessed our programming last year, we realized we could bring great recreational opportunities to this previously underserved segment of the population. We began our sensory splash classes at both the Marana Pool and the Splash Pad in Marana, which are designed as a safe, positive and exclusive aquatic and social “meet up” experience for individuals with special needs.

After seeing the success of our sensory splash programs, we began exploring more ideas. We took inspiration from other communities and came up with the Cape Chase Fun Run. Like our other races, this event has a fun theme, and participants are encouraged to dress up as their favorite super hero. 

The Cape Chase is a sensory obstacle course perfectly suited for a variety of young competitors, no matter what their challenges may be. Dodge speed bumps, navigate the bubble pit, traverse through the pool noodle pass, and explore the cone maze. 

There are eight different obstacles, but staggered start times mean that no one has to worry about going too fast or too slow while navigating the course. 

We expect our park to be filled with super heroes March 9. Not only do the first 200 participants get their very own cape, but we have it on good authority that several super hero guests will be turning Ora Mae Harn Park into their own Hall of Justice. 

Reveal your secret superhero identities and conquer this adaptive fun run in Marana. Sign up now. Visit maranaAZ.gov/recreation.

Jim Conroy is the Marana Parks and Recreation Director.

Little League fields getting preseason improvements

Marana Parks and Recreation Parks Superintendent Dave Herman loves baseball. With his ever-present baseball cap and his bushy mustache, he looks like every 80’s movie idea of a baseball manager.

The rototiller breaks up the infield clay so that it may be redistributed and leveled.

The rototiller breaks up the infield clay so that it may be redistributed and leveled.

The only thing Herman loves more than baseball is his family and his parks. Fortunately, his love for the game and his love of his job came together recently.

Herman and his team have been hard at work getting the Town’s little league fields ready for the upcoming season.  Not only are they trying to make the fields as nice and playable as possible, but they are also working hard to make sure both the infield clay and the outfield grass is as safe as possible. 

It turns out a safe playing surface is also a great playing surface.

Herman and his team are spending a lot of time on the infield clay. Their first job was to determine just how deep the clay was. In many places it was 5-6 inches deep. Having that much clay can cause the ground to become very hard, which can lead to dangerous plays for young infielders.  

“We are trying to make it safer for the kids,” said Marana Parks Maintenance Supervisor Donna Chambers. “If the field gets too hard, that ball can come up at them too fast.”

To make the surface safer as well as play better for teams, Herman and his crew have a multi-step process. First, they use a rototiller to turn up the clay. Once they have the loose dirt, they redistribute it across the infield and then use a laser level and a 60” paving roller to roll out the clay and make it level.

 “It is a challenge to get it just right,” said Herman. “You want the field to have to some give, but not too much. You don’t want it so loose that it is like a sandbox, but also not so hard that it like playing on asphalt either.”  

Using the laser level, they were not only able to find the depth of the clay, but figure out where the hardest portions were. Not surprisingly, the clay was the most compacted in front of home plate and in the high traffic areas around the bases.

While the field itself will be level, the areas around home plate will be rolled so that water will drain away from home plate.

Dave Herman and the laser level.

Dave Herman and the laser level.

The outfield grass will also be in great shape this season. Parks and Recreation crews have aerated the grass, which is the process of poking holes into the turf and getting air into the soil. Herman was thrilled that they were able to use a device called a Terra-Spike perforate the grass nine inches down. Aeration gets air into the soil, and the ambient air temperature actually warms up the grass, and not only helps get more water and air into the soil, but also creates more areas for the root hairs of the grass to spread.

“It will give us both a safer playing surface and a better turf quality,” Herman said.

One issue last year with some of the fields was the presence of burrs that were difficult to remove from clothing. The burrs came from khaki weed, and Town staff was able to use a Toro Rake-O-Vac to remove nearly all the pesky burrs. The device does just what the name implies- it rakes up the burrs, then vacuums them up. Not only did the process work well last season, but this season they have virtually no khaki weed on the fields.

The Parks and Recreation staff will complete the project in time for the little league season in March, but this is not a one-time project. Next year they will start the process all over again. Herman said that this is the same process that professional and college fields undertake, and it will create the best possible playing surface for little leaguers.

Things to do in Marana for February and beyond

Egg Nog Jog kicks off a year of great races + Photo Gallery

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Every year the Town of Marana kicks of the new year with their January 1st Egg Nog Jog, and every year the Town’s Parks and Recreation Department invites residents to #RunMarana.

The Town offers a variety of ways to run and hike. Whether you like 10Ks, fun runs, or running on the trails, Marana has a race for you.

The Egg Nog Jog is just one of three holiday themed races. May will bring the Mother’s Day 5k and Fun Run, while next November will see the Town host the next installment of the Turkey Trot.

This year we are adding a few new events to the slate. On March 9 Marana will host the first Cape Chase, which the first of its kind Superhero Adaptive fun run. This is a race for anyone and everyone who is ready to reveal their secret identities and conquer our course full of obstacles.

On May 9 the first Marana Meltdown will take place. The Meltdown is a Mountain Bike Time Trial on the Tortolita Preserve.

In addition to the races, there are other great opportunities to take in the great trails in Marana. There are monthly guided hikes and horseback rides and on March 2 the MOVE Across 2 Ranges, where hikers are invited to hit the trails and experience the challenge and beauty of Southern Arizona's premier hiking destinations in the Tortolita and Catalina Mountains all in one day.

For more information on these and all of the Marana Parks and Recreation events and activities CLICK HERE.

Fun and family at the first Winter Waterland

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Marana Parks and Recreation host their first Winter Waterland event on Friday night and it was a success. The event was held at Crossroads at Silverbell District Park and utilized the park’s two newest features, the splash pad and the solar/shade structure over the basketball courts. 

While the splash pad is closed for the winter, the nightly light shows continue. Winter Waterland was the debut of the new holiday colored light show. Jets of green and red water shot up in interesting patterns that elicited a few “oohs” and “ahs” from those in attendance.

The new solar/shade structure over the basketball courts not only provides shade for basketball players during the day, but the lights illuminate the courts at night. On Friday night one of the courts provided a perfect place for many of the features of the event. Both food vendors were set up in the area, and there were plenty of picnic tables set up to enjoy the tasty BBQ and ice cream. The Marana Police VIP’s handed out stuffed animals to every child in attendance, while the Marana Senior Program’s Elf Shoppe also found a home on the courts. The Elf Shoppe raised over $550 for the Marana Community Foodbank by selling handmade crafts and Christmas ornaments.

Santa showed up. He dropped in from the North Pole to kick off the water light show countdown and then stayed around to hear Christmas wishes and take pictures with the families.

The VFW and Boy Scouts handed over 200 cups of hot cocoa in less than 20 minutes. All 325 parking spots were filled and the crowed enjoyed free crafts, food vendors, an outdoor Christmas movie and stage entertainment that included the Silver Steppers Flash Mob, Girl Scouts Carolers, and the Point of Grace Dancers.

Overall, it was an evening jam-packed with holiday cheer.  One attendee took to Facebook to comment, “Thank you for putting on such an amazing family friendly fun event. You guys never cease to amaze me.”

Go Full Steam This Spring

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Where did the fall go? It seemed like just yesterday the Marana Parks and Recreation staff were gearing up for a busy fall after a very busy summer. Now we are excited to “Go Full Steam Into Spring.”

In November we held our first Art Expo at the Marana Community Center, and it was so successful we are bringing it back. This time we are going to feature some of the amazing student artists who live in the town. 

Marana continues to be a certification destination as we once again partner with the American Red Cross to provide first aid, lifeguarding, and babysitting classes.

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You want races? We’ve got races. Kick off the New Year with the Egg Nog Jog. Like to hike? Then the M.O.V.E. Across 2 Ranges Hike Challenge is something you’ll need to check out. In March we present our Cape Chase Adventure Fun Run, which is an inclusive superhero themed event for everyone. We’ll again celebrate Mother’s Day with our annual 5K and Fun Run, while those who like to mountain bike will have to check out the Marana Meltdown, a mountain bike timed trial on the Tortolita Preserve Trailhead. 

Have kids that love the outdoors, but want something more mentally stimulating? We’ve created our Nature To You Garden Education Series at the Marana Heritage River Park. Those who want to be inspired artistically may want to take in one of our Paint Nights in the Park. 

Pickleball continues to be one of our most popular sports and we’ll have leagues all spring. The first one runs from Feb-April, while the second runs from April until late June.

We’ll also continue to offer Coed Softball League, open gym for volleyball and basketball, and two sessions for Adult Tennis Lessons.

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For the kids, there are also tennis lessons, basketball and football clinics, Pee Wee Soccer in north and south Marana, another speed and agility clinic, another Itty Bitty Open Tot Golf outing, and a brand new Mini Me – Sports Edition. 

This spring we partner with Northwest Medical Center to provide health seminars. Other new programs include Tots & Me Story Art Class, STREAM Afterschool Club, Park & Stroll – Playground Explorer Club, and kids and teens Marana Police Academies. Of course all of your favorite classes, concerts, and activities will also be available.

As you can see, there is so much to do, so please “Go Full Steam” this Spring with Marana Parks and Recreation

Jim Conroy, Marana Parks and Recreation Director

Things to do in Marana in November and beyond

November and early December is a busy time in the Town of Marana. Over the next month, the Town will host one of their biggest signature events, their annual Thanksgiving road race, a Marana specific leg of the El Tour de Tucson, and another edition of the Marana Game Day Cornhole Tournament.

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MPD wins inaugural Heroes Hoopfest

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The Marana Police Department (MPD) defeated Northwest Fire Department (NWFD) 56-47 to win the first annual Heroes Hoopfest, and claim the Hoopfest Cup. The game was played on Monday, October 29 at the Solar/Shade Super Structure over the basketball courts at Crossroads at Silverbell District Park.

The game was part of the celebration of the new covered basketball courts, but also in conjunction with Friday night's National Night Out event put on by MPD.

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MPD used a late run to earn the win. MPD held a slim 35-34 lead with 16:00 left in the game but proceeded to score 19 of the next 26 points and led 54-41 with just over a minute to play. NWFD finished strong, ending the game on a 6-2 mini-run. 

Although the two organizations frequently square off on the hardwood, this organized game between the two will become an annual event. The trophy awarded by Marana Parks and Recreation has room to engrave the winner’s name.

“We’d like to make this game an annual event,” said Marana Parks and Recreation Director Jim Conroy.

The trophy was awarded to Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema by Marana Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta. Rozema served as player and coach for the squad that was also guided by Officer Ira Sewell, who was in full uniform on the sideline.

The solar structure is the second installation at a Town park, and joins the existing 6,097 sq. ft. solar structure located in Ora Mae Harn District Park. This project not only provides electrical credits and environmentally friendly energy, it also serves as an outstanding amenity for the park. This structure will provide shade for park patrons watching swim meets in the pool or their children playing on the large playground.

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The two structures, as well as future structures erected at the Marana Municipal Complex, are part of a power-purchase agreement with Solon. The company pays for the installation costs of the solar arrays, while the Town pays a discounted rate for the energy it uses. Estimates by the Town of Marana Public Works Department believe the installations will save the Town roughly $3 million over a 30-year period.

“When there is shade and savings, that is a win-win for everyone,” said Solon’s Luke Alms.

The event was also sponsored by Truly Nolan, who provided free hot dogs for spectators and participants.

Busy weekend in Marana

It is a very busy weekend in the Town of Marana. There is something for everyone, whether you want to meet the police, watch a free movie, view some art, or get your dogs vaccinated.

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