Town Council

May 5-11 is Municipal Clerks Week

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On Tuesday, May 7 the Marana Town Council official recognized May 5-11 as Municipal Clerks Week with an official proclamation.

The Municipal Clerk is the oldest of public servants in local government, along with the tax collector. The profession traces back before Biblical times. The origins of the Municipal Clerk stems from a time before widespread use of written language, and early keepers of archives were required to use their memory to serve as the public record .

In modern Hebrew, the term “Town Clerk” is Mazkir Ha'ir which literally translated, means “city or town reminder”.

This May, Municipal Clerks Week will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary, initiated in 1969 by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks and is endorsed by all of its members throughout the United States, Canada and 15 other countries. In 1984 and in 1994, Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, respectively, signed a Proclamation officially declaring Municipal Clerks Week the first full week of May and recognizing the essential role Municipal Clerks play in local government.

Although many of Marana’s clerks are not certified municipal clerks, they equally contribute to the organization by attending various educational opportunities, and are considered a municipal clerk.

Town of Marana Clerk Office

            Cherry Lawson, CMC, Town Clerk
            Hilary Hiser, CMC, Deputy Town Clerk
            Suzanne Sutherland, CMC, Executive Assistant
            Nolette Hernandez, Records Clerk (pending later this year)
            Emily Noeth, Records Clerk

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Ina Road Celebration Weekend video and photo gallery

Marana Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta. Photo courtesy JD Fitzgerald.

Marana Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta. Photo courtesy JD Fitzgerald.

On Saturday, May 4 the Town of Marana, the Marana Chamber of Commerce, the Regional Transportation Authority, and and a collection of Ina Road businesses came together for the Ina Road Celebration Weekend. The event was a celebration of the completion of three major road projects on Ina Road.

The weekend began with a business expo and cake cutting ceremony that included speeches by Marana Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta, ADOT District Engineer Rod Lane, Marana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Audra Winters, RTA Chair Mike Hammond, and Marana Mayor Ed Honea.

The rest of the weekend saw local businesses host a variety of events, including block parties, concerts, pony rides, and Kentucky Derby Parties.

The Ina Road Interchange project is in its final stages. The bridge that extends Ina over I-10 and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks is completed and the on and off ramps are open. Additionally the Town of Marana and the RTA teamed up to expand Ina west of the freeway to four lanes, which included building two new bridges over the Santa Cruz River. The Town of Marana has also completed the bulk of the work on the Ina Road Beautification Project, which completely milled and repaved Ina Road, added new sidewalks and ADA safety improvements, and added improved landscaping.

Photo Gallery

Photos courtesy JD Fitzgerald Photography


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.

Recommended operating budgets presented to Town Council

On Tuesday, April 23, Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta and Finance Director Yiannis Kalaitzidis presented the recommended operating budgets for the General Fund, Bed Tax Fund, Highway User Revenue Fund, Water Operating Fund, Wastewater Operating Fund, and the Airport Operating Fund for fiscal year 2019-2020 to Town Council. Information and direction received from Town Council will then be incorporated into the Town’s tentative budget, which will be presented to Town Council for consideration on May 21.

Town staff worked to compile a summary of the recommended budget, and includes a section on operating capital and projects with descriptions of significant one-time items. The summary also formally lists the items requested to be carried forward into the 2019-2020 recommended budget. Staff anticipates that there will be adequate resources to support these requests.

The budgets presented on April 23 are the operating budgets for the General Fund and other selected operating funds. Special Revenue, Capital Project, and Dept Service Funds were not formally presented, but will be included in the overall tentative budget presented on May 21.  

Click here to view the full presentation file.

Click here to view the Town Council meeting video.

Click here to view the 2020 Manager’s Recommended Operating Budget.

Jacob Cox receives 2019 Youth Legacy Award

Jacob Cox accepts the Youth Legacy Award from Mayor Honea on the 2019 State of the Town stage.

Jacob Cox accepts the Youth Legacy Award from Mayor Honea on the 2019 State of the Town stage.

As part of the 2019 Marana State of the Town Luncheon last week, the Town handed out their third annual Youth Legacy Award.

AWARD HISTORY

The Marana Town Council created the Youth Legacy Award in order to acknowledge youth in the community who make Marana a better place for everyone. Recipients of this award benefit others in the community through acts supporting:

Heart: promoting a healthy and supportive environment for youth;

Body: Fulfilling essential needs such as food, shelter, and safety; or

Mind: Creating educational opportunities enriching young minds. 

This year the nominees were evaluated by a panel made up of Town staff and members of the Marana Citizens Forum.

Jacob Cox

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 For the last three years, Jacob Cox has run the school supplies drive at Rattlesnake Ridge Elementary. He began in 2015 as a third grader, and the intent was to take school supplies with him on his summer trip to Peru and deliver to a small school in the mountains where many students didn't even have shoes to wear, much less have supplies to use for learning.

Jacob expected to have a few handfuls of crayons, pencils and some notebooks to take with him, but when he went to pick up the supplies from the drive, the boxes were overflowing. The response from the students, teachers and parents were overwhelming.  

When he went back to school after his summer break in Peru, he made another presentation to his school with photos of some of the students who received the supplies. The joy on the faces of the students who were getting their very first backpack, or their own box of crayons for the first time, is indescribable.

Jacob was limited on what he could take with him to Peru, so to ensure all supplies went to a new home, he worked with another school in the district to get the supplies to the teachers and students who needed a little help. Jacob went on to run the supply drive for the next 3 years, up until his last summer in elementary school in 2018.





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. 

Founders' Day Photos and Parade Video

This weekend’s Marana Founders’ Day was a huge success. Great crowds turned out for the parade and all the festivities at the Marana Municipal Complex. Relive the event with full video coverage of the parade and a great photo gallery.

Photos by JD Fitzgerald

Mayor's Message: Enjoy Founders' Day

Marana Mayor Ed Honea provided a Mayor’s Message to the Marana News regarding Founders’ Day.

Marana Founders’ Day logo.

Marana Founders’ Day logo.

This Saturday is the return of Marana Founders’ Day, one of my favorite events in the town. Founders’ Day is a great way to remember Marana’s humble beginnings, while also celebrating where we are going as a community. 

I take great pride in our community, and love showing it off during our signature events. At Founders’ Day, we remember how the town’s founders came together over 40 years ago to protect the water rights of local farmers. Many of those families, including my own, still call Marana home. 

Marana’s history dates back further than its incorporation in the 1970s. Western people have settled here since the late 1800s, and in the 1930s the residents in the area came together to form the Cortaro-Marana Irrigation District in an effort to protect water resources and purchase electrical power at a low rate.

Once again, Founders’ Day will be located at the Marana Municipal Complex in the heart of Downtown Marana. The first Marana Town Hall was in a small strip mall on the corner of Sanders and Marana Road. Today, we have a beautiful, modern complex that has become even more striking with the addition of our brand-new police facility.

The highlight of Founders’ Day is the parade. To me, the parade sums up how diverse and interesting Marana is. Horseback riders travel the same parade route as modern police vehicles. We will have marching bands, kids on bicycles and floats. We will also have vintage tractors that harken back to Marana’s farming roots travelling alongside giant concrete mixers that remind us that we live in one of the fastest growing communities in the state. 

The floats represent so many great organizations that make Marana a great town. All of the schools from Marana Unified School District as well as the Open Doors School are represented, as is MHC Healthcare, Northwest Fire and so many of our great churches. The Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts will be in the parade, as will organizations like 4-H, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Marana-Foothills Optimists Club and the Shriners. Truly a cross section of Marana.

The Anway Family will serve as the Grand Marshalls of the Parade. They represent the families that have called Marana home for generations. The Anway family first arrived in Marana over 100 years ago. They were among the first families to plant cotton, and were the first to sink a well in Avra Valley and bring dairy cows to the area. 

It is exciting to welcome so many generations of the family to the festivities, and I believe they are the perfect representatives for what Founders’ Day is all about. They are truly the history of the Town, as well as the future of this community. 

This year we are bringing the festivities to the courtyard of the Municipal Complex. Those watching the parade near MHC, Ora Mae Harn Park or the roundabout will have just a short stroll to get to all of the great activities.

Town staff will be on hand getting feedback on the next iteration of the Marana General Plan, and our Community and Neighborhood Services Department will be answering questions and helping to license and adopt dogs. A number of great local non-profits and businesses will also be on-site.  

A new addition to Founders’ Day is the Marana Art Expo. This is the second Art Expo hosted by Marana Parks and Recreation. This time, local middle and high school artists will be featured. These great works of art will be hosted in the main lobby of the Municipal Complex.

At the town we strive to provide free family activities, and Founders’ Day will be no different. This year, we will have a variety of inflatable attractions, a kids’ craft area and a small recreational train. 

I like to think there is a lot of great talent in the Town of Marana, and that talent will be showcased at Founders’ Day. We have four diverse acts performing, beginning with Ballet Folklorico Xochitl starting at 11:30 a.m., and followed by the Marana High School Choir, the Lion Dance Chinese Cultural Dancers and classic rock ban Sonora Borealis. 

Founders’ Day is about the history of the town, and there will be a number of historical and cultural displays and booths. This is a great way to learn more about Marana’s rich history.

I love Founders’ Day, and hope you will join me on Saturday to take in the festivities. See you there. 

Ed Honea is the Mayor of Marana.


Marana News: Marana prepares for Founders’ Day

A Shriner gives a high five during the Marana Founders’ Day Parade.

A Shriner gives a high five during the Marana Founders’ Day Parade.

The Marana News has a great preview of Founders' Day, which will take place on Saturday, March 30.

More than any other event in town, the Marana Founders’ Day celebrates local people and culture. And this year’s Founders’ Day celebration brings the cultural exploration to another level, by examining the past, present and future of the community. 

“We’re bringing in all the cultural groups that can point back to the people currently in Marana, and those who inhabited the area before us,” said Monique Hagberg, Town of Marana Special Events Coordinator. 

While every Founders’ Day celebration focuses on the history of Marana, the plan is for this year’s to look both forward and back; the festival features booths and exhibits displaying Marana’s history, including Native American history, a presentation from the Chinese Cultural Center, a performance by Ballet Folklorico Xochitl and more.

Members of the Anway family, celebrating 100 years since arriving in the Marana area, will serve as marshals for the Founders’ Day parade. 

“Founders’ Day, by its very terminology, is for anyone who helped develop the community,” said Marana Mayor Ed Honea, whose own family dates back multiple generations in the region. “And this year we’ll honor the Anway Family as founders of the community.” 

Read more about the parade, activities, vendors and more.

Marana recognizes February 7-14 as Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week

During their February 5 meeting, Marana Town Council proclaimed February 7-14 as Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.

During the meeting, Mayor Ed Honea presented the proclamation to Jennifer Pajor, whose son Brendan was born with a congenital heart defect that required two open heart surgeries before his first birthday.

 “I am very pleased this proclamation has been issued to raise awareness,” Pajor said at the meeting.

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Pajor, a Marana resident, approached the Town of Marana about recognizing the issue, and she told Marana News that having Town Council take the time during the meeting to recognize the issue as well as her family meant a lot.

“I feel like they care about this issue, and that they are willing to bring more awareness to a situation that’s really near and dear to my heart,” she told the paper.

Approximately 40,000 babies are born each year with a congenital heart defect. While some are minor, some require very serious and immediate surgeries. The issue hits close to home as congenital heart defects are among Arizona’s most common birth defects.

Read More about Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week at the Marana News.

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Solar project to generate enough power for 3,000 homes

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On Tuesday, January 22, Trico Electric Cooperative formally introduced the Avion Community Solar Project at a dedication ceremony.

Avion is a 10-megawatt alternating current photovoltaic solar generating facility located on West Avra Valley Road within the Town of Marana. Trico and Torch Clean Energy are partners on the project, which began construction in August 2018 and began producing power in December.

Avion Solar has 40,716 solar photovoltaic modules and sits on approximately 80 acres of land previously used for farming and owned by Avra Plantation, Inc. Avion will produce more than 30,000 megawatt-hours of electric energy each year, or enough to power over 3,000 average residential homes in the Trico service territory.

Avion is the first community scale solar project for Trico. They also have SunWatts Community Sun Farm, a 227 kW, ground-mounted solar power system at its facility located at their office on Tangerine Road.

In 2005, less than 1 percent of the energy produced was from solar. Today, it is just under 14 percent with another 5 percent provided by hydro power.

“It is safe, reliable, environmentally responsible clean power,” said Trico Board Member Nick Buckelew.

“Changes in technology and the market have contributed to making renewable energy more cost-effective,“ CEO Vincent Nitido explained. “This, along with increased interest among our embers, has Trico and co-ops across the country finding new ways to bring the benefits of solar to our service areas.”

Marana Mayor Ed Honea was one of many Marana Town officials and staff at the event. Honea’s father was on the Trico board alongside Buckelew’s father, and he believes they could not have envisioned the evolution of Trico.

“They would be amazed that you could put solar panels out here and servicing over 3,000 homes,” Honea said.

Mayor Honea noted that the projects fits in well with the other solar projects in Marana. The Town of Marana has put solar panels in two of the parks and is in the midst of building solar parking structures at the Marana Municipal Complex. MHC and Marana Unified School District also have large solar presences in the community.

“I think it is really great that we are able to generate power that is renewable,” Honea added.

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January 2019 is General Aviation Appreciation Month in Marana

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At the January 15 Marana Town Council meeting it was proclaimed that January 2019 would be proclaimed as General Aviation Appreciation Month.

The proclamation states that the Town of Marana has a significant interest in the “continued vitality of general aviation, aircraft manufacturing, aviation educational institutions, aviation organizations, and community airports.” Additionally the proclamation recognizes the important economic impact the Marana Regional Airport has on the Town of Marana and surrounding areas.

As part of the proclamation, Marana residents are urged to “support the businesses and industries that contribute to general aviation as an important public benefit to the community and economic resource to the region.”

The Marana Regional Airport is currently in the midst of a $6 million improvement project that includes paving reconstruction, lighting upgrades, and drainage improvements.

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Marana In The Media: Positive news in year-end finances

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Recently, the Town of Marana’s new finance director Yiannis Kalaitzidis briefed the Marana Town Council on the Town finances. In two briefs he covered both an independent audit, as well as giving them an update of the Town’s first quarter financials. Both were positive and the Marana News had a great re-cap of the presentations.

Marana’s budget is in good shape, according to new finance director Yiannis Kalaitzidis, who presented the town’s financial results for the most recent fiscal year and gave a new first quarter update to the mayor and council at their Dec. 18 meeting.

A group of independent auditors found no red flags in the town’s expenditures or revenues, which was great news for the finance department. Kalaitzidis, who began his leadership role in late October, went over highlights of the annual Comprehensive Financial Report.

He said this report is one of the most important because it’s a complete analysis of the town’s finances since its inception, and it communicates the financial health of the town’s government.

Read the rest of the story in the Marana News

Two upcoming opportunities to meet your Town Council

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Marana residents have two opportunities to meet their Town Council in early 2019 as part of the Council Connections event series. The public is invited to meet and mingle at two fun locations:

Home Plate Marana

Date: Wednesday, January 9

Time: 5-6:30 P.M.

Address: 8579 N. Silverbell Road | Marana, AZ 85743

Light refreshments will be provided.

Brought to you in partnership with Home Plate Marana.

Ora Mae Harn District dog park

Date: Saturday, February 9

Time: 1-3 P.M.

Address: 13250 N. Lon Adams | Marana, AZ 85653

Featuring Doggy Ice Cream Social

  • Free rabies vaccinations for Marana resident dogs

  • On-site dog licensing

Brought to you in partnership with Humane Society of Southern ARizona

Mayor's Message: Promises made, promises kept

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This Mayor’s Message originally ran in the Marana News/Explorer News.

Construction of the new Marana Police Facility has reached completion at the Marana Municipal Complex, and last month celebrated its grand opening. This project is a perfect example of local government delivering exactly what was promised to the constituents. This new police facility was built debt-free thanks to a temporary half cent sales tax that will be repealed on January 1, 2019.

Our police department and community can now welcome a state-of-the-art facility that will further support our Marana Police Department’s mission of unparalled service, unwavering protection and uncompromised integrity.

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The increase went into effect with full community support on July 2015 after nearly a year of public outreach and research. Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema, senior staff, and Town Council members met with local residents and business leaders to garner the necessary support to build the project, including public meetings, direct business outreach, media interviews, survey cards, and open houses to show the need for the new facility. As Marana continues to grow and our police department expands, the existing facilities within the Marana Municipal Complex and at the Marana Operation Center were no longer meeting the safety needs of a responsive law enforcement agency.

Marana residents and businesses overwhelmingly supported the project and the use of a temporary sales tax increase as its funding source. They trusted us to implement and repeal the tax, as well as to use the money for what we said it was for. We did just that. In December we will collect the final portion of the $18,000,000 needed to build the police facility, and Marana Town Council has already instructed Town staff to lower the sales tax at the start of the new year. Per the original resolution, every dime raised went into a fund to pay specifically for the facility, including design, construction, and furniture. 

Our citizens and business leaders supported the project because of the great relationship our police department has forged with the community. The Marana Police Department has earned the trust and respect of Marana and the public was all too happy to endorse the project.

We made a promise to the people of Marana, and we kept that promise. With this new facility, you can be rest assured that our Marana Police Department will continue to provide great service to the community, and is now equipped to keep Marana safe as our Town moves into the future.  

Ed Honea is the Mayor of the Town of Marana

After one year, Animal Services a success

The Marana Animal Services Division rounded out its inaugural year of operation on July 1, 2018. The program was implemented to provide top tier customer service to Marana residents, while trying to curtail skyrocketing costs. The data is in, and the first year of the program has been a success.

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Town of Marana Community & Neighborhood Services Director Lisa Shafer, who oversees the Animal Services Division, gave an update to the Marana Town Council at their October 16 meeting. 

“We had a very successful first year,” Shafer said.

The primary goal in creating the Animal Services Division was to provide a better level of service to the Marana Community. By having Animal Control Officers dedicated to the Town, response times are quicker based on their more intimate knowledge of the area. One immediate advantage to the Animal Services Division is their success rate in reuniting families with their pets. In the first year of the service, Town staff picked up 263 stray dogs and cats, and 133 were taken directly back to their owners. Another 38 strays were returned to their owners by the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, who the Town has contracted with for kenneling services.

The return rate for all Marana strays was 49.6 percent, with Marana Animal Control officers able to return more than half of the strays they encountered. The numbers are already showing an increase in performance this year, with over 72 percent of strays returned over the past three months. 

“We are having a fabulous first three months,” said Shafer.

According to Shafer, the fast response by the Town’s Animal Control Officers has also reduced the burden on the Marana police officers. She explained that many residents had to rely on Marana Police Department for calls due to the long response times from the previous animal control services.   

“[residents] were giving up and just calling 911,” Shafer said. “Our PD in years past were taking a lot of barking dog complaints, as well as vicious dogs.”

The Town of Marana Animal Services Division has also proven to be cost effective for the Town. The first year of the new division saw expenditures reduced by $9,635 or four percent from Fiscal Year 2017, while revenues were up by $12,069 (14 percent) from dog licensing and donations.  

The Town issued over 4,400 Marana Dog Licenses in that first year.

 

Marana completes police facility construction, repeals half-cent sales tax

The Marana Town Council voted unanimously to repeal the half-cent sales tax put in place to fund the new Town of Marana Police Facility following the facility’s completion. The decision was made at the October 16 Town Council meeting and will go into effect on January 1, 2019.

“A promise made, a promise kept,” said Marana Mayor Ed Honea.

In April 2015, Town Council approved the sales tax increase to fund the bulk of the police facility project. The sunset tax was designed to raise $18 million dollars to build the facility and then be repealed as soon as the necessary funds were collected. The temporary tax increase went into effect on July 1, 2015.

Based upon current collections and conservative estimates from the independent tax analysis and forecast report by Elliott D. Pollack & Company, the Town anticipates that the one-half percent sales tax will generate the remaining portion of the targeted $18 Million with the December 2018 collections.

“I believe this is a pretty significant achievement to the community,” said Deputy Town Manager Erik Montague in his presentation to Town Council. “This is the second time in my time here that we have fulfilled our promise to the community where we had a temporary tax for a specific purpose.”

The sales tax increase came after nearly a year of public outreach and research. At the July 1, 2014 council meeting, Town Council requested a public outreach plan be developed, and the following month that plan was presented and approved by Council. Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema met with local residents and business leaders and garnered the necessary support to build the project. This public outreach included public meetings, direct business outreach, media interviews, survey cards, and open houses to show the need for the new facility.

With public and business support for the project, Town Council voted in February 2015 to initiate the process to adopt the dedicated one-half percent sales tax to be used exclusively for the design and construction, fixtures, furniture and equipment for a new police department building, and in April they finalized the tax.

Council required that the proceeds from the tax increase be placed in a newly established fund dedicated to building the police facility.  Any collections in excess of $18,000,000 will be used for other costs related to the new police building, including but not limited to operating costs, landscaping, and design and construction of drainage improvements.

The Marana Police Department will hold their dedication ceremony for the new facility on Wednesday, November 14.

 

New splash pad grand opening at Crossroads Park (with video)

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On Thursday, August 30 the Marana Parks and Recreation held a grand opening ceremony for the new splash pad at Crossroads at Silverbell District Park. The splash pad is the second in the Town of Marana, joining the one at Marana Heritage River Park in North Marana.

The new 2,400 square foot splash pad features a series of floor geysers, floor lighting, colorful shade sails, and seating integrated within the pad, outside of the water’s reach.At night the splash pad becomes a light show as the shooting water is illuminated from below and it can be programed with a variety of patterns.

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The new splash pad is the latest amenity at the park and will be located near the playground and basketball courts, which will soon be undergoing their own transformation. The courts will soon be covered by a permanent solar structure, providing shade for those daytime pick-up games.  

The grand opening ceremony was the public’s first opportunity to experience the splash pad. Marana Parks and Recreation Director Jim Conroy, Deputy Parks and Recreation Director D. Tyrell McGirt, and Vice Mayor Jon Post all spoke before members of the Marana Town Council cut the ceremonial ribbon to formally open the facility.

The splash pad is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and then from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. the light show will run. The splash pad is scheduled to remain open until the end of October.

Marana Parks and Recreation Director Jim Conroy speaks at the grand opening:

Town of Maran Vice May Jon Post speaks at the grand opening:

Marana Parks and Recreation Deputy Director D. Tyrell McGirt speaks at the grand opening:

The public gets to play in the splash pad for the first time:

Night time light show:

Media footage of the splash pad from Tucson News Now:

Video: Tangerine Sky Community Park grand opening

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On Friday, August 10, the Town of Marana opened Tangerine Sky Community Park with a grand opening ceremony. The ceremony attracted between 250-300 residents, employees, and stakeholders in the new park.

Marana Parks and Recreation Director, Jim Conroy, emceed this event and thanked all those who made the project possible, as well as giving some facts about the park and the project.

Marana Mayor Ed Honea discussed the importance of the park to this portion of Marana.

The Marana Town Council, several shareholders, and area children participate in the ribbon cutting.

KVOA previewed the opening.

KGUN 9 was also on hand for a sneak preview and had two live reports from the park.

Town honored for support of Veterans Cemetery

On June 19, the Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery Foundation presented the Marana Town Council with a piece of artwork to thank the Town for being community partners with the cemetery in North Marana.

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The painting “Home at Dusk,” by artist Robert Taylor depicts a squadron of P-51 Mustangs flying in formation during World War II. It will be placed on permanent display by at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery, and will boast a commemorative plaque thanking the Town for their contributions.  

“Our foundation deeply appreciates the effort being made here in the Town,” said Sawn Pfund, a board member for the Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery Foundation.

The Town of Marana has been committed to supporting its community of military veterans, and they do their utmost to honor them. Those efforts have led to Marana being designated a Purple Heart Town. 

“I’d like to thank the Town on behalf of the foundation. that continues to do work with us, to do what is right, what we normally say is the right thing to do for our veterans, both here in Marana and in Pima County,” said Pfund.

Pfund also gave praise to the Marana Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies who help provide traffic support for the foundation’s memorial events at the cemetery. 

The Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery Foundation is committed to the continued enhancement and beautification of projects inside the cemetery grounds.

Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery is located at 15950 N Luckett Road in North Marana.