Marana named the state's fifth safest city

Marana made the list of safest cities in Arizona by Safewise

Marana made the list of safest cities in Arizona by Safewise

The Town of Marana was named one of the top-10 safest cities in Arizona by safewise.com, ranking 5th overall. That is up from No. 6 in the previous rankings.

The Town scored particularly well in terms of violent crime, with just 0.89 violent crimes per 1,000 residents. In the previous rankings Marana had 0.93 violent crimes per 1,000 residents. The national average is 4.49 per 1,000 citizens.

Marana only had 26.24 property crimes per 1,000 residents.

To determine the safest cities in Arizona, safewise.com reviewed the 2017 FBI crime report statistics and population data.

Their evaluation is based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) in each city. If there was a tie, we also factored in the number of property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft). To level the playing field, we calculated the rate of crimes per 1,000 people in each city. This makes it easier to directly compare the likelihood of these crimes occurring in cities with vastly different populations.

See the full list.

Marana was rated the fifth safest city in Arizona.

Marana was rated the fifth safest city in Arizona.

Pavement assessment beginning on Monday, March 18

A van with special equipment will be analyzing Marana roads.

The Town of Marana is committed to having the best possible roads. This goal led to the creation of the Town’s Pavement Preservation Program, which strives to preserve Town roadways on regular basis.

A van will help assess Marana roadways beginning Monday, March 18.

A van will help assess Marana roadways beginning Monday, March 18.

The Town has been collecting pavement condition data and prioritizing project selection for pavement preservation since 2009. Six years ago, the Town created a six-year pavement preservation program.  The program is in its last year of implementation.

As the pavement preservation program was developed in-house, it has evolved over the years to take advantage of advances in computing capabilities as well as changes in pavement preservation philosophy. The most notable latest advancement is the move to prioritize projects based on “life cycle cost concept.” In an effort to best prioritize projects and properly manage resources, the Town roadways will be undergoing a pavement assessment beginning on Monday, March 18. This will not only allow the Town to develop long-term maintenance plans and budgets, but also help guide Town staff into “applying the right treatment, to the right road, at the right time, and right cost.” This will allow the Town to best utilize their resources, while also providing the best possible driving surfaces.

“The pavement assessment will help the Town in initiating cost-effective decisions relative to the “what,” “where,” and “when” in terms of pavement maintenance and rehabilitation,” said Town of Marana Public Works Director Mo El-Ali. “What treatment is cost-effective; where are the treatments needed; and when is the best time to program a treatment?”

Special vans with cameras on the bumper will analyze Marana’s roads.

Special vans with cameras on the bumper will analyze Marana’s roads.

To conduct the pavement assessment, the Town of Marana will utilize IMS Infrastructure Management Services LLC, to complete a detailed inventory and condition rating of all roadways and collect right-of-way assets. The data will be collected and loaded into an asset management program specifically designed to assist the Town in developing a long-term pavement preservation program.  

The field surveys are completed in two phases using specialized surveying equipment.

The first phase will begin on March 18 and last two weeks. This initial phase will inventory and collect pavement performance data using a device known as a Laser Road Surface Tester or RST. This device measures pavement roughness, rutting, cracking and other surface distresses as it travels down the roadway. It will also be used to collect digital video and Global Positioning Satellite (GPS} information for cataloging right of way assets.

The RST is a one-ton Ford van with 4 inside mounted cameras and GPS receivers and a modified front bumper. Operated by three field technicians, the RST travels at posted speed limits and will survey each roadway at least once.

Ina Road opens over I-10 in Marana as interchange nears completion


Ina Road bridge construction/Courtesy ADOT

Ina Road bridge construction/Courtesy ADOT

Ramps connecting with I-10 expected to open in next few weeks

Ina Road has opened over Interstate 10 in Marana, a major step toward completing a modern traffic interchange that is one of the Tucson area’s largest road projects in years.

Early Thursday, traffic began taking Ina Road over I-10 and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. While work continues in other areas of the project, one lane of Ina Road will be available in each direction and the speed limit will be 25 mph.

Ramps connecting Ina Road with I-10 are expected to open in the next few weeks. The final pieces of the project – widening Ina Road from I-10 west to the Santa Cruz River and connecting with a new bridge over the river – will be completed later this spring. Ina Road is open throughout that area of the project. 

Ina Road Bridge over I-10 is now open.

Ina Road Bridge over I-10 is now open.

Before this $128 million project, Ina Road offered just two lanes under I-10, and drivers regularly had to wait for trains to pass. The new overpass will offer four lanes while eliminating the need to wait for trains, enhancing mobility and safety.

Improvements also include replacing a single two-lane Ina Road bridge over the Santa Cruz River with two bridges, doubling the road’s capacity west of I-10, and creating a bicycle path that connects with The Loop, a system of trails and bike routes in the Tucson area. Meanwhile, new technology will monitor traffic and allow ADOT engineers to adjust signal timing based on need.

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

Ina Road is the third major I-10 interchange replacement in Pima County. Projects at Prince Road and Twin Peaks have created overpasses that eliminated the need for drivers to wait for trains. A similar project at Ruthrauff Road is expected to begin this summer.

Manager's Message: Spring into March with the Town of Marana

Marana Municipal Complex.

Marana Municipal Complex.

Marana Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta provides a monthly Manager’s Message to the Marana News.

There’s much to look forward to during the month of March. March Madness, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, Spring Equinox—and now Marana’s Community Conversations!

The Town of Marana will host three community meetings this month at various locations, and we encourage our residents to come and learn about new development and construction projects, parks and recreation programs and the fiscal year 2020 budget process. 

A lot of new projects are reaching completion. 

The Town regains access to Ina Road Interchange soon, and with it the freshly paved and landscaped Ina Road, complete with sidewalks and accessibility ramps. New businesses are opening everywhere, including the Hampton Inn & Suites at Marana Center, and the future Dutch Bros. and Serial Grillers located near the Interstate and Cortaro Road. The town is also busy working on capital improvement projects that will further prepare our community for continued growth, like the North Marana Drainage Study. 

Meeting attendees will learn about the latest residential and commercial growth reports, as well as the General Plan update that maps Marana’s future for the next twenty years.

This is a big year for Marana Parks and Recreation. Town staff begins the 10-year Master Plan study that will give the community a chance to assess its recreation needs and interests, and prioritize projects that are publicly supported, financially responsible and environmentally sound. National reports find that 85 percent of Americans consider high quality park amenities and community centers important factors when choosing a new place to live, and more than 90 percent of Americans agree parks and recreation is an important local government service.

By participating in the 10-year Master Plan process, the public can have an impact on future park developments. Learn more about this process at the Community Conversations events, as well as all the exciting parks and recreation programming happening this year near your neighborhood. 

Every year, the Town of Marana organizes an annual budget based on the priorities set by the Town Council. The annual budget serves as the funding plan for policies, goals, and service-levels provided to the citizens of Marana, and gives staff the authority to spend funds according to the policy goals set by Town Council. Citizen feedback plays an important role in this process, and members of the public are invited to attend the meetings to learn more about budget year 2020.

Community Conversations will be held Wednesday, March 13 at the Wheeler Taft Abbett Library (7800 N. Schisler Drive); Wednesday March 20 at The Highlands at Dove Mountain (4949 W. Heritage Club Blvd.); and Thursday, March 28 at the Town of Marana Police Department Community Room. (11555 W. Civic Center Drive). All three events begin at 6 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you! For more information, visit our event calendar at MaranaAZ.gov

Jamsheed Mehta is the Town of Marana Town Manager.

The Marana Police Department honors their best

2018 Marana Police Awards portrait.

2018 Marana Police Awards portrait.

On Wednesday, March 6th the Marana Police Department held their annual awards ceremony. The event recognized police officers, volunteers, and civilians who contributed to the mission of providing unparalleled service, unwavering protection, and uncompromised integrity.

Officer Randy Korth was named Officer of the Year, Jennifer Mangialardi was named Civilian of the Year, and Guy Shaw was named Volunteer of the Year. In addition, Officer Abel Samano and Officer Neil Jordan were promoted to sergeant, eight officers were sworn in to service, and members of the Town's Technology Services Department and Public Works Department were awarded Letters of Commendation for their work on the new police facility. 

Officer of the Year-recipient Officer Korth has continually displayed a high level of performance and commitment that greatly exceeds expectations for the Marana Police Department. As a Field Training Officer, he trains, guides, and mentors new police officers and recruits. He understands the importance of this role and the impact he has on their careers. He is actively involved in the development of the field training curriculum and evaluation process of the program.   

Korth continued his involvement as an instructor in advanced officer trainings, was the facilitator for the GOHS Warrant Grant, and scheduled a total of eight warrant sweep deployments throughout the year. In 2018, the GOHS Warrant Grant resulted in approximately 200 warrants being served totaling approximately $115,000 in bonds. 

Civilian of the Year-recipient Mangialardi won her award not only for her duties as the Administrative Supervisor to Police Chief Terry Rozema, but for her role in planning the annual awards ceremony and department Christmas party. This year, she undertook an endeavor to find a Marana family in need for MPD to adopt during the holidays. She coordinated the donation of toys, clothes, and money for a family comprised of a single mother and her four children living in a 400 square foot house in west Marana.

Shaw earned the Volunteer of the Year award for undertaking a number of roles in his six years as a volunteer. He most recently served as Treasurer  of the MPD VIP’s. This past year Shaw made significant contributions to the Marana Police Department by securing a $5000 grant from the Pima County Attorney’s Office for its Child Car Seat Program. He has been an instrumental organizer for the annual Pride 4 the Patch charity golf tournament, which has raised over thousands of dollars the past three years. This past year he volunteered over 415 hours.

Thirteen officers and civilian staff received the Citation of Excellence, including ten who dealt with a man brandishing a gun at the Starbucks at Arizona Pavilions. MPD was able to work with the store manager to discretely evacuate as many customers and employees as possible. Eventually the man was taken into custody without incident, but with the ever present potential of an active shooter, officers had to consistently evaluate the risk to the employees and public while assessing the situation. The coordinated efforts between the officers, dispatch, and Starbucks manager contributed to sound tactical decisions and evacuation that resulted in a peaceful resolution.  

For her efforts, Store Manager Teri Lewis was awarded a Chief’s Letter of Commendation.

Officer Caylee Baker received a Citation of Excellence for her role in apprehending a mail thief who was stealing and cashing checks from the mail. Officer Jared Voigt earned his Citation of Excellence for locating stolen jewelry, and not only returning it to the owner. LPO John Pathammavong received his Citation of Excellence for his training and mentoring of newer officers, especially those he was serving with on the midnight squad.

Officer Luis Magana and Officer Esteban Norzagaray were awarded the Life Saver Award for their actions last March when they were able to save the life of a man who attempted to commit suicide.

Officers Gave Tapia and Abel Samano were awarded the Medal of Valor for their roles in locating a bank robber who was deemed to be armed and dangerous. 

Dispatcher Sheila Blevins was awarded the Distinguished Service Award. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of communications within the Marana Police Department. It is not uncommon for surrounding police agencies to call on Sheila for assistance and input for their communication and dispatching systems.  This past year, Sheila played a critical role in the Marana Police Department’s integration into PCWIN; which allows our dispatchers and officers to have radio interoperability with surrounding agencies in emergency situations. 

Officer Brian Neuman earned the Distinguished Service Award for his leadership. He is a General Instructor, Field Training Officer, Phlebotomist, and is HGN certified. He serves as an instructor for High Risk Stops for AOT. He continues to demonstrate his abilities as a knowledgeable officer, and completed the advanced accident reconstruction school through Northwestern University.  This has given him the opportunity to become a lead accident Reconstructionist for serious and fatal collisions 

Grace Neal has served over 29 years as a Marana Police Dispatcher and was awarded the . Distinguished Service Award.  During her career she has served in a variety of roles and has received numerous certifications and training.  Such roles have included; being a training dispatcher, Lead Dispatcher, and at times, has been appointed the acting supervisor of the unit. She has been awarded Dispatcher of the Year through the Association of Public Safety Communications.

Tina Destefano was awarded the Distinguished Service Award.  During her 23-year career as a Marana Police Dispatcher she has served in a variety of roles including; being a training dispatcher, Lead Dispatcher, and at times, has been appointed the acting supervisor of the unit. To this day she receives letters of appreciation from citizens who have appreciated her ability to communicate in a calming manner when they are in distress.  Tina was also awarded Dispatcher of the Year through the Association of Public Safety Communications. 

A pair of MPD Sergeants earned the Medal of Merit. Steve Johnson was awarded the medal for his role as a Homeland Security and Emergency Management expert, while Jose Alvarez was awarded the medal for his role in keeping illegal narcotics off the streets with the Street Level Squad of the Counter Narcotics Alliance. Over his three-year assignment at CNA, Sgt. Alvarez and the Street Level Squad was responsible for the seizure of over $173,000 and $134,000 worth of vehicles seized.

Officer Luis Magana and Officer Esteban Norzagaray were awarded the Life Saver Award for their actions last March when they were able to save the life of a man who attempted to commit suicide.

Officers Gave Tapia and Abel Samano were awarded the Medal of Valor for their roles in locating a bank robber who was deemed to be armed and dangerous.

Three members of the Town of Marana Technology Services Department and three members of the Town’s Facilities Management Division of the Public Works Department were awarded Commendation Letters for their work on the new Marana Police Facility. Mike Perez, Dan Bejarano, and  Joseph Mooney were the recipients from Technology Services, while Brendan O’Connor, Lee Boyett, and Jason Flood were honored from Facilities.

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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.

Ina Road Beautification Project update

Landscape work on Ina Road will conclude at the end of March.

Landscape work on Ina Road will conclude at the end of March.

The Town of Marana’s Ina Road Beautification Project is nearing completion. This project has been done in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Ina Interchange Project in an effort to improve portions of Ina Road not part of the ADOT project, including road resurfacing, safety improvements, and landscaping.

Provided is a synopsis of events that will be occurring on Ina Road and Aerie Road in the next two months. Please note that the dates provided are subject to change due to inclement weather conditions.

Landscaping:
Ina road landscaping west of Thornydale is nearing completion. Landscaping crews will begin work east of Thornydale beginning the week of March 11 and is anticipated to last until the end of March. Final rock mulch will be added west of Thornydale on March 19 and east of Thornydale at the beginning of April.

Mill and pave:
Milling work will begin on Town of Marana roads north of Ina Road on March 18 through March 21. Milling on Aerie Road will start March 25 and is expected to last for two days.

Paving will begin on Aerie Road on March 28 then proceed to all Town of Marana roads north of Ina Road beginning on April 11.

Ina Road mainline final pave will begin on April 18 and is anticipated to last through April 23. Expect heavy traffic delays during Ina road paving. Expect two weeks of localized lane restrictions for lane striping and utility adjustments after the completion of the final pave.

Street lights:
Streetlight pole installation will begin the week of May 20 and is expected to last for three weeks. The installation of the poles will involve limited lane closures in isolated areas. Traffic impacts are expected to be minimal.

Traffic signals:
Installation of hardware to ensure proper functioning of the traffic signals will begin at the Ina – Thornydale, Meredith and Oldfather intersections on March 25th through April 4. Expect daytime lane closures and shifts during work hours only.

Celebration:
Join the Town of Marana on May 4 at the Lowe’s Home Improvement Parking Lot for the kick-off ceremony for Ina Road Celebration Weekend. The event will feature a cake cutting ceremony and business festival.

USMC Nighthawk-72 Memorial Improvements

A Marine color guard participates in the ceremony to honor those who perished in the April 8, 2000 crash of a MV-22 Osprey Tilt rotor aircraft at the Marana Regional Airport.

A Marine color guard participates in the ceremony to honor those who perished in the April 8, 2000 crash of a MV-22 Osprey Tilt rotor aircraft at the Marana Regional Airport.

Friends of Nighthawk-72 along with the Town of Marana and the Marana Regional Airport are making improvements to the existing roadside memorial that is located at the intersection of Avra Valley and Sandario Roads. The memorial honors those who perished in the April 8, 2000 crash of a MV-22 Osprey Tilt rotor aircraft at the Marana Regional Airport.

The improvements are scheduled to take place in two phases beginning March 16, 2019. The project is expected to be completed by April 2020.

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Phase One: The existing memorial, flagpole and benches will be relocated slightly northeast of their current location. The new location is in-line with the actual crash site of the MV-22 Osprey Tilt rotor aircraft.

Phase Two: A sidewalk and pentagon area will be added that will have bronze markers of the 4 USMC units that were involved in the accident.

Skilled and unskilled volunteers are needed on March 16 to assist in the relocation of the memorial, and there will be more volunteer opportunities in the future.

Fundraising is being handled by Friends of Nighthawk-72, a non-profit organization working closely with
Nighthawk-72 Marana Detachment #1344 Marine Corps League, Town of Marana, and Marana Regional Airport.

The 19th Annual Memorial Service will be held April 6, 2019 at 10 am.

Once the existing memorial is moved and improvements are made, the goal is to transform the existing memorial into an official National Memorial and park.

For additional information or to volunteer contact: Terry Byron (520) 982-0023, FriendsOfNighthawk72@hotmail.com and www.FriendsOfNighthawk-72.org

Additional Background Information
The MV-22 Osprey Tilt rotor aircraft was conducting a training mission in support of Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) when it went down at the Marana Regional Airport in Marana, Arizona on April 8, 2000. During the mission, the crew and Marines conducted Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) exercises as part of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course, with Marines embarking and disembarking the aircraft. The mission was conducted at night utilizing night vision goggles and forward-looking infrared radar to enhance night operational capability. This mishap aircraft was part of the Multiservice Operational Test Team, based at Patuxent River, Maryland, but was temporarily attached to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-1 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona.

The 19 Marines Lost are as follows:


3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division

Sgt. Jose Alvarez, 28                              Pfc. Gabriel C. Clevenger, 21                              Pfc. Alfred Corona, 23

Lance Cpl. Jason T. Duke, 28.                Lance Cpl. Jesus Gonzalez Sanchez, 27            Lance Cpl. Seth G. Jones, 18
2nd Lt. Clayton J. Kennedy, 24             Lance Cpl. Jorge A. Morin, 21                             Cpl. Adam C. Neely, 22     
Pfc. Kenneth O. Paddio, 23     Pfc. George P. Santos, 24                             Lance Cpl. Keoki P. Santos, 24
Cpl. Can Soler, 21                                   Pvt. Adam L. Tatro, 19

Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38, Marine Air Control Group 38

Cpl. Eric J. Martinez, 21

Marine Helicopter Squadron 1
Maj. John A. Brow, 39                             Maj. Brooks S. Gruber, 34                                   Cpl. Kelly S. Keith, 22

Marine Tilt-Rotor Training Squadron 204
Staff Sgt. William B. Nelson, 30

Things to do in Marana for March and beyond

Marana In The Media: Building An Oasis

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Municipal Sewer and Water Magazine recently profiled the Town of Marana in their March 2019 edition: 

Few communities in America are more conscious of their water supply than Marana, Arizona.
 
Located a few miles northwest of Tucson along Interstate 10, Marana relies on Colorado River water through the Central Arizona Project(CAP), groundwater and reclaimed wastewater to deliver a reliable supply of high-quality water to its 8,000 customers.
 
The utility aggressively promotes conservation and recently received an award for participation in a forward-looking multicommunity project that will help reduce groundwater overdrafting across the region.
 
At the same time, it plans to build brand-new water treatment facilities to remove unregulated compounds from groundwater wells in two of its water systems.
 
“Water is critical here,” says John Kmiec, water director. “Our growth depends on it.”



Read The Full Story

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.

Modern I-10/Ina Road interchange nearing completion in Marana

Technology just one way ADOT project is improving mobility

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When the new interchange at Ina Road and Interstate 10 in Marana opens in the coming weeks, it will include state-of-the-art technology helping Arizona Department of Transportation engineers adjust signals to keep traffic flowing.

Work on the $128 million project, which began two years ago, includes significant improvements to the interchange and to Ina Road in a growing area northwest of Tucson. The new interchange is expected to open in early spring, while work on improvements to Ina Road and new bridges over the Santa Cruz River will continue for several months.

Traffic signals where the new I-10 ramps intersect with Ina Road will include cameras that collect data on traffic moving past. That data will help traffic engineers decide whether to alter the length of green lights to move traffic more efficiently. Marana also is adding cameras for the same purpose along Ina Road at Starcommerce Way and Camino de la Cruz.

The cameras give a 360-degree view of the intersections and replace sensors placed in cuts made in the pavement. Already is use at a number of Pima County intersections, the cameras are used only for traffic management and not for law enforcement.

The cameras are just one of the changes that will help traffic flow more smoothly through the Marana intersections.

Crews have added a lane in each direction on I-10 and on Ina Road west of the freeway. That will allow both to carry more traffic with fewer delays for drivers.

Before work began, Ina Road was at ground level and crossed railroad tracks before traveling below I-10. The new configuration includes bridges carrying Ina Road over the railroad tracks and I-10, eliminating delays when trains move through the area.

A single two-lane bridge over the Santa Cruz River has been replaced with two bridges, each carrying two lanes of traffic. The eastbound bridge opened in December 2017 and carries one lane in each direction. The westbound bridge will open this spring.

The Town of Marana is making improvements to Ina Road just east of I-10 to benefit businesses and drivers in the area.

The Ina Road improvements are just the latest in a number of interchange improvements being made along I-10 in the Tucson area. Interchanges at Prince Road and Twin Peaks have been improved in recent years. A similar project at Ruthrauff Road is expected to begin by this summer.

Download the free ADOT Alerts app to your iOS or Android mobile device and know before you go!

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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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.

Police pull-in pooch pilferer

A local dog owner and his four-legged friend were reunited earlier this week by the Marana Police Department (MPD). The officers noticed the missing dog while working to solve a different case.

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Marana police officers were looking for a “porch pirate”, a person who had been caught on a porch camera stealing packages from Marana-area homes. MPD released images of the man and his vehicle to the media and were quickly inundated with information about the suspect from both citizens and other law enforcement agencies.

“We had multiple tips,” said Detective James Jolly. 

Officers had gone to the suspect’s address and sat surveillance until they saw the suspect and another person leave in a vehicle matching the one used in the thefts. The vehicle fled the scene. The police officers chose not to give chase, and instead interviewed the home owner. 

During the interview, they noticed a white bulldog running freely around the house, and when officers tried to return to their vehicle the dog attempted to go with them. When they asked the homeowner about the dog, she informed them that it “just got here yesterday.”

Officer Kevin Trapp remembered that a white bulldog had been reported stolen from a Marana-area backyard the day before, and he reviewed the case report to make sure that the dog they were seeing matched the missing dog. He and Detective Jose De Torre were able to photograph the dog and confirm with the owner that it was indeed the missing dog.

The officers reunited the dog with his owner in a happy reunion.

“He was very happy,” Jolly said. “He said the dog was like his son.”

The dog was also very happy to be back with his family, though we are sure he enjoyed his ride with the Marana police officers as well.

The suspect in the thefts was apprehended on Wednesday night by the Tucson Police Department’s Team 1 Bravo Unit in their jurisdiction.

Detective James Jolly, Detective De La Torre, and Officer Trapp were responsible for identifying and catching the thief, reuniting the lost dog with his family, and doing so without anyone being hurt.

Marana Police Department encourages residents to have someone at home when they are expecting packages, and if that is not possible to try and use post office boxes whenever possible. Doorbell and porch security cameras can be a great way to identify “porch pirates.”

Reporting all crimes, no matter how small, can be a great way to discover a pattern of criminal behavior. MPD would also like to remind people to lock their homes and to remove all valuable and lock their vehicles. Getting to know your neighbors and helping to look after them and their property is also a great way to keep a neighborhood safe.

Things to do in Marana for February and beyond

Marana In The Media: Travel Guide highlights Marana Gastronomy Tours

Fodor's Travel Guide, one of the leading authorities on travel, had an article on their website regarding Tucson being designated a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. The story devoted several paragraphs to Marana and the Marana Gastronomy Tours.

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Located just northwest of Tucson, the river valley town of Marana is a modern-day haven for local farmers and producers, but what makes it especially unique is that it is home to easily accessible archaeological sites linked to the first evidence of modern agriculture in the United States. On a Marana Gastronomy Tour, participants get an immersive, full-circle experience that rolls the Tucson area’s food history and the current innovations of the local dining scene into one afternoon. Seasoned experts with personal connections to the region lead these outings.

our participants can pick from one of two tours, depending on their tastes. The traditional, slightly highbrow, Marana Gastronomy Tour, visits two archeological sites, including the recently discovered Las Capas, which is oldest known agricultural irrigation system in the U.S. The tour concludes with a small plate and cocktail tasting at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, which is known for creating innovative dishes featuring heirloom and wild ingredients such as the ancient tepary bean, cholla cactus buds and barrel cactus seeds.

The other, more salt-of-the-earth tour option, titled “A Taste of The Wild: The Marana Wild Foods Gastronomy Tour,” also visits Las Capas, but then delves into the more than 450 edible wild foods that grow in the Sonoran Desert. After participants get a chance to do a little foraging of their own, the tour concludes with a tasting at Marana’s Catalina Brewing Company, where folks can sample beers made using local ingredients, including the brewery’s flagship Mesquite Agave Ale. Food for this tour’s tasting menu is brought in from the local Bean Tree Farm, which specializes in wild-crafted foods featuring ingredients sourced from the Sonoran Desert. Local Fiore di Capra goat cheese and heirloom grain loaves from Tucson’s Barrio Bread bakery round out this wild feast.

Read the full story HERE.

MARANA GASTRONOMY TOUR RESERVATIONS

For tour information visit www.TownOfGastronomy.org .

For tour reservations visit www.GrayLineArizona.com .

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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Marana In The Media: Marana film initiative expands with Modern Studios opening

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The Marana News published a story on the opening of Modern Studios and how that fits into the goals of the Marana Film office.

The Marana Film Office started in 2017 to provide information and location scouting to film producers, and of course to market Marana as a filming location. This local film initiative formed in response to Arizona’s Office of Film and Digital Media, launched in an effort to bring filming back to Arizona. Levin and Davey say Modern Studios is the next step in bringing that Marana film initiative to fruition. 

“A lot of local talent is interested in having this as their home base, instead of having to fly out to LA for production,” Levin said. “Content is king right now, and therefore so is having a place that can create it and produce it.” 

While Marana is receiving a fair bit of attention of-late, town manager Jamsheed Mehta said the region has played a major role in the film industry for years due to its ideal locales and open spaces. 

“We’re trying to capture as much attention as we can,” Mehta said. “In terms of what the film industry does for the community—it puts us on the map.”

Red the full story at the Marana News.

Manager's Message: Help us prepare for Marana’s future

This originally appeared as a Manager’s Message in the Marana News/Explorer News.

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Happy new year! While it may seem like 2019 has only just begun, the Town of Marana is busy preparing for year 2020 and beyond. This means taking a closer look at all our town services and programs, identifying new areas for strategic growth, and continuing to prepare our community for 20 years into the future.  

This January we completed our third planning workshop for the Make Marana 2040 General Plan Update. Through this public process community members were invited to take part in strategizing sessions that will help to set the vision for the next several decades. Those who were unable to attend the workshops shouldn’t worry; the survey is now open for the general public on our website at MakeMarana2040.com. How can Marana preserve and enhance its existing qualities while reaching its fullest potential as a community? That’s one of many questions to be explored as part of the process of updating Marana’s General Plan.

This year, Marana’s population reached 47,000 people. The town is experiencing an economic resurgence, and projects previously explored prior to the recession are slowly being revived. To anticipate this continued growth, Marana has to evaluate our most fundamental services, including water delivery, sewer collection, transportation systems, and parks and recreation amenities.

This is the year for strategic planning. Town Council has already approved the Downtown Overlay District, and this year they will review the Land Development Code, the Sewer Conveyance Plan, the North Marana Drainage Study, the Potable Water Plan, the General Plan Update and the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Collectively, these documents will help pave the way for how the Town prepares for the future, and will reflect the community’s essential needs.

Those interested in participating in this civic process are encouraged to do so by following the Town of Marana on Facebook and Twitter to learn of upcoming events and meetings. You can also subscribe to the Marana Newsroom and other various Town alerts by visiting www.MaranaAZ.gov/notify.

This will be a very busy year, but once these plans are established, the Town of Marana will be prepared even more growth as we look to a promising future.

Jamsheed Mehta is the Marana Town Manager