PRESS RELEASE: Free Marana Parks and Recreation app now available in Apple and Google Play stores.

MARANA – Marana residents can now carry Marana Parks and Recreation services around with them in the palm of their hand. The Town of Marana has released the Marana Parks and Recreation Mobile App for both Android and iOS mobile devices.

Developed for both Marana recreation regulars and those new to the Town, 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.

The Parks and Recreation Mobile app is designed as a one-stop shop for Marana Parks and Recreation information.

“Our goal with this app is to improve the service experience of Marana residents, customers, and visitors,” said Marana Parks and Recreation Director Jim Conroy. “It encompasses so many different services in one easy-to-use interface. This provides our Marana community with a truly unique experience of their parks.”

The Parks and Recreation app is the latest mobile app produced in-house by the Town of Marana, following the My Marana, Marana Events, Marana Pets, and Project Ina apps.

The Parks and Recreation app is currently available in the App Store and Google Play Store. 

Isaac Abbs appointed Technology Services Director for Town of Marana

Isaac Abbs.jpg

Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta has appointed Isaac Abbs as Technology Services Director effective Monday, January 14.

Isaac Abbs previously served as the Director of IT Enterprise Systems for Pima Community College (PCC), where he provided leadership and oversight for the College’s administrative and academic information systems.  He and his team were instrumental in looking for new ways to enhance business processes by properly aligning business needs with technology solutions. 

Prior to working at PCC, Isaac served in various roles with the City of Tucson for seven and a half years.  His last position was as the City Court’s first IT Manager.

“We are very fortunate to have Isaac on board here at the Town,” said Deputy Town Manager Erik Montague. “Isaac brings a diverse technology skill set from a multi-campus college setting.  Those experiences will be very helpful as we continue advancing the use of technology to enhance the value of Town services.”

Marana named top digital city


The Center for Digital Government (CDG) announced the winners of the 2017 Digital Cities Survey and Marana was named one of the top-10 Digital Cities in the United States with a population of 75,000 or less. Now in its 17th year, the annual survey recognizes cities using technology to improve citizen services, enhance transparency and encourage citizen engagement.

“This year’s leading digital cities are leveraging technology to connect disadvantaged citizens with critical information and services, promote citizen inclusion in important government processes and share government data with the public,” said Teri Takai, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “Thanks to the efforts of these innovative cities, citizens can now meaningfully interact with city government more easily than in any other time in history. Congratulations to the winners!”

The Town of Marana is committed to remaining at the forefront of technology and trying to be innovative in all forms of public outreach.

“We are constantly looking at ways to improve our residents’ experience when it comes to dealing with the Town,” said Technology Services Director Carl Drescher. “We want that experience to be first rate whether they are visiting our website, utilizing our apps, or interacting with us on social media.”

Embracing technology is another way Marana shows our commitment to top-notch customer service.

“The Town of Marana is dedicated to being a community that is attractive to residents and businesses alike, with customer service that is comparable to the private sector,” said Communications Director Vickie Hathaway. “A professional and strategic digital and technological approach is needed to match the demands, perceptions, and pace of the Town’s target audience.”

Marana was one of six Arizona cities across five categories recognized by the Digital Cities Survey, and one of just two from Southern Arizona. Marana was the only Arizona city of its size to be recognized.

Town of Marana introduces Marana Pets App

Town of Marana unveiled the Marana Pets app at a press conference Tuesday, October 10. Members of the media and Town staff learned more about Marana Animal Services and what the new app can do to for the Marana community. 


The Town of Marana established the Marana Animal Services Division in July to bring increased customer service to the Marana pet owners. The creation of the Marana Pets App is the latest way the Town is serving both our two-legged and four-legged residents.

"The Marana Pets is not the first original app created by Town of Marana staff," said Vickie Hathaway, Town of Marana Communications Director. "Our Technology Services department has also worked with our special events team to create the Marana Events app, and with Engineering and Development Services to created the Project Ina app. Both of those apps provide innovative ways for our residents to engage with our staff, and the new Marana Pets app is no different. But it does provide one additional opportunity, and that is to leverage the power of our community to reunite pets with their families."

"The primary objective of the app is to reunite Marana's pets with their owners should they wind up lost," said Marana Technology Manager Brian Stein, who headed up the team that designed the app. "The app is designed to harness the powers of community, to allow citizens to engage with one another to help with the reunification process."


The app is designed to reunite pet owners with their lost pets and will allow people who lose or find animals to post pictures and information, facilitating a quick reunification. Marana Animal Services Animal Control Officers will also be using the app to share any found animals. The app along with the Town's website and social media, are all tools to help lost pets in the Town limits find their way back home. 

"Social Media has been a great avenue for us," said the Town of Marana's Community Development and Neighborhood Services Director Lisa Shafer. "So this is that one next step that we are going to take."

Shafer noted that in the first three months of Marana's Animal Services division in operation, nearly 40 percent of strays picked up by the Town's animal control officers have been reunified with their families immediately, without having to be taken to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, the Town's partner for sheltering.

Social media and microchips have both been effective ways for the the unification process and the Town offers free microchip clinics.

"With the microchip clinics, as well as this app we are going to see this high rate of return with our animals just skyrocket," Shafer said.

Project Ina app featured in RTA video

The Regional Transportation Authority has featured Marana's Project Ina App as an innovative way to help businesses during construction. Give us a view!

Marana developed the Project Ina app in the months before major construction descended on Ina Road. During this project, the Ina Road exits from I-10 will be closed, meaning potential customers must exit at either Sunset or Cortaro and take surface roads to access this commercial district.

When the project is complete, a new overpass will carry traffic over the highway and the railroad tracks, tremendously improving the flow of traffic in this area. Before then, though, the Town is working hard to support the businesses along the Ina Corridor. The Project Ina App is just one part of that larger effort.

“Project Ina” app supports businesses and residents during construction

Click on images to enlarge.

MARANA, AZ – The Town of Marana's new “Project Ina” app is now available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. Keep up with all the latest traffic alerts and deals from local businesses using this helpful, free service.

Over the next two years, the Arizona Department of Transportation will be constructing a bridge over I-10 and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks at Ina Road.  When completed, this project will ease the flow of traffic at this intersection and improve the safety at this location for all users of Marana's roads and I-10.

During construction, Marana seeks to provide the most accurate, up-to-date information about planned construction so that you can know what to expect. In addition to releasing information on the Town of Marana website at, those who download the “Project Ina” app can find the following:

  • Newsroll with press releases, manager messages, and more related to the project
  • Directory of impacted businesses along Ina Road from Silverbell Road to Thornydale Road
  • Social media feed for #ProjectIna where viewers can learn about project updates and business sales
  • Project map showing construction progress  
  • Push notifications of project updates

The “Project Ina” app is one of multiple strategies the Town of Marana is implementing to help inform and support the Marana community during this high-impact construction project. Additional strategies include relaxing the sign code for impacted businesses and installing wayfinding signage in the area to emphasize that businesses are still open on Ina Road. 


Manager Message: Ina Road is Open for Business

Message from Town Manager Gilbert Davidson

Message from Town Manager Gilbert Davidson

As construction along I-10 at Ina Road progresses, the Town of Marana is excited to partner with businesses in this district to keep our local economy thriving. In mid-February, the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Ina Road Corridor project will enter its second phase. During this phase, the on- and off-ramps of I-10 at Ina Road will close, and traffic on Ina Road will be unable to cross from one side of I-10 to the other. In order to support commerce in this area, Marana is offering businesses several ways to increase their exposure.

Most visibly, drivers along Ina will soon notice new signs emphasizing the wide variety of businesses located along this stretch. If you’re visiting your favorite donut shop, for example, you might learn from these signs that there is also a brewery nearby, as well as a bowling alley, a number of mechanics, restaurants, retail shops, and much more. Commerce along Ina Road represents a range of sectors, and we hope that these signs will help keep customers coming back, despite all the orange cones.

To help businesses on Ina increase their own exposure, the Marana Town Council has also modified the Sign Code. Now, businesses in construction zones anywhere in the Town can set up temporary signs to attract customers. This provision enables businesses that may be obscured by machinery to maintain a visible presence.

In our efforts to support Ina businesses, Marana has also undertaken a more innovative approach that leverages technology. Our Tech Services team has designed Project Ina, which soon you will find in the App Store and Google Play. This tool will allow businesses to post promotions and messages in a central location where frequenters of this area can easily find and take advantage of any deals. By creating a central source for this kind of information, we are hoping to mitigate the inconvenience of construction.

Finally, the Town of Marana has partnered with the Marana Chamber of Commerce to facilitate an open dialogue among business owners, Town officials, and the ADOT construction team. In early February, staff from both the Chamber and the Town will team up for a business walk along Ina Road. During our visits with these business owners, we will not only provide them with literature on business support opportunities, but also hear from them what we as a community can do to help them even more.

Major construction projects are always a challenge for everyone, from businesses to the shoppers who want to support them. However, once this major infrastructure improvement is complete, drivers will enjoy a safer Ina Road interchange and better access to the businesses that now are more difficult to reach. When the project concludes, Marana will repave the entire stretch of Ina Road from Thornydale to Silverbell. And best of all, because Ina will now pass over the train tracks and I-10, you’ll never get stuck at the railroad crossing again! By making the effort to support local businesses during this project, we can all help them make it through construction, so that they’re still there for us to enjoy when the work is done. 

This Manager Message was originally published in the the January 25 edition of the Marana News.

Marana Water News: Partnership - Water and Technology Services

All the town departments work together meeting service needs for the community. We have mentioned how Marana Water works with Parks and Rec and Development Services. This week we highlight our partnership with the Technology Services department.

One of the internal services for the town, the Tech Services team consists of men and women who are working to keep the entire Town’s technology running smoothly. This can take the shape of our phone system, police computer and recording equipment, and all the programs and software used by the water department. The department is divided into two divisions; hardware/equipment and applications. We work closely with both divisions to reach our customer service goals.

At the water department we have a few systems that are vital to operations; our SCADA system, billing software, and our GIS system. Tech Services helps to ensure they are all running smoothly and efficiently. While the water department develops the needs, plans and configuration of these programs, the TS team will help make sure there is enough storage space and that the program is compatible with other operating systems among other requirements for a successful implementation. Our billing system retains all the customer account data, payment history, meter reading history and maintenance records for each account. When we were setting up our online bill-payment system, we worked closely with TS on the importing/exporting and security of this data. Additionally, we have an Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) system. This software collects the radio signals set out from our meters during the monthly meter reading. Our staff here in the office, takes the data and run through several processes to calculate a customer’s bill. The program that collects this data also identifies GPS coordinates for our water meters, which is very helpful when helping customers find leaks or other water related inquiries at their home. 

SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. This is the program that gathers real time data from our water and wastewater system monitoring for any unanticipated changes. For example, a pump might be set to turn on when the water level in a reservoir gets to a certain point. If, for some reason, the pump does not turn on, or turns on too soon, there is an alert through the SCADA software. The hardware required is included in each one of our new construction projects. By keeping the SCADA system running properly, we can avoid any serious outages, lost water, or expensive operations. The image to the right shows an example of the program interface. Our staff review the settings and are able to adjust the equipment where appropriate.

Our Geographic Information System (GIS) is one of the strongest tools the Town has. The data housed in this program can generate water demand projections that use existing water meter locations, highlight future planning and zoning data, and track new construction projects. While we are continually updating the system, and working to make it better each day, these types of data projects are in the near future. The operations team looks for GIS data when marking water lines for Arizona 811, and the engineering team uses it to make determinations on where to establish new water connections.

Technology is a part of all of our lives, and the water department is no different. Working together with the Technology Services team, we can generate efficiencies in our business and operations processes while striving to continually provide reliable water service.

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Town of Marana Honored as Top Ten Digital City for Second Straight Year

The Center for Digital Government has announced the winners of the 2016 Digital Cities Survey, and for the second consecutive year, Marana made the list. Now in its 15th anniversary year, the annual survey recognizes cities using technology to improve citizen services, enhance transparency, and encourage citizen engagement. Marana is committed to ensuring an online presence that helps residents access the information and services that they expect from their government.

“This year’s top digital cities are using technology to ensure citizens can meaningfully interact with city government more easily than in any other time in history,” said Todd Sander, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “From open data portals to enhanced connectivity and mobile platforms, this year’s top-ranked cities are actively promoting transparency, encouraging citizen participation, and making it easier for people to do business with government. Congratulations to the winners!”

Marana’s digital efforts are wide-ranging, and include an active web presence, numerous social media outlets, and a variety of tools that allow the Town to provide residents with accurate, up-to-the-minute information. For example, in the past year, Marana debuted the Financial Transparency Dashboard, a portal that allows users to track how the Town is allocating taxpayer dollars. Though this information is already made public through the Town budget, by presenting it through this lens, Marana is working to make it more readily understandable to a general audience.

“Our Technology Services and Communications staff work closely to implement creative ideas that connect residents with the information they need. Whether they’re looking to pay a water bill or find out about our upcoming events, we want to make sure their online interaction with us is as straightforward as possible,” says Technology Services Director Carl Drescher.

Over the next several months, Marana will continue to increase its digital presence. The Town recently unveiled the Marana Events app, available in the App Store and on Google Play, which allows residents to learn all about upcoming signature events, like the Holiday Festival and Christmas Tree Lighting on Saturday, December 3. Soon, the Tech Services team will also release another app, aimed at supporting the businesses along the Ina Corridor as the Arizona Department of Transportation constructs the new overpass. This new app will connect consumers with the many shopping opportunities that will remain open during construction.

Innovation is a key pillar of Marana’s Strategic Plan, and this honor as a Top Ten Digital City recognizes Marana’s efforts to achieve that vision.  

Summer Schooling 2016, Part 3: The Marana Family

The day to day happenings of life can sometimes be a little overwhelming.  Has anybody else felt like an extra set of hands, for even just an hour or two, would allow you to get that one last chore done, or give you that moment needed to run that last errand on your list? In my household, I sometimes wish for something like that, and I know my wife does too.  Between finishing up grad school, maintaining a full time job and raising a family, I have had to prioritize certain items over others just to accomplish tasks that are due.  Usually my wife will shoulder the burden of those items that just keep getting rolled over and if she can’t someone else in the family will help out until we get it all done.  The support structure that surrounds me is fantastic and they have and always will help out until the job is done. 

The past couple of weeks I have been rotating through the departments of the Town that remind me of my support structure.  I have been with the Town Clerk’s office, as well as the Legal, Human Resources, Technology Services and Finance departments.  The people that work here are the helping hands, the family that allows the Town to operate at the highest of levels and accomplish all the goals the Town has set. 

The Clerk’s office is a fantastic group that is responsible for maintaining the history of the Town.  Did you know the Town is required, by law, to keep important documents for hundreds of years and in some cases forever?  They ensure all of our millions of documents and plans are properly stored, catalogued and available with just a moment’s notice.   It is a monumental task that is performed flawlessly.

Tech services have been broken into two divisions.  One side is responsible for maintaining hundreds of computers, miles and miles of cable, multiple server rooms, the radio system for our police department, and more.  This is all accomplished by a team of 5 people working out of the main municipal complex but facilitating half a dozen different locations.  The rest of tech services ensure all of our programs are running bug free, new programs are evaluated and modified to our needs, and new apps are created.  I am sure I am missing something in there, but this group talks in a talk I struggle to keep up with.

Finance is responsible for our $47 million budget; they manage all of our assets, cover pay roll and benefits for three hundred plus employees, issue business licenses, and more. 

Legal has two sides to its department as well.  One side prosecutes crimes and the other makes sure the business of the Town is on the up and up. 

HR recruits only the best and the brightest to work for the Town. 

These departments are so important to the day to day operations of the Town.  I have spent a day with each of them and only just scratched the surface of what they do and their capabilities.  Each department has about ten people, and in many cases less than that, and they ensure we do not have to prioritize tasks.  They are the support structure, the vital components of the Town.  They are the family that is always there making sure we are successful.  

Marana 2.0 students share ideas with Town Council

On Tuesday night, Marana Town Councilmembers learned about a range of issues across this community from a unique perspective. These speakers were neither developers, nor Town staff, nor consultants.  They were students from Marana High School, and for the past eight months, they have each worked in departments within the Town, as well as at a few local nonprofits.  Now at the end of their internships, these students were ready to report their findings to the Town Council.


The students presenting on Tuesday night have just concluded the first year of Marana 2.0.  This program offers seniors at Marana High School the chance to learn about local government not by reading a textbook, but through practical, lived experiences. Departments from across the Town, from Police to Special Events to Technology Services, have mentored these students and in turn benefited from their unique contributions.  With the school year drawing to a close, the Marana Town Council was eager to find out what the students learned and accomplished.

As Raymond Schnell advanced his Powerpoint, the Town Council saw a concrete example of what he had accomplished.  As an intern with the Town’s tech services team, Raymond began his experience with an interest in app development.  It was clear from his final project that this interest paid off.  He had created from scratch a quiz app, designed to test how well his peers understood local government.  Simply developing the quiz was not enough, though.  He also pushed his project into a test market, analyzing the results of his classmates.  Raymond explained that tools like this one can help Marana evaluate how well it’s communicating with residents, and how the Town can improve its outreach.

After the presentations, each Councilmember took a few moments to congratulate the students on all they had achieved.  “What I got from listening to you,” extolled Councilmember Dave Bowen, “is how much ability you have, how ready you are to take on the challenges that you will face. It’s been great hearing from you.”

Councilmember Carol McGorray echoed Councilmember Bowen’s remarks.  “I spoke to each of you before the meeting, and I’m so impressed because you’re all part of this same program, and yet you bring such a different viewpoint from your particular experiences to us here on the Council tonight, and I really appreciate that.”

The Town of Marana is pleased that the first year of this program was so successful.  “We had nine students present tonight, and these kids worked hard all year to get to this point,” says Town Clerk Jocelyn Bronson, who spearheaded the program.  “We’re looking forward to watching this program grow and get better every year.”

As this school year winds down, the Town of Marana is already brainstorming ways to improve the program for next year.  During the presentations, one student suggested expanding this opportunity to juniors, instead of just seniors.  While these plans are strictly preliminary at the moment, there is little doubt that this program will grow and flourish in the years to come.  To keep up with that progress, be sure to check back with the Marana Newsroom.


Marana a Top-10 Digital City


For the fourth year in a row, Marana ranks as a top 10 digital city as designated by the Center for Digital Government.

The Center for Digital Government announced the winners of the 2015 Digital Cities Survey today, recognizing leading examples of cities using technology to improve services and boost efficiencies. Marana is ranked 5th for populations up to 75,000.

“The top-ranked digital city governments in this year’s survey are using cloud services, data analytics and mobile apps—among other technologies—to help citizens interact with government more easily than ever before,” said Todd Sander, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “These cities are true innovators and we applaud their efforts to increase transparency and open government, encourage citizen participation, and enhance cybersecurity. Congratulations to the winners!”

The Center for Digital Government highlighted the following Town of Marana technology initiatives:

  • Town Website redesign.  On July 1, 2015 the Town launched a new web site. The site was designed with a single page concept so that visitors to the site can quickly find what they are looking for with just one click from the home page. The design team also went with a more open design that integrated commonly used plugin apps and apps coded by the Town staff. Feedback from residents and businesses has been very positive. It is a simple design that provides easy access to the information that Town site visitors require.
  • In 2012 the Town introduced its Mobile app “My Marana”. Until recently the app has been a 311 application for reporting issues within the community. Town staff worked to provide additional information to its users via the app. These include Town social link feeds, GIS maps, employment opportunities, news and event information, and the ability to pay utility bills through the app.
  • The Town's app creation capabilities were put to good use in the fast-tracked construction of a new outlet mall, which paired Technology Services and Building Services staff to speed contractor site inspections. The team developed an app with features like a one-click inspection request and a quick permit lookup that proved helpful in keeping the project on track.

Now in its 15th year, the Digital Cities Survey is part of the Center for Digital Government’s Digital Communities program, which focuses on collaboration among cities, counties and regions. The survey focuses on citizen engagement, policy, operations, and technology and data. Responses are reviewed and judged based on a set of criteria and how well the cities implemented these services across the city.

The survey honors cities in four population classifications: 250,000 or more; 125,000 to 249,999, 75,000 to 124,999 and fewer than 75,000.