New year, new opportunities

Tucson Premium Outlets Rendering

Every year is exciting in the Town of Marana. Our community is one of great dreams and unlimited potential for the more than 40,000 who call it home.

As local government, we need to ensure that we act in ways that give our residents and business owners the best chance at success. We need to provide unparalleled service and work with partners who have Marana’s best interests at heart.

With that in mind, here’s a sample of priorities that lie ahead this year.

Completion of the premium outlet mall: At 46 acres and more than 90 retailers, this is the most significant project our community has seen in ages. Simon Property Group is a successful developer with malls and outlets in 37 states, Austria, Canada, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Korea and the United Kingdom. When the mall opens this fall, we expect to see an influx of shoppers from around the region and Mexico, bringing jobs and more revenue into our community.

Rollout of Strategic Plan III: In mid-2008, Marana’s Town Council and management identified the need to complete a community-wide, comprehensive strategic planning effort. The first Strategic Plan addressed goals and objectives for the community’s future and listed initiatives and strategies that acted as guiding policies for decision-making. An updated version that refines our resident and business owner needs and priorities is going into effect this year and our staff is excited about serving the community with Strategic Plan III as its guide.

Development at the Heritage River Park: Over the past year, our Heritage River Park has seen significant improvements, including a windmill donated by the Marana Heritage Conservancy, improved lighting features, a community garden and performance area. Our first Harvest Festival, which is changing to Cotton Festival this year, drew more than 3,000 people to the park in late October. We are excited about adding a 4,500 square foot splash pad to the park this year, an amenity that will benefit Marana families and become a destination for people from across the area.

Improved web site functions: We recently added an improved search function and frequently asked questions to marana.com to help users more easily find the information they need. Our web site is the portal that connects residents, business owners and visitors to their local government, so it must be easily navigable and accessible to our audiences both on desktop and mobile platforms.

Updated economic roadmap: The first version of this document was completed in 2009 to complement the Strategic Plan. The roadmap identifies nine activity centers in Marana and the target industries that should be located within each one. With the economy recovering and developers becoming more interested in resuming stalled plans, we must update the roadmap so that it reflects the many opportunities and potential that exist here.

Focus on community and signature events: More than 13,000 people combined to attend our Star Spangled Spectacular, Cotton Festival and Christmas Tree Lighting in 2014. We plan to build on that success by offering more amenities during those events as well as our movies and concerts in the park. Our events need to be experiences for attendees and, with the assistance of a cross-section of Town departments, we will deliver.

Drawing more tourism: People from across the world flock to Southern Arizona because of our many unique attractions. We believe those visitors should spend time in Marana. With that in mind, we will soon hire a tourism manager to work with local hotels, motels and attractions to help get the word out about our great community. That person also will partner with regional partners to ensure that Marana’s story is told to a large audience. It’s important to get out share of the multi-billion dollar tourism industry in the state.

Expanded housing opportunities: The Town issued nearly 600 single family residence permits last year after leading the region with 701 in 2013. With new projects gearing up in every part of town, including our first Del Webb age-restricted community, we are excited about the prospects for the future.

Opening of the veterans cemetery: The men and women who bravely served our country deserve this facility, which was fully supported by our Town Council and staff. When it opens later this year, it will fill a need that has existed for many years. Previously, the closest veterans cemeteries were in the Phoenix area and Sierra Vista. Local veterans can now be buried closer to home, allowing their families opportunities to celebrate their lives and accomplishments in a much more personal way.

Our goals for 2015 were created with the community’s best interests in mind. Local government positively impacts residents and business owners in countless ways during everyday life. We pledge to continue providing quality services and make Marana the best possible place in which to live and do business.

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