By Dave Waldron
Apache Junction is on a sure path for growth and, for some, that means outward growth—acquiring land beyond the current city boundaries and enticing development there. Just as important, and perhaps even more important, is the inward growth of the city.
We don’t need to move or add a mountain to improve Apache Junction in a big way.
This is the idea behind the city’s Strong Sustainable Community Initiative program. Over the past few years, we have been working on the city council to encourage residents to take an active role in their neighborhoods.
14 different projects have been researched and selected to enhance the quality and features of each neighborhood in the community, and I have relied on and edited what the city has posted on its website to summarize them. Visit the address listed below to read more details.
The citizens who live in Apache Junction or visit our city understand the importance of the natural beauty surrounding us and recognize that it is our responsibility to protect it. But that isn’t all we need to do to make Apache Junction a great place to live and work.
Making little changes to everyday tasks, communicating better among neighbors and establishing a sense of pride within your neighborhood will make AJ a more self-reliant and sustainable city for current and future generations to enjoy.
The following projects are broken down into three levels of community engagement and have been recognized in other cities as successful steps in developing a sustainable city with the neighborhood and people in mind.
Level One focuses on individual participation to enhance your neighborhood with changes in everyday actions. These projects are simple to complete and will bring your neighborhood together: paint your mailbox; have a “grand-buddy” or friend who belongs to another generation; maintain your property; talk with your neighbors.
Level Two encourages participation with two or more members of the neighborhood. These projects make a difference, not only within your home, but also around the neighborhood and are more advanced and may take more than a couple days to complete: adopt a street/median, make a little free library, make a seat, plant a tree, add desert landscaping.
Level Three projects are focused on neighborhood wide efforts that require the most involvement from neighborhood members. The ideas create community events that bring forth urban cultural aesthetics: neighborhood wall mural, newsletter bulletin board, neighborhood events, create a trail, coloring inside the lines- paint an intersection.
Remember that we’re here to help. Neighborhood meetings leading to a partnership with the city are easy to arrange. Along with your neighbors, those who attend the meetings may include the mayor and members of council, representatives from various city departments, including the Police Department, the Parks and Recreation department and the Library. Representatives from the Superstition Fire District can also participate as well as the Apache Junction Unified School District or other community partners.
Together, we can all make Apache Junction and our neighborhoods strong and sustainable, have some fun, and meet your neighbors.
To learn more about the city’s Strong Sustainable Community Initiative program, visit www.ajcity.net/903/19673/14-Steps? activeLiveTab=widgets.
To arrange a neighborhood partnership with the city, contact the Apache Junction Public Information Office at 480-474-5080, or firstname.lastname@example.org.