By Jeff Serdy
Another year has come and gone, and 2019 is sure to bring even more development and good news to Apache Junction.
Having completed my first term as mayor, I can look back at a number of issues we have successfully addressed with smart, managed growth for our community. However, 2019 promises to bring more progress in our continuing mission to make our community the best place to live, work and run a business.
The city continues to progress with the rest of the community. We have embarked on a much-needed updating of city codes, we are looking at the feasibility of bringing the city utilities under the municipal government umbrella. We are looking at our solid waste rules. And we received a major vote of confidence from our residents with the passage of the Permanent Base Adjustment proposition last November. That will allow us to grow for decades. We also have begun the process to update our General Plan. We hope all residents will weigh in during the process – this is your city!
And there is plenty going on in your city. In the next 12 months, we should be closer to having more public art. In 2018, we received a tremendous gift from renowned artist Merrill Orr – the Kachina sculpture that now sits in the median at the Focal Point, at Phelps Drive and Old West Highway. The council and city staff are studying the possible creation of an arts commission to build on our first piece and find additional attractions for our city. The new roundabout would be a perfect place for a public art project that would welcome visitors into our community along busy State Route 88.
Speaking of SR-88, the roundabout at the state highway and Superstition Boulevard – completed in 2018 by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) – turned out to be a great project, and not the scary concept everyone feared. ADOT also repaved SR-88 from the city all the way to Tortilla Flats, making the trip to the lakes smoother.
While these improvements were going on, we saw further development throughout the city. There are six separate housing developments in various stages throughout the city that will bring hundreds of new residents. This is exactly the kind of smart, managed growth we need in our community. In fact, one of the developments is on a 40-acre parcel south of Baseline – the first of what may be the next big thing, the development of state land on the southern edge of the city.
While the new Fry’s Marketplace shopping center thrived, new tenants moved into the grocery store’s old space. Ross and Goodwill opened in 2018, and more businesses are expected. Restaurants expanded, new owners took over, two national tire stores made their appearance in our community, and Mediacom made a big move to new digs to accommodate a call center.
We have plenty of work to do. We want to make our rodeo grounds a great attraction – as Flatiron Community Park has become in two short years. We need to continue discussions with the federal Bureau of Land Management to open up the rules regarding the rodeo grounds. And we need to continue to reach out to our neighbors to the east and in other unincorporated areas to see how we can be stronger together.
You can hear about all of these issues and more at the second State of the City event, on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. at the Apache Junction High School Performing Arts Center. It is free and open to the public. We hope to see you there, and good luck in 2019.