Marana is quickly becoming a post-recession success story. New residents are moving here, more businesses are following and our local government is committed to positive growth. It’s a proven cycle of economic development that works everywhere.
The town issued more than 700 single-family residence permits last year, tops in the region. We estimate that our population exceeds 40,000, tremendous growth from the slightly more than 13,000 who lived here in 2000.
With those new residents comes more business for our retailers and greater opportunities for job growth. Every successful city or town has a solid balance of residential, commercial and industrial development. We don’t want to be a bedroom community of nearby Tucson. We have chosen a path of economic sustainability by adopting policies and procedures that support development and promise a bright future for our residents.
Our town has become a hub for high-tech manufacturing, with companies such as Sargent Aerospace and Defense, FLSmidth Krebs and Lastertel having significant presences here. Recently, Duralar Technologies, manufacturers of ultra-hard coatings that benefit the oil and gas, automotive and aerospace industries, announced that it would establish a headquarters in Marana this summer. The move will create dozens of jobs that pay head-of-household wages, a key to the economic vitality of our community.
Tourism will also play a greater role in our future. We are soon hiring a tourism manager who will work with local businesses and our internal communications and marketing team to ensure that visitors consider spending time in Marana when they come to Southern Arizona. We have lodging for all budgets, great recreational opportunities, shopping and are strategically located between Tucson and Phoenix.
Tourism is an export business: People come from outside the region and spend money in your community. Estimates place the economic impact of tourism at $2.5 billion a year in Pima County. We want to make sure Marana continues getting its share and that people have opportunities to experience the Sonoran Desert lifestyle we all enjoy.
Whether the subject is new housing, commercial growth or tourism, momentum builds momentum. Our housing numbers have been strong the past few years and commercial is starting to catch up. This is an exciting time to live and do business in Marana. As a local government, we will do all we can to make sure this remains a community that can both stand on its own and contribute to the success of the entire region.
(Editors Note: Curt Woody is the Town of Marana’s Economic Development Manager.)