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City of Globe designing policies to make community more business friendly

Dan Klocke (center), Senior Development Project Manager for Gorman, says that without the groundwork laid by the city through its focus on modernization, the Hill Street School housing project might not have been possible. Photo by Melissa Steele

Business activity is creating a buzz in downtown Globe, as empty buildings fill with new businesses and the City plans for future growth with a solid economic core.

Changes have come as a result of the City Council’s vision sustained over the course of the past seven years, supported by a dedication to processes that encourage progress and create an equal playing field for entrepreneurs who want to set up shop in town.

To create a fair and safe business atmosphere, Globe has added personnel to map out the future through modern and sensible policies. These include an overhaul of the City’s permitting process and building and fire codes to help attract future investment into the community.

According to District 3 Councilman Jesse Leetham, municipal codes ensure the safety and health of the public by setting standards for construction, maintenance, and use of buildings and properties, and help maintain the aesthetic appeal of the community and increase property values.

“Our codes play a crucial role in business development and growth. They provide a clear framework for businesses to operate, ensuring that they meet certain standards and requirements,” says Leetham. “This can help to prevent disputes and legal issues down the line. Furthermore, by maintaining the overall quality and appeal of a community, these codes can help to attract new businesses and investment.”

The results can increase business opportunities through renewed community energy and add foot traffic by leaving good impressions on visitors, which in turn increase business through tourism and added customer confidence. Municipal codes can also raise the community’s profile through historic preservation and lead to a “ripple effect” of neighbors cleaning up their surroundings to create a safer, more attractive community and help mitigate potential liabilities.

District 3 Councilman Jesse Leetham. Photo by LCGross

The work Globe City Council, administrators and employees have put in over the past several years has paid off, both in a robust economic environment and sizable investments in infrastructure that will pay dividends for future generations.

“It’s about safety, it’s about standards, it’s about bringing future development to the City and making Globe more enriched,” says Tony Manfredi, who was hired in 2022 as Globe’s Building Official and is charged with updating municipal codes and processes that are more than 20 years old in some cases.

“It’s really about how we’re fair across the board,” Manfredi says. “We are being business friendly and go out of our way to promote development and guide people through that system of opportunity.”

Nowhere is that dedication to modern standards more evident than in the Hill Street School senior housing project, located on the south side of Globe at the intersection of Hill and Ash streets.

The rehabilitation of the historic building at the entryway to historic downtown Globe is being performed by a Phoenix-based division of Gorman and Company LLC. The project will feature 64 units of mixed-income, multi-family housing targeted to seniors and located within easy walking distance of businesses on Broad Street.

Dan Klocke, Senior Development Project Manager for Gorman, says that without the groundwork laid by the City through its focus on modernization, the project might not have been possible.

“Council is very focused, and they’re very, very willing to help, so it’s been a great process for us,” Klocke says. “Globe is a really interesting town, from a pure historical arc, architectural, and overall feel of the town. It’s a wonderful place, and that’s what first attracted us to this building.”

But in order for Gorman to secure funding for the Hill Street School project, the City had to show it was capable of handling the project and long-term structural stability exists to support future development.

That process began with proper zoning and building codes to help Gorman obtain permits in a timely manner. Klocke has been through the process many times and was impressed at how the City handled the details and worked with Gorman, and the public, to bring the project to fruition.

He thinks it bodes well for the future.

“I think success attracts more success,” Klocke says. “When they lay the groundwork for us to have success, it sends a very loud message to others who might be interested, which only attracts more investment in the community, which makes for a better long-term project for us and the community.”

In addition to large projects, the atmosphere in Globe has also attracted entrepreneurs on a smaller scale. That has been done partially by creating a business-friendly environment, but also by creating “incubators” such as First Fridays, which attract large crowds to Broad Street on a regular basis.

Anthony Puskaric is planning to open Gila Hogs BBQ sometime in the first quarter of 2024, but has served his food in the Globe area for a number of years from his food truck – based, for now, in Payson. He says he does a variety of events in the region as well as catering for local mines.

His first foray into the local market was at the grand opening of Waggin’ Vineyard and Estate, on the east side of town.

Puskaric is a Payson native who spent 16 years as an animal control officer for Gila County. He also operated a restaurant in Rye for about a year, but decided to relocate to Globe because of its potential and business-friendly practices.

He says working with the City of Globe was “flawless,” the fees were reasonable, and the process was straightforward.

Puskaric cannot reveal the location of his restaurant yet; he’s still addressing some of the technical aspects of the business. Until it opens, he will continue to spread the word – and amazing barbecue – at First Fridays.

“For years, I told myself I would never move to Globe because it wasn’t much to look at,” Puskaric says. “It’s a lot nicer than it was five or ten years ago, and a lot of that comes down to people starting to maintain their storefronts, so it’s a much more attractive place to go. There’s a lot of history in downtown Globe to make it a tourist destination where people are going to want to come.”

Established downtown business owner Sarah Alexander, proprietor of the Pretty Kind boutique, comes from the perspective of a successful entrepreneur. Her business partner, Erika Flores, herself operates a number of successful businesses, along with her husband, Johnny D Flores.

Alexander is also the local contact for Eastern Arizona College’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), so she has a unique perspective on the current business climate in the place she was born and raised.

Sarah Alexander is co-owner of Pretty Kind Boutique and serves as the local contact for Eastern Arizona College’s Small Business Development Center. Photo by LCGross

She says in the three years Pretty Kind Boutique has been in operation, she has had “zero” problems with the City. That’s partially because she is a “rule follower” by nature, but she also understands the ins and outs of setting up a business.

In her position with the SBDC, Alexander works to help people understand that process and educate them on the minutiae of fees, taxes and what it takes to get a business license.

She says there may be misunderstandings on some of the details, and people working out of their homes sometimes balk at the need to formalize.

“At the end of the day, there’s a procedure. But there are rules for everything in life,” Alexander says. “If you look at the new businesses that have started, there has to be the foundation and something there that’s allowing for all this to happen.”

She adds that downtown beautification, and business owners taking responsibility for their storefronts, have created a climate conducive to growth.

The SBDC will host the Launch Your Globe-Miami Business Series in mid-January 2024. It runs for five weeks, and details can be found at www.eac.edu/sbdc.

Fernando Shipley. Archival photo by LCGross

District 6 Councilman Fernando Shipley has seen Globe’s evolution from both sides of the dais, serving as mayor from 2008 to 2012 and returning in 2018 to a very different City Council: one with a laser-like focus on its goal to create a stable long-term economy that can withstand the shocks of pandemic, fire, floods and even mine closures.

One of the biggest changes Shipley has seen is the establishment of the Economic and Community Development Department and the consistency of Globe’s leadership, both in City Council and administration.

“We have become much more professional,” Shipley says. “One of the biggest improvements is that we have an economic development person who has the education [and] training. She has certifications, and she understands what people are looking for when they’re looking to invest money in our community.”

He adds that hiring professionals like Manfredi to drive policy has also brought huge benefits, especially with the upcoming General Plan (GP) update that will begin next year.

Arizona statute mandates a GP update every 10 years, with specific criteria related to population size in any given city.

The GP update gives citizens the opportunity to offer input into the process and express their vision for the future of the city.

Leetham says the GP update is a crucial process that gives “new residents a chance to modify old visions,” and will guide the city’s growth and development over a long-term period, covering aspects such as land use, housing, transportation, environmental quality and more.

“The GP is important, as it sets the vision and goals for the city, and outlines the policies and actions needed to achieve them,” Leetham says. “Citizens can participate in the process of the GP update in several ways. They can attend public meetings and workshops where they can voice their opinions and provide input.”

The public is invited to join the City of Globe in shaping the future by actively engaging in the GP update process, and adding their voices to what can be the driving force in creating a vibrant and thriving community. City officials want to work together with citizens to be the change the community wishes to see. 

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