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City of Globe makes progress in 2022, rides momentum into 2023

Members of Globe City Council participate in a ceremonial ground-breaking for the replacement of Connie's Bridge. The project is one of the many important infrastructure projects the City of Globe has in the works. Courtesy photo

The City of Globe made considerable progress toward its goals in 2022 and is poised to build on those successes as the calendar turns to 2023.

In addition to strengthening its ability to provide services to residents by increasing the civic workforce, Globe has invested in aging infrastructure and laid the groundwork for more improvements in basic services. City leaders have also worked to build important relationships to help provide funding – and political heft –  in the future.

Obviously, one of the things we will continue to do is to build stronger relationships and partnerships, not only locally but statewide,” says Globe Mayor Al Gameros. “We would not be able to accomplish many of these projects without those relationships. One of our key goals is to leverage this collaboration and advance as a key rural region in Arizona.”

Through efforts including strengthening ties with Gila County and other local stakeholders, seeking funding opportunities with federal agencies, and engaging a lobbyist in Washington DC, the City has picked up momentum that will serve residents well into 2023 and beyond.

Laying groundwork for the future

Globe Mayor Al Gameros. Courtesy photo

Highlights of the past year include establishing several large-scale projects, such as senior affordable housing at the former Hill Street School site, the Northeast Corridor Sewer Expansion Plan, the Community Center Pool rehabilitation project, and the upcoming replacement of Connie’s Bridge.

The City has utilized funds from the recently established 1% sales tax to ensure it can continue to improve services to residents and maintain major infrastructure improvements without raising property taxes or going into debt through municipal bonds.

The revenues will also help the City hire and retain employees. Initial hiring is targeted for the Public Works Department to provide more efficient service and in preparation for the major expansion in recreational amenities. The City has also hired its first Grants Manager, who will coordinate with all departments and identify funding opportunities, and a Building Official, tasked with modernizing internal and external processes and updating building codes in preparation for upcoming residential and commercial development. 

One of the main projects targeted for the new revenue stream is the replacement of Globe’s fire station, a building that is more than 100 years old and is in dire need of replacement. With the help of a USDA loan the City hopes to procure, the $10 million to $13 million project is expected to make big gains this year. Once built, the new station will be an asset to the City for decades to come.

The 1% sales tax increase will provide the vital resources for the City to best serve our current residents and best prepare for the growth and development that is coming,” Gameros says. “To provide the quality service that is expected of a modern city, we must invest in our staff, which is one of our greatest assets. If they don’t do the work, it doesn’t get done.”

Gameros added that in order to grow the local workforce, the city must work to address a housing shortage that leaves many workers with no option but to commute from the Valley.

To that end, the 2022-2023 budget helps lay the groundwork for future growth, from modernizing water and sewer systems to preparing for development in one of the few places in the region amenable to construction, the Northeast Corridor.

When we have employee leakage, so many people that work here in the mines and other professions don’t live here because housing is unavailable,” Gameros says. “If we don’t start addressing our aging infrastructure, which includes housing stock, we’re going to run into a situation like other cities that constantly have these issues.”

Partnerships and successes

Globe’s leadership has forged many partnerships in its efforts to revitalize the community, including with local mines, the US Forest Service, Gila County, the Eastern Arizona College Small Business Development Center, the Department of Homeland Security, USDA, and the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona (WIFA).

The City of Globe has been a major driver in the Cobre Valley Wastershed Partnership efforts for the past several years, under a grant from the University of Arizona. The group includes vested stakeholders working to create and implement a Watershed Restoration and Action Plan throughout the region.

Bettering our community is about being involved at every level, listening to constituents, industry, and business leaders, and then making the best decisions as a Council for our City,” Gameros says. “Working with a dedicated lobbying firm in Washington has already provided a return for the City. With the lobbyists’ assistance, we were able to secure $100,000 in funding for the study for the McCormick Wash Diversion Project that directly impacts the safety and sustainability of our historic downtown commercial corridor. We are looking forward to going to Washington in March, because not only do you need the lobbyists, but it’s absolutely necessary to have one-on-one dialogue with our legislators, to discuss our priorities and issues so that they will remember our faces when they make decisions that directly impact our hometown.”

The Economic and Community Development Department (ECD) had a banner year in 2022, as it led the way on projects intended to bring more tourism dollars to the City and stimulate future economic development.

The success of Globe’s First Friday has created a signature regional event that increases traffic for downtown businesses and vendors and acts as a magnet for residents, visitors, and classic car aficionados who participate in the downtown cruise.

ECD Director Linda Oddonetto has assembled a growing team of dedicated employees and volunteers to plan and staff the event, but that’s only one of the department’s recent successes.

In December 2022, ECD received notification that thanks to the bipartisan Build Back Better Bill, the City will receive $750,000 to invest in the Michaelson Building Incubator Workforce Development Project in downtown Globe.

The project to rehabilitate the building that was once a location for Gila County offices has been in the planning stage for three years. Federal funds will go toward the renovation of the historic structure to create an innovation hub for local entrepreneurs and provide much-needed office space for post-Covid remote workers who are moving to Globe. 

After months of work with mayors, law enforcement, and local leaders, these new investments will go directly to Arizona communities,” says Senator Mark Kelly of the bill, which will allocate $132 million statewide. “Whether it’s providing critical resources for our police officers, improving high-speed internet access for rural Arizonans, or upgrading water infrastructure during this drought, these projects are going to improve people’s lives across the state.”

Senator Sinema says she and her colleagues have “secured resources that empower our local communities and tribes with resources to provide critical services for public safety, health, education, water infrastructure, transportation, and more.”

The incubator project is expected to begin this year and represents a major accomplishment for the City of Globe.

The Michaelson Building Incubator Workforce Development Project is going to be a catalyst for the Globe downtown renaissance,” Oddonetto says. “Thanks to the work of our elected leaders in Washington and our partnership with Gila County, this modern concept of the 21st-century center for innovation and workplace is coming to fruition.”

In the coming year, Gameros expects the momentum to continue. City Council will have its annual planning facilitation in February and will continue with the far-reaching planning that it hopes to put in place for the future of all residents of Globe.

We’re going to continue to refresh plans, evolve, and keep moving forward not only this year, but like always, we have to have the vision for five, ten, and twenty years down the road,” Gameros concluded. “We are committed to building a strong, vibrant, sustainable community for the generations to come.”


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