The state of the City of Globe is trending upward, and as Mayor Al Gameros prepares for his third-annual State of the City address later this month, visible signs of progress are appearing all around town.
“The momentum we are on continues to elevate our game to the next level,” Gameros says. “Our City Council has a unified vision for growth and expanding the economic base of our city and that is key to our success.”
From the revitalized Community Center pool, to planning for development in the northeast corridor, the City has maintained laser focus on its goals to make Globe more attractive and safe for its residents, businesses, and a destination spot for visitors.
Thanks to the addition of new administrative staff—including a Grants Manager tasked with identifying and pursuing external funding—as well as increasing capacity for vital departments such as Public Works, the City is completing long-term projects and putting “shovels in the ground” for new ones.
“We’ve been successful in bringing in private, State and Federal funding that have made the many projects we have going on possible,” Gameros says. “What we’re doing is elevating to the next level.”
Among the projects the City has completed within the past year are the $4.4 million Community Center Pool, paid for with funding from multiple partners and stakeholders, and the $1.5 million sewer extension to the Community Center, funded by a Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona (WIFA) grant.
Many of the City’s parks have also benefited from grants and local partnerships, including Veteran’s Park at City Hall and the Community Center playground, with more than $300,000 funded with the help of BHP and Community Development Block Grants through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Projects in progress include the $5 million replacement of Connie’s Bridge, thanks to a $3.4 million appropriation from the Arizona Department of Transportation, and the redevelopment of the Michaelson Building in Downtown Globe, for the purpose of a business incubator and co-workspace, through $750,000 in federal appropriation.
There are also several important infrastructure upgrades on the horizon, including the replacement of Cottonwood Bridge at a cost of $3.8 million as well as construction of a new sidewalk on Jesse Hayes Road, from Connie’s Bridge to the Gila County Community College campus.
The downtown sidewalk replacement project is in planning and will be completed in four phases, according to City Engineer Luis Chavez.
“We are in the process of preparing documents to put it out for bids, so it’s going to take time to go through the procurement process,” Chavez says. “But we know it is coming because we already have the funding.”
The sidewalk project is estimated to cost about $3.5 million through a state funding appropriation, and will be phased in from south to north as Connie’s Bridge construction is expected to continue through the end of 2023.
Chavez expects sidewalk construction to begin by the end of the year.
One of the crown jewels of local development is the replacement of Globe’s 100-plus-year-old fire department that has been in the works for the past two years.
The $13 million project is vital to the safety and modernization of the Globe Fire Department, and is an important improvement to the southern face of downtown Globe along Highway 60.
A benchmark has been achieved, though, as demolition of the existing buildings on the property has been scheduled for the end of 2023 as the project moves forward.
“The remediation has been done on those old structures and the next step will be demolition and the full design of the station,” says Globe Fire Chief Gary Robinson.
The new station will be funded in part through a 1% tax increase enacted by the City in 2022, and will include important safety features intended to protect the lives and health of Globe firefighters.
“The biggest thing is safety for our firefighters,” Robinson says. “The existing facility lacks a lot of the safety features designed into new fire facilities that deal primarily with contaminants in the air and on equipment.”
Infrastructure replacement and construction is not the only investment the City is making. Public services have also been given a big boost to provide quality of life improvements for citizens of the area.
Under the leadership of manager Leana McGill, Besh Ba Gowah has benefited from the upgrades happening around the Community Center to accommodate its nearly 15,000 annual visitors, and is actively pursuing funding to restore and preserve the pueblo structures, as well as update the interior of the museum.
The Active Adult Center, led by Tammy Guerin, recently completed a $46,000 refurbishment of its outdoor spaces, and coming is the development of an outdoor adult fitness park for the community to enjoy, through a community investment opportunity from BHP. The Center offers daily programs, a tool lending library, and distributes about 70,000 Meals on Wheels annually to local seniors.
The Globe Public Library has also been able to maintain and increase services through grants and with increased support from the City Council.
Recent mini grants have added health programs for youths and adults as well as improving the grounds of a facility that is small, but manages to get a lot of mileage out of limited resources.
Pandemic-era funding through the Arizona Librarians Enhancing Resilience in Rural Communities Initiative, a partnership between the Arizona Center for Rural Health and the Arizona Library Association, Advancing Health Equity, Addressing Disparities (AHEAD AZ) is intended to support rural libraries’ community efforts to “enhance local resilience, address inequities, and build community cohesion.”
“Their goal was to try to get services to the rural areas that don’t have as much access to these amenities such as Maricopa County,” says Library Director Rayel Starling. “The huge populations of Mesa, Tempe, and Phoenix have an abundance of services together as one huge urban center while you have all these little tiny communities throughout Arizona that have no funding.”
The $4,000 grant has helped create gardening programs for youths, as well as youth yoga and there is even a cooking class coming to bring families together over food.
“We’re reaching out more to the parents with this,” Starling says. “We’re going to do a cooking class for healthy eating that includes the whole family to help plan a menu with your kids so they have buy-in, so they’ll actually eat the food they help to make.”
All of the investment on infrastructure and services is intended to enrich the lives of our current residents and lay the groundwork for future growth the City is preparing to accommodate.
According to Gameros, “Globe Forward” is more than a catchphrase: It is a multi-faceted approach to governing and engaging the community to the benefit of the entire southern Gila County region that incorporates municipal policy, increased staffing levels, active lobbying on a state and national level as well as citizen involvement.
In addition to the infrastructure building boom, there has been a focus on making the community more visually appealing and inviting by cleaning up the frontage on Historic Highway 60, addressing neighborhood blight, and maintaining, updating and enforcing guidelines for homes and businesses.
Through partnerships with Gila County through GilaPROUD and internal efforts such as Globe Clean and Beautiful and efforts by the Community Development Department, blight is being addressed throughout the community.
“Beautification is at another level now,” Gameros says. “We’re addressing it not only on the main highway, but within our downtown historic area. Code enforcement is not only for beautification, but it’s also for the safety and protection of our citizens and businesses.”
But at the heart of “Globe Forward” is a working collaboration, an evolving partnership between local government and citizens that can be enhanced by a deeper understanding of the processes involved in municipal government.
Hence the City of Globe Citizen’s Academy.
The City of Globe is gearing up for its Fall 2023 Citizens’ Academy, taking place from Sept. 27 through Nov. 8.
The academy provides an opportunity for residents to gain a better understanding of City operations, services, and programs, as well as the role Council plays within the authority and legal restrictions in which it must operate.
The Academy consists of seven two-to-three hour classes taking place on consecutive Wednesdays from 6-8 p.m.
The classes will be hosted by a different member of Council each week, and participants will hear presentations from department directors and staff about the roles and challenges faced in the day-to-day functioning of the City.
“Citizens’ Academy is a really good thing, especially for people who think they don’t like government,” says Councilmember Fernando Shipley. “It really helps because they start to realize what constraints we have, and why we have to do things the way we do .”
Shipley, who has served on Council off and on since 2002, has seen many citizens come through the Academy with a new appreciation for local government, and often with an interest in participating more in the community.
“They may come in skeptical and upset or pretty sure that we’re just no good at doing anything, but by the time they get done, they see how we utilize our limited manpower,” Shipley says. “It helps build their confidence up enough to realize that what we do isn’t magic, it’s just people working together towards a goal. ”
Those who wish to participate in Citizens’ Academy must be at least 18 years old and have a desire to learn more about City government. Applications are available online at www.globeaz.gov and admittance will be first come, first serve.
Graduates must attend five of the seven class sessions, two qualifying City events, including one Council meeting and one other qualifying event, and attend the graduation in early 2024.
The Academy is open to residents of Globe and the surrounding communities of Gila County, the Town of Miami and San Carlos , and begins on Sept. 28.
For more information, contact Shelly Salazar at firstname.lastname@example.org, 928-200-8535 or 928-425-7146 ext. 206 or Lisa Fletcher at email@example.com 928-940-9207 or 928-425-7146 ext. 205.
In July, Council adopted a visionary $65 million budget, which represents a $23 million increase from 2022-2023 and contains $21 million in grant requests that have been the result of the groundwork the City has laid through relationships developed with state and federal agencies and private partners.
Through the establishment of the Economic and Community Development Department in 2018, under Director Linda Oddonetto, the City has maintained its focus on the future.
With an increasing budget and fiscal enhancements via grants and low-interest loans, the City has maintained its footing through annual updates to its 3-year Strategic Action Plan and there is a General Plan update in the works as well as a renewed Downtown Redevelopment Plan that will include improved downtown lighting and access to Wi-Fi as well as additional parking on an increasingly busy Broad Street.
While Globe has endured fire, floods and a world-wide pandemic, it has managed to find a key to unlock its potential and is becoming a model for rural Arizona communities wanting to break out of traditional economic models.
“The time that the City has taken to plan for these vital projects has paid off. You can walk down the street and see these improvements, which has really been impressive to behold,” Gameros says. “We have taken the time to listen to our residents, find out what is important to them and their families. As a community we have formed the vision for what we want our community to be now, and what we want for future generations.
Journalist, writer and editor who has worked for community newspapers for more than 15 years. After four years at Davis-Monthan AFB and a few years living in Tucson, moved to California to find his fortune. He is happy to be back in Arizona, in the mountains he loves.