Home » Government » City makes strides in securing Globe’s future in 2023

City makes strides in securing Globe’s future in 2023

The City of Globe achieved many milestones in 2023 thanks to the hard work of City Council and staff members, giving the city momentum as the calendar turns to 2024 when Council embarks on updates to its Strategic Action Plan (SAP) and the City’s General Plan (GP).

The visible changes from Russell Road to the Gila County Fairgrounds reflect years of focus and planning made possible by an established core of people with a vision of sustainable economic growth.

Thanks to strategic alliances and lobbying on state and national levels, Globe is rebuilding infrastructure and laying the groundwork for future growth and robust economic activity.

“It’s been a busy year bringing Council’s vision to reality,” Globe Mayor Al Gameros says. “Our staff has worked very hard going into this new, uncharted territory. We’ve hit many visible milestones this year and I’m truly grateful for all the work that’s been done.”

The year 2023 saw a new level of progress in the building and repairing infrastructure that has not seen significant investment in many years. That work could not be done without funding beyond what the City can collect in taxes.

To fill the financial gaps, the City of Globe worked with several outside government agencies and leveraged its position to qualify for and receive $19.2 million in state and federal funding in 2023. If all goes as planned, an additional $7.7 million will be available in 2024.

In addition to direct appropriations from the State Legislature, City officials have identified funding from the Arizona Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Army Corps of Engineers, among others, to acquire the necessary capital needed to rebuild bridges, repair water lines and determine where upgrades to existing infrastructure are necessary.

State and federal grants have provided $5.4 million toward the replacement of Connie’s Bridge and $3.5 million for sidewalks along Jesse Hayes Road from Connie’s Bridge to the Gila Pueblo Campus.

Additionally, a $2.9 million federal grant through ADOT will fund the replacement of the Cottonwood Bridge in 2024. 

Through the Water Infrastructure Authority of Arizona (WIFA), $1.4 million has been dedicated to a study of existing sewer lines, and $3 million in Water Conservation grants will finance the replacement of Globe’s water meters with modern, accurate meters that improve service and help identify leaks in the system.

High-profile projects such as the Michaelson Building business incubator and co-workspace in Downtown Globe received $750,000 from the Federal bipartisan Build Back Better Bill, and the Globe Community Center Pool from City funds and donations from Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center, Freeport-McMoRan, United Fund of Globe-Miami, BHP, Gila County, Capstone Pinto Valley, Arizona Complete Health, and First Interstate Bank.

Projects slated to begin in 2024 include the replacement of the Yuma Bridge and the groundbreaking on the new $13 million fire station, funded in part through grants from the USDA.

There will also be major progress on the Northeast development plan with new water lines to the Gila County Fairgrounds, thanks to a $2.1 million grant from the Army Corps of Engineers.

In order to acquire funds and manage the myriad projects in the works, the City has hired a number of professionals with specific talents, such as a Grants Manager and a Deputy Building Official, to update City codes and add manpower to departments such as Public Works. 

There is also a move to revive the Recreation and Parks Department to manage the parks that have 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.

“These projects have to be managed all the way through. You don’t want to lose grant funding because your department can’t handle the work that it’s supposed to be doing,” says Councilman Freddy Rios. “It’s a good place to be. It really is. We’re starting to see the fruits of these labors and really, it’s the entire community and the entire region that’s going to benefit from this.”

The City of Globe can now compete for federal dollars by working with an experienced Federal lobbying firm hired to help identify funding sources and convince legislators that Globe can execute and maintain the projects once they are built.

Lobbying efforts have progressed so far that in March 2023, City Council made its first-ever trip to Washington to talk face-to-face with the people and agencies that make these funding decisions.

The Council’s five-day trip was the first in Globe’s history. It allowed City leadership to strengthen relationships with state and federal officials at the National League of Cities Congressional Conference.

“In Washington, we were able to meet with councils and mayors from all over the country and share our concerns, discuss issues and solutions, and talk about our rural interests,” Rios says. I think it was vital for us to not just visit with our Arizona delegates but also at the national level. It was more impactful to meet face to face and discuss the goals of our community.”

While 2023 saw much progress for the City, Mayor and Council are gearing up to continue the momentum.

Starting in January, Council will update its Strategic Action Plan and discussions on the General Plan, with public input, will follow.

The most recent SAP covered a 3-year period through 2023, but the COVID pandemic paused progress for a time and the following year, fire and floods further drew city administrators’ attention and resources from implementing its goals.

The list of priorities for the new plan will include improved public safety, infrastructure development, and blight reduction in order to create a better quality of life for residents and visitors to the region.

The GP is required by State statute and must be updated every 10 years with input from the public.

“The General Plan is basically visioning, but also responsibilities,” says Councilman Fernando Shipley. “We have to look at what our responsibilities and accountabilities are as a governing body of the municipality, and determine if we are doing what is needed or do we need to pivot the plan.”

As much of a watershed year as 2023 turned out to be, 2024 promises to bring even more positive action by City leaders and staff, as there is still much to be done to continue fulfilling the vision laid out by Council.

“We owe much of the progress of our projects to the invaluable grant funding we’ve gone after. There are exciting announcements on the horizon, with numerous projects currently in the development pipeline. The sheer volume has reached a point where we need to assess and project future revenues, and prepare to expand our staffing to meet the growing demands of our City projects and coming development,” Gameros says.

He adds that overall, the feedback he’s received from the public has been positive and constructive as Globe evolves into the future.

“People are noticing positive transformations in our community, and overall the feedback has been supportive of the changes we’ve made and the direction we are going,” Gameros says. “2024 will be an exciting year for our City.”

About David Abbott

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.

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