Greetings for the New Year! The holidays have come and gone too quickly, it seems, and hopefully by now we are all settling into 2023!
Our Town achieved many major milestones in 2022, including the purchase of the original high school and groundbreaking on the wastewater treatment plant renovations. By the end of this fiscal year, we will have administered almost $16 million in grant funds.
At Town Hall, we are excited to begin this new year with a new Public Works Director, Manuel Castillo, who previously served as Superior’s Building Official. Manuel applied for and was promoted to this critically important position, and we warmly welcome him as a member of our senior management team. As many of you know, Manuel brings many years of municipal experience to the job.
Also in 2023, renovations will continue at the original Superior High School. Funding is in place to build the elevator that will allow full accessibility to the campus. The Superior Enterprise Center will likely be the first program to fully move into the facility, once the electrical work is completed. Once the electrical is upgraded the welding units can be installed, and we are eager to begin offering welding and other job training courses at the Superior Enterprise Center.
The Town is anticipating finalizing the purchase of the land exchange parcels, comprised of 546 acres on the west side of town including our Superior Municipal Airport. This transaction is expected to be completed in the summer of 2023. Purchasing the land from the federal government is just the first step to expand our economic and community development opportunities. Just as important is the need to shift our focus to infrastructure development in that area. This of course will require time and attention, but we will be kicking off that body of work this year and creating plans to ensure that Superior is able to grow in a sustainable way.
It was disappointing to close out 2022 still waiting for the Resolution Copper Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) to be re-released by the federal government. It will be imperative for the Town and all community leaders to increase our advocacy to the federal government to re-release the FEIS. In March, it will be two years since the document was put into a bureaucratic purgatory and every day that we wait for this document to be released our community is disenfranchised.
This month we will once again welcome an AmeriCorps Crew to live and work in our community. We are fortunate to have them stay in our community through March. The eight-member team will be building fire breaks around Superior and assisting with invasive species removal. They will also be volunteering with other community organizations and getting to know what life is like in our community. Their work provides benefits to our community, including substantial savings to important town projects, which helps us stretch grant dollars that we have received to conduct these projects.
Throughout 2022, we have read the reports on water and drought conditions across Arizona and the west. Our Town leadership, in partnership with Resolution Copper and the Arizona Water Company, has been laser-focused on Superior’s immediate and long-term water needs. The release of water into Queen Creek to replenish our aquifer is slated for 2023. We will be working on creating a rainwater garden to help with drainage on upper Main Street. This project will likely kick off a longer-term plan to address drainage issues across town and make repairs that will also improve our aquifers. Every little bit helps when it comes to water sustainability. I encourage you to visit the Superior Sustainability Elevated page, https://sustainabilityelevated.com, and follow them on Facebook to learn more about what we can all do to save water.
One upcoming opportunity I am most excited about is our Youth Council making a trip to our nation’s capital in March to attend the National League of Cities Conference. Five of our local youth leaders will make the trip along with chaperones to learn more about community service and experience firsthand the business of our country in Washington, D.C. This trip is well deserved for these incredible young leaders who have devoted the past five years of their school careers to serving on the Town of Superior Youth Council. We have much to be proud of in our community and while much work remains to be done, I am proud of our staff, Town Council and the countless volunteers who help make Superior a shining example for rural community development across the nation.
Wishing you the very best of life in 2023!