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‘Globe Forward’ the theme of mayor’s third State of the City Address

David Sowders
Posted 10/4/23

Globe Mayor Al Gameros delivered his third annual State of the City Address on Thursday evening in Veterans’ Park outside Globe City Hall to a capacity crowd of citizens – and the theme for 2023 was “Globe Forward.”

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‘Globe Forward’ the theme of mayor’s third State of the City Address


Globe Mayor Al Gameros delivered his third annual State of the City Address on Thursday evening in Veterans’ Park outside Globe City Hall to a capacity crowd of citizens – and the theme for 2023 was “Globe Forward.”

It is a theme, said Gameros, with many parts: City council and staff focused on greater quality of life for residents; protection of businesses through code updates and enforcement; creation of a more beautiful and inviting community; and pursuit of funding for civic improvement projects.

“For the past six years your city council has worked to build a foundation for a 21st century civic model,” he said. “We remain focused on updating our aging infrastructure, economic development through business growth and tourism, improving quality of life and increasing our housing options.”

This year the city council approved a $65 million budget, an approximately $23 million increase from last year – reflecting $21 million in anticipation of proposed grant awards. Gameros said the city’s operating budget was about $15.5 million, and that factoring in the city’s $2.5 million restricted fund balance brought the total operating budget to $18 million.

“This year’s budget shows the groundwork the city has laid, and reflects years of hard work and planning,” he added.

The next facet of “Globe Forward,” he said, was updated fire and building codes, a strong code enforcement program and a “fair and consistent” permitting process.

“We all witnessed the devastation in 2005 of our historic downtown – a fire that destroyed our four-story Pioneer Motel and our storied Globe Theater. Here recently, in the town of Miami, a fire destroyed four structures and seriously injured a local firefighter that continues to recover in the hospital. Having updated fire codes and building codes with consistent inspections helps decrease those hazards,” said Gameros.

He also noted the work of initiatives like Globe Clean and Beautiful and GilaPROUD to keep the Highway 60 corridor clean, and that the city sponsors community cleanups three times a year and connects businesses with resources to improve curb appeal.

Gameros then turned to a review of finished, ongoing and future projects.

First was the $4.3 million Community Center Pool, “an amazing community facility that turned out above our expectations. … This summer’s peak average daily was about 200 people, with no charge for the first summer.”

The city will take on annual operations and maintenance, and is seeking funding to complete the concession stand and enclosed private party area. Gameros thanked project partners and stakeholders: City of Globe, Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center, Gila County, Freeport-McMoRan, BHP Copper, Capstone Pinto Valley, United Fund of Globe-Miami, Arizona Complete Health, First Interstate Bank, APS and Southwest Gas.

Also finished are the Community Center sewer line and Hill Street realignment projects, each $1.5 million. The former, partly paid for by WIFA funds, installed sewer lines from the Community Center to Jesse Hayes Road – taking city facilities off septic tanks and allowing residents to hook up to city sewer.

The latter adjusted the junction of Walliman Road and the new Connie’s Bridge, and paved and installed sidewalks on the nearby segment of Hill Street.

Work continues on the $4.4 million Connie’s Bridge, a project that has received $3.4 million in direct appropriation from the state. Gameros said completion was projected in December 2023. “We did have a slight delay,” he said. “We had issues with the cement columns that required some remediation, which is now complete. So now we can see that go vertical as it passes testing.”

The city also plans to replace the Cottonwood and Yuma Street bridges. For the $3.8 million Cottonwood Bridge project, the city was awarded federal allocation funding, through the State of Arizona. Final approval is pending on a grant request for the $2.8 million Yuma Bridge replacement, with funding by the state legislature to be administered by Central Arizona Governments.

Gameros also pointed to new playground equipment in Veterans’ Park and at the Community Center, thanks to a pair of $100,000 projects funded by BHP Copper. The city has also improved Veterans’ Park with a new sidewalk and benches, along with upgrades to lighting and electric hookups – a $160,000 project funded through a Community Development Block Grant. The city plans to add more benches and a shade canopy.

The Michaelson Building on South Broad Street is a partnership between Globe and Gila County, which recently replaced the original roof.

“We were awarded $750,000 of federal funds for the construction and build-out for the future,” Gameros said. When finished, the building will include a business incubator and a downtown visitor center. Toward the other end of Broad Street, the city has plans for the Silver King building it purchased last year. Gameros said city council’s intent is to tear down the building to provide more downtown parking as well as a small park; the latter, he said, would be privately funded.

The morning of Gameros’ address saw a construction groundbreaking ceremony for the $21 million Hill Street School affordable senior housing project. Its developer, Gorman & Company, received approximately $2.5 million in federal and state tax credits in 2022. “This funding (the approximately $1.5 million in federal tax credits) was the first time it was ever awarded to a rural community for this type of project, and now is a model for other rural communities in Arizona,” said Gameros.

A key future endeavor is to build a new fire station, replacing the current 100-plus-year-old structure. The city already has a site in place, having bought the old medical complex at 703 E. Ash St. For this $13 million project, Gameros said, the city is applying for USDA loan approval and has requested grant money under federal infrastructure funds.

“We are not planning to go out to bond for this, but will pay the monthly loan amount with a part of the one-cent sales tax increase (approved in May 2022) – utilizing sales tax revenue from visitors to help pay the costs and keep the total burden off our residents.” Gameros added that the new station’s design was complete, and hopes were to bring down the medical complex by the end of this year.

The city also intends to replace downtown sidewalks - and install new ones along Jesse Hayes Road, from the new Connie’s Bridge down to the Gila Pueblo Campus. Gameros said funds for the $3.5 million Jesse Hayes project were allocated in this year’s state budget, and thanked District 7 Representative David Cook for his backing. As for the $2.7 million downtown project, the city is awaiting final approval of a federal funding request through an ADOT award.

In addition, there are plans to replace water meters and various waterlines. Gameros said one $3 million project, funded through a WIFA Water Conservation Grant, would replace city meters with new, more reliable meters that are read automatically. Another will replace existing waterline in the fairgrounds area “that we continue to have problems with when the temperature changes.” Finally, a $1.2 million project earmarked by U.S. Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ District 3) will identify and replace various city waterlines.

Other future improvements include outdoor exercise equipment at the city’s Active Adult Center and downtown water bottle filling stations; the two projects, totaling $150,000, are being funded by BHP Copper. The city has also received $100,000 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a feasibility study of repairs to the McCormick Wash tunnel as a flood control measure, and submitted a funding application to the USDA for its $4.5 million northeast corridor plan.

Gameros also announced that Globe had recently received funding for a $160,000 project to revitalize the pueblos at Besh Ba Gowah Archaeological Park, from the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation Community Investment Fund. “We need to make sure that those structures are sound for the future,” he said.

By year’s end, said Gameros, the city will have received $18 million in state and federal funding – and another $7.7 million is anticipated in 2024.

“We are seeing a change now from six years ago, where our council and staff were asking the questions and seeking information on how other rural communities had been successful in attracting visitors to their city. But this year, attending the annual League of Cities conference in Tucson, we were not the ones asking for advice; we were the ones giving advice.”

Gameros said the city was seeing a level of activity he had “never seen in my work in 30 years with the City of Globe and seven years serving you as mayor.”