By Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa for Casa Grande Dispatch
Casa Grande is booming and the future is bright, Mayor Craig McFarland said at his annual state of the city address.
City housing permits are up 322 percent since 2018, McFarland said. Permits for single-family houses this year have already exceeded 140 permits. Permits for new manufacturing businesses have increased by 19 percent since 2018 and the city’s commercial value has increased by about 101 percent.
The city is fiscally in a strong position with very little debt and great bond ratings, he said. But even with the good economic times, the city is prepared for a dip in the economy. City staff are working on a sustainable budget that could see the city through a 5 percent decrease in revenues, if necessary.
The city is also looking at the efficiency of its different departments and the possibility of new public/private partnerships, McFarland said, as well as reducing the amount of unused property the city currently holds.
The city has put out a request for information to local groups and businesses to see if any are interested in using the properties.
Staff is also looking into the city’s affordable housing crunch, McFarland said. They are working closely with Chicanos Por La Causa on the possibility of building affordable apartments in the city.
More than $500K has been spent on improving the city’s 19 parks, he said. That figure does not include the $8.2M the city used to renovate Carr McNatt and Dave White parks.
McFarland also pointed out that renovations to the city’s Main Library and Elliott Park, on the south side, are nearly finished with both locations expected to reopen this month.
The city is also partnering with the Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce on creating a City Marketing Organization that will promote the businesses and attractions of the city throughout the state and the nation, McFarland said.
The city is continuing to work on its economic opportunities for its residents, McFarland said. A transit plan and water resources plan are in development.
The city is also updating its general plan, which determines the use of land within the city limits and can be instrumental in helping the city grow.
There is also the continued work on expanding Interstate 10, McFarland said. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has pledged money to repair and widen the Gila River Bridge, which is hopefully the start of a larger widening project for the remaining miles of I-10 between Casa Grande and Chandler.
McFarland also pointed out the rapid progress on Lucid Motors’ new factory in Casa Grande, with the second phase of the project slated to start at the end of March.
Read more at Casa Grande Dispatch.