CG News

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A page for various announcements and news about the community

(Earlier stories are in COMMUNITY ARCHIVE)


How the city spent community block grant money
     Video of the session is HERE   Click on L.3

 Changing the appearance of Florence Boulevard

(Posted Sept. 21, 2021)

Video of the discussion is HERE  Click on Item I.4

The entire scope of work document is HERE

A resolution accepting a $130,000 proposal for major design work to change the appearance of Florence Boulevard from I-10 to Pinal Avenue was approved unanimously Monday night by the City Council.

The staff report points out that, "The Florence Boulevard Streetscape Design project is intended to create a streetscape design from I-10 to Pinal Avenue that will enhance the image and quality of life for the city of Casa Grande. 

"The project will incorporate street layout, landscape, hardscape, parking, signage, branding and other design aspects of streetscape and transportation design.

"Citizens and stakeholders will play an important role in developing the design concept and are included in the scope of work."

It was pointed out that the entire work, from planning to construction, could take up to two years and it is possible that a future phase could eventually be extended north on Pinal Avenue.

Electronic signatures on candidate petitions allowed

(Posted Sept. 10, 2021)

The E-Qual candidate guide is HERE

The E-Qual voter guide is HERE

The Arizona elections statutes are HERE

Casa Grande is joining an Arizona state program designed to allow voters to electronically sign a candidate's petition.

Participation is voluntary for candidates, but it is designed to make it easier all around.

The Arizona statute says, in brief:  "... the secretary of state shall provide a system for qualified electors to sign a nomination petition for candidates for city or town office, county office and the office of precinct committeeman by way of a secure internet portal ..." 

As explained in the staff report accompanying Tuesday night's City Council discussion, "The state has developed a system called E-Qual, which allows voters to sign petitions electronically. The system requires voters to use their voter ID number or driver's license number in order to securely verify that the signer is a qualified registered voter. The E-Qual system will be optional for the candidates and can be combined with the traditional hard copy petitions."

The state revised statute points out that the program applies only to candidates for city or town elected office, county office and the office of precinct committeeman.

City Clerk Gloria Leija told the council that the Arizona secretary of state has made the E-Qual system available for free.

"First of all, it starts with the City Clerk's Office where we will do the administration part of it," she said. "And I have to tell you it did make me nervous, but they did provide a site where we could train. We did six weeks training there, practicing on their site.

"The next part will be for all the candidates to sign in, get a log-in, for me to be able to start the petition. And then there's the part where the voter can elect to go on there and can sign a nomination petition, not only for City Council but other elections, other petitions."

An overall candidate orientation and training session will be held Oct. 6, Leija said.

Candidates are not required to use the E-Qual system, Leija emphasized, adding, "I want to make sure there is that there is that understanding that it is an option for you to use the electronic nomination petitions. You can elect to use both, you can elect electronically and also to make hard copies of your petition."

Councilwoman Donna McBride asked if the new system will create more work for Leija's office.

No, Leija responded, pointing out that the electronic system will verify if the signer is a registered voter and lives within Casa Grande. When the required number of verified signatures in reached, the program stops.

"When you are ready to come in and file with the City Clerk's Office, the nomination packet, you will hit submit and we will get that notice that you have your nomination petitions available electronically," Leija continued.

She added that a candidate could have part of the required number of signatures gathered electronically and part gathered on paper.

"I can tell you that even though I was nervous using it after I've been doing election services over the years, I was nervous, but it is very, very easy," Leija said. "The state has put together some instructions for the candidate and for the voters (see links above). So it is very easy to use."

The council vote on joining the program was unanimous.

New Seventh-day Adventist church in CG approved

(Posted Aug. 11, 2021)

The project narrative is HERE

The Planning and Zoning staff report, with locator maps, is HERE

The way has been cleared for a Seventh-day Adventist church on Colorado Street north of Rodeo Road.

Final approval for the zoning change was given Monday night during a special Casa Grande City Council meeting.

The church has bought 2.27 acres on the east side of Colorado.

According to the staff report, half-street improvements will be required along Colorado, including curb, gutter and sidewalk, along with a new northbound through lane.

Community groups apply for Tohono O'odham grants

(Posted July 25, 2021)

Several community organizations have applied to the Tohono O’odham Nation for grants from the tribe's gambling revenues.

Authorization for applying was given during Monday night's City Council meeting.

They are:

(Click on name for details of request)

Against Abuse, Inc -- $24,542.70 for air cleaners and security system.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Sun Corridor -- $50,000 for the Out of School program.

Casa Grande Alliance -- $7,500 for Thrive program.

CG Valley Historical Society dba The Museum of Casa Grande -- $2,120 for painting of Cruz Trading Post. 

The Rest Stop -- $2,161.08 for Help for the Homeless storage and supplies.

• United Way of Pinal County -- $80,000 for Path to Success program.

City of Casa Grande projects:

Arts and Humanities Commission -- $10,000 for partnership funding program.

Casa Grande Fire Department -- $40,933.62 for emergency equipment.

Casa Grande Police Department -- $86,424.93 for laser scanner for forensic scene equipment.

Casa Grande Police Department -- $30,000 for team policing.

Casa Grande Community Development Division -- $40,000 for emergency housing repair and accessibility assistance program.

Although the line is depicted on the north side of the wash the trail is actually going to be constructed on the south side.

Another link in Casa Grande Community Trail

(Posted July 11, 2021)


Video of the session is HERE  Click on Item 1

The staff report is HERE

The visual presentation is HERE

The construction proposal is HERE

The city trails master plan is HERE

Initial approval was given Tuesday night by the City Council for another link in what is known as the Casa Grande Community Trail.

Final approval for the trail link, from Trekell to Peart roads along the south side of the Santa Cruz Wash, is expected during the next council session.

No timeline was given for construction, which is a part of general improvements to Rotary Park on 2220 N. Trekell where the trailhead will be located.

Up to $398,584 is authorized for the project.

Steve Hardesty, the city's Community Services director, told the council during Tuesday night's study session that, "This is part of the strategic plan in the area of infrastructure. The goal is to increase the trail system 5 percent annually over five years."

Getting this far on the Rotary Park trail project has been a complicated process.

"It was a capital improvements plan project approved in last year's budget," Hardesty said. "We did discuss this project with Transwestern Pipeline. Transwestern does have a gas line in that same area, on the north side of the wash and this project  will be on the south side of the wash. They gave us approval to proceed.

"In February, we did an aerial survey. Construction in a floodway has some special considerations that we have to follow and so typically that would be remove and replace anything that we do. So, we can't build it up higher or build it down lower. We're trying to keep it at grade. That permit was approved in May of this year.

"The final proposal was sent to us in June, which leads us to this meeting here tonight."

Hardesty showed several renderings during the session, adding comments.

"Our contractor titled this the Rotary Park Trail, we're going to be calling it the Casa Grande Community Trail," Hardesty said. "This view is going onto the trail from Trekell Road and there would also be signage at east end of the trail. You see up there a little farther there's some way-finding signs that would have information about the trail and mileage and things like that."

Mayor Craig McFarland asked if brush and other growth would be cleaned up for better views of the park areas on the north side of the wash.

"Yeah, that's kind of a different project that's going to run concurrent," Hardesty replied. "The trailhead will be across the wash. Rotary Park is getting a new playground, which was previously approved. In August, I believe, we're going to be doing a bunch of tree trimming. There'll be some ADA parking and sidewalks to connect the trail to the trailhead."

This trail will be similar to others already constructed in the city, Hardesty said.

"If you've been over to Carr McNatt Park we have a 14-foot wide stabilized granite trail," he continued. "Those pictures are shown on the bottom right. It is bordered in concrete at Carr McNatt Park. At the Recreation Center we have a 8-foot walking trail that leads west from the Recreation Center over to Colorado Street. It is also a stabilized granite surface but it doesn't have a border on it."

"This rendering shows the Rotary Park trail further to the east," Hardesty said. 

"The trail will meander somewhat, it won't be just a straight line," he continued. "We'll use the existing trees and vegetation and topography to try to give us some interest and some unique flavoring."

However, Hardesty continued, "we will not have any electrical, lighting, irrigation or major landscaping. We'll probably have a few benches and things like that, but no major landscaping along the trail."

Views from the council

Mayor McFarland said he has been talking with officials from a mining operation that is being worked on just to the northwest of the trail area.

"They're going to put a path, probably about a two-mile path, around their mine next to a 40-foot berm," he said. "It would probably behoove us to use the same material so it all looks like it's all a part. They're interested in actually extending that pathway, so there may be some communication we need to have with them to connect it to some of these future connecting points, like Dave White or Ed Hooper Park."

Hardesty said his office is working with Planning and Development Director Paul Tice on overall trail planning.

"There's other trail opportunities up to the north, so I'll have to get with Paul and see how that connects and extends," he said.

City Councilman Bob Huddleston pointed out that just to the north of the Rotary Park trail area there is "a somewhat parallel wash" between Trekell and Peart about halfway to Rodeo Road and asked if there are any plans for that area, adding that "it would sure make a nice loop."

Hardesty replied, "I'd have to refer back to the master plan and whether the city owns that property. The nice thing about this first mile of trail, we own 100 percent of the property. That was, for lack of a better term, the low-hanging fruit, we own all the property and have everything we need in that area, but we'll definitely review any area that has potential."

Councilwoman Donna McBride noted the lack of lighting along the proposed Rotary Park trail.

"My only concern is safety in that area," she said. "I know some of our parks are closed, they have hours that you're supposed to not be there. Will this be included in the language on the signage and stuff?"

Yes, Hardesty responded.

"The typical hours would close at 11 p.m. and reopen at 5 a.m.," he said. "I think we have some solar lighting right now at Rotary Park. We could easily add a couple of solar lights at the beginning of the trail right there at Rotary Park and Trekell Road."

Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons asked, "Have you gotten with the Police Department to talk about monitoring that area at all, or are we pretty safe there?"

Hardesty replied that, "We haven't gotten specifically with the Police Department on any issues. Rotary Park will become more highly used when we get it all finished. There's a lot of little smaller projects that are running concurrently with this, including an upgraded parking lot, tree trimming and shrubs, taking out low hanging shrubs, a new playground, a new ramada, another little shade structure, so I think you're going to a see a lot more high visibility there, which will obviously improve usage from our patrons."

Councilman Dick Powell said flood water generally runs west to the area past Frito Lay "and actually creates riparian areas out there that are constantly wet. "Equestrians, they kind of like openness and getting out and enjoying it and you need a trail that was not concrete, a softer material," he said. "That would be fun for them to be able to leave the Rodeo Grounds and make a trip out quite a ways."

"This would be the extent of the trail over the next few years if we can continue the funding and continue the project," Hardesty told the council. "Mission Valley has an existing mile of trail that's concrete path. We would need to connect along the gas pipeline to get to Peart Road and then the red would be what we're constructing in this project.  The little red line for the Rec Center trail is already done and then the blue lines would be future trails that we could do to extend the trail from Mission Valley all the way out to Dave White Park, if we're successful."

Updated ambulance agreement gives more to city
Staff report       Terms of agreement

Community partnership grants cuts restored

(Posted June 26, 2021)

The full staff report is HERE

When Casa Grande officials were putting together last year's city budget in the middle of the financial uncertainty of the COVID pandemic they opted for cutting department funds by about 5 percent.

They also decided that organizations getting funding through community partnerships would have 5 percent cuts.

That reduced those grants by:

• Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce -- $2,104.

• Casa Grande Main Street -- $1,958.

• Pinal Alliance for Economic Growth -- $1,252.

• Pinal County Water Augmentation Authority -- $1,000.

• Casa Grande Valley Historical Society -- $1,700.

• Boys and Girls Club of Casa Grande -- $7,000.

During Monday night's City Council meeting an agenda item noted that, "In August 2020, the mayor and City Council approved Resolution 5253 adopting the City of Casa Grande Relief Plan. The approved plan proposed allocating funding in the "City Enhanced Response and Stabilization Element" to restore these non-profit organizations to an amount requested during the application process."

The council approved Monday night, restoring the grants to these original request totals:

• Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce -- $43,500.

• Casa Grande Main Street -- $39,150.

• Pinal Alliance for Economic Growth -- $25,000.

• Pinal County Water Augmentation Authority -- $20,000.

• Casa Grande Valley Historical Society -- $34,000.

• Boys and Girls Club of Casa Grande -- $140,000.

Initial approval for 95 CG police officer body cameras

(Posted June 22, 2021)

Video of the May 17 City Council body cams full presentation is HERE.  Click on Item 2.

Video of the June 21 City Council body cams short presentation is HERE (Click on Item I-2)

May 17 full City Council PowerPoint presentation about body cams is HERE.

Staff report from June 21 City Council meeting is HERE

The body cams contract is HERE

Initial approval of purchasing 95 body-worn cameras for Casa Grande police officers was given Monday night by the City Council.

Final approval is expected during the next council meeting.

Details are in the staff report (above).

The council was told that the cameras should operational in two to three months, after purchase, arrival and installation.

Eight local agencies applying for Ak-Chin grants

(Posted June 22, 2021)

Approval was given Monday night by the Casa Grande City Council for local agencies to apply for Ak-Chin Indian Community grants.

You'll find full details of the funding requests and projects by clicking on the organization name below.

In brief, they are:

Casa Grande Alliance -- $22,000 for Pinal County Reentry Project.

Pinal Hispanic Council -- $5,000 for Cesar Chavez scholarship program.

The Opportunity Tree -- $15,000 for Healthy Habits program.

The Museum of Casa Grande -- $5,000 for Weaver Cemetery and xeriscape garden.

Seeds of Hope -- $77,331 for Mondo Anaya Community Center solar panel installation.

City of Casa Grande projects:

Casa Grande Arts and Humanities -- $70,000 for post COVID-return to family outdoor activity by Experiencing Art Through Play.

Casa Grande Community Development Division -- $40,000 for emergency housing repair and accessibility assistance.

Casa Grande Police Department -- $30,000 for team policing.

Under Proposition 202, Arizona tribes agreed to share a portion of their casino revenues, with 12 percent made available to cities, towns or counties for benefiting the general public.

According to the staff report accompanying the agenda item, "The city of Casa Grande would be responsible for the pass-through of these funds. We anticipate this would take approximately 10 hours of staff resources with an approximate cost of less than $500."

Lucid plans review work will continue

(Posted June 12, 2021)

The request for qualifications, with work details, is HERE

Initial approval was given by the city council Monday night for a $200,000 contract to continue building plans review for phase two of the Lucid electric vehicle plant being built on the west side of Casa Grande.

The city Planning and Development Department normally does its own reviews of building plans, but as the staff report accompanying the agenda items notes, this is a situation where the city needs consultants with experience in the design, plan review or construction of electric vehicle facilities.

The contract, with final approval expected during the next council meeting, will go to Shums Coda Associates, a California company that has an Arizona office in Goodyear.

"Shums Coda currently is under contract to provide similar services for the phase one development that is now wrapped up and are currently assisting us with the design-build process for the phase two work," Planning and Development Director Paul Tice told the council.

"That contract is set to expire at the end of this month. This new contract would allows Shums Coda to continue that work through fiscal year 2022," which begins July 1.

The city's earlier request for statements of qualifications said, "It is anticipated that the Phase 2 Lucid facility will entail the construction of a 2.4 million square foot facility ..."

That building is expected to include:

• Body in White expansion. 

• Stamping plant.

• General assembly.

• Powertrain plant.

• General warehousing.

• Supporting and auxiliary structures.

The council's initial approval was unanimous.

Why your secondary city property tax rate is doubling

(Posted June 10, 2021)

Video of the budget presentation is HERE. Click on Item K3

Budget highlights are HERE

The complete tentative budget is HERE

How your city tax bill compares to your total for all county taxing agencies is HERE

Casa Grande's tentative $281,496,256 budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 lowers the primary city property tax rate but more than doubles the secondary property tax rate used to pay off municipal bonds.

Doubling the rate was not something the city wanted to do. It stems from a state law saying excess taxpayer funds cannot be held in a special fund.

If secondary tax collection during a year came to more than needed for bond payments, Casa Grande would put the excess in a fund to be applied at the end of the bonds term. The state said no.

When the preliminary budget was being discussed during Monday night's City Council meeting, Councilman Dick Powell brought up the doubling of the secondary rate from 27.52 cents per hundred dollars of assessed valuation to 57.2 cents.

"The secondary property tax has doubled going into next year," Powell said. "Why is that?"

City Manager Larry Rains offered an explanation.

"The council may recall that approximately two fiscal years ago there was a new (state) statute that essentially established the amount of money that can be retained in our fund balance," he said. "We essentially had a very healthy fund balance in debt service and we had to actually buy that down.

"And so what transpired is that we did not have to levy the full amount of debt payments because we were able to use the fund balances (as mandated by the state), so that drove the tax rate down (to 27.52).

"So now we're essentially levying for the amount of debt service that we would have for our general obligation bonds that were issued in 2006."

Powell responded, "The secondary taxes, I've never seen them jump like that before. That's unique. I don't understand still why.

"And then the total is $1.2 million higher.  And I think the people are going to holler and yell about the taxes going up that amount of money."

Rains pointed out that in past years the secondary rate has been higher than the 27.52 cents during the previous two budgets.

A check of past budgets shows that during FY16 and FY17 the rate was 63.08 cents, as it had been when city budgets were considered in 2012 and 2014. During the 2018 fiscal year the rate was 60.10.

Because of the state mandate that excess funds could not be held, the city used that money in the fund to lower the secondary rate during the past two budget years.

"We're now essentially having to levy an amount sufficient to pay the annual debt service in fiscal year 22, driving back up that rate," Rains said.

"I understand the concern. When the new law came into place and we ended up actually utilizing the fund balance versus collecting that, it actually drove that down and now we're seeing the spike.

"But if you looked at prior years you would see that the average was higher than the 27 cents that was levied the last two fiscal years."

Councilman Matt Herman commented, "So you're saying because state law changed we got punished for having too much fund balance."

Rains responded that, "I don't necessarily know that we would use the word punished.  Typically what we would do is hold that fund balance until the end of the amortization schedule on that debt and would essentially drive that amount down at one time, but because of the change in the statutes, we ultimately had to drive it down and utilize that fund balance.

"Overall, over the amortization life of a bond, the taxpayers are essentially going to pay the same amount. It's just that we had to recognize it midstream versus the end of the term."

Rains said more information about previous years could be provided to the council, a suggestion Powell seconded.

Rains continued that, "What we'll do is provide more data over the longer period of time. I think it will be a better explanation. But essentially what's driving the reduction the last two years was the use of fund balance that we were ultimately using based on the statutory change in the law to comply with that versus at the end where we would normally drive down the tax rate at the very end by using any of the fund balance to service the debt."

The information is needed, Powell said, adding that, "The tar and feathers is getting heated up out there because it jumped that much. That's a big jump."

The vote for the preliminary budget, which can be lowered but not increased, was 6-1, with Powell objecting.

"I vote against at this point in time 'til we figure out the property tax levy," he said.

Change sought in City Court fee assessment policy

(Posted June 9, 2021)

The ordinance is HERE

Other City Court information is HERE

Arizona Supreme Court reports on Fair Justice for All are HERE

Initial approval to changing a City Court assessment policy against those who cannot pay their fines immediately was given Monday night by the Casa Grande City Council.

Final approval of the ordinance is expected during the new council session.

As it stands now, if a person is sentenced and tells the court he cannot immediately pay the fine or fines because he does not have the money, a $20 court security fee can be imposed on the entire case.

The proposed change, which could bring in an additional $20,000 a year to the court security fund, would allow that fee to be imposed on each charge involved.

City Judge Dyani Juarez appeared before the council to explain her request.

"Currently, the fee is assessed when a person is sentenced to pay a fine, they're not able to pay that fine and they go onto a payment plan," Juarez told the council.

"So, we have an individual saying I can't afford to pay my fine, I need payments, and at that time we're assessing an additional fee, where if an individual comes in and they are able to pay their fine at the time it's imposed, then they are not assessed the additional fee.

"Since that ordinance was passed many years ago," Juarez continued, "the courts have taken a hard look at the way we do and how we process things and you hear me preaching about Fair Justice for All and when you look at this ordinance it really doesn't look like it is fair justice for all because we're only assessing the fee when a person comes to us and tells us that they are indigent.

"We are requesting that the fee be assessed to each charge, which essentially means if a person has three charges in one case they could potentially be assessed the fee three times.

"And you might ask, well, how's that fair? Before they would have paid the fee one time, now they are required to pay the fee three times.

"But just keep in mind, under Fair Justice for All we have different tools in the toolbox now, including fine mitigation, so if a person does come and say, hey, you're charging me this fee three times (or how many times), I'm indigent, I really don't have the ability to pay they can always come back and ask the court for fine mitigation and we can take a look at their financial situation and what the fees are that we are assessing and then make a decision as to whether we can reduce some of those fees or waive them altogether."

The council vote for initial approval was unanimous.

Further details on loosening of CG's COVID restrictions

(Posted June 1, 2021)

Casa Grande issued this press release today:

City Proclamation Rescinds Mask Mandate

for Vaccinated Residents

New Mandate Takes Effect Today, June 1

(The full proclamation is HERE)

Casa Grande, AZ – The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted people worldwide and remains the worst public health crisis faced in the United States in over a century. More than 33 million Americans contracted COVID-19 with 879,000 cases landing in Arizona. Over 590,000 Americans have lost their lives including 17,500 Arizonans. Nearly 900 of them were Pinal County residents. A trending decrease in virus caseload has finally taken ahold nationally along with an upward tick of local vaccinations. 

In turn, City of Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland has introduced a Proclamation that rescinds the mask mandate as of today, June 1, 2021. 

According to McFarland, City efforts introduced through the expiring mandate and local community resolve helped to curb COVID-19 community spread. 

“I am very proud of how Casa Grande residents came together to create a significant decline in the number of cases,” said McFarland. “As more citizens get vaccinated, we will get even closer to achieving responsible herd immunity.”

Studies show that full vaccination affords greater than 90% effectiveness at preventing both mild and severe COVID infection – which has helped spark a decline in the number and rate of cases. In accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations including local business and workplace guidance. 

While this Order rescinds the requirement for face coverings in City-owned facilities, the City Court remains subject to the direction of the Arizona Supreme Court and Superior Court of Pinal County and may continue requiring face coverings on and in its premises. Nothing in this new order affects requirements for wearing face coverings in public transportation or as otherwise currently required by federal law or regulation. 

Restaurants can resume full-capacity dining without restrictions and events are no longer limited to size or mitigation measures for approval. City libraries, parks and recreation center will return to normal business hours. Residents may resume in-person attendance at City Council, Boards and Commission meetings and make public comment at those meetings. The temporary moratorium has also expired on late fees for unpaid utility billings and shutoffs, as well as the extension of pet or business licenses.

Nothing in this latest Proclamation prevents a business from setting its own stricter standards for masking and social distancing or from refusing access to anyone not in compliance with those private standards. Folks that have yet to receive vaccination are still urged to wear face coverings and physically distance according to current CDC guidelines.

“I urge all citizens to continue to practice good hygiene,” said McFarland, “and to remain socially aware and conscious of the continued presence of the virus in our community. It’s up to all of us to make sure we continue to succeed.”


Mayor briefly outlines loosening of COVID restrictions

(Posted May 25, 2021)

Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland has briefly outlined the June 1 relaxing of COVID restrictions in the city.

He said a Facebook Live conference will be held Tuesday, June 1, during which additional discussion will take place.

"I will outline the following, it will take effect June 1:" McFarland said in email today to CG News.

• Masks will no longer be required inside city facilities if you have been vaccinated (we will not ask for proof of vaccination, just your honesty).

• Capacities will go back to normal (City Council Chambers, Community Rec Center, all sports facilities and libraries).

• City Council meeting “Call to the Public” will be reinstated effective at our June 7 meeting.

• Recreation Center classes will go back to full capacity (some of the “full class capacity” may be delayed due to a lack of staff).

• City sports facility capacity restriction and spacing requirements will be lifted.

• COVID is still here so we are asking that those who have not been vaccinated wear a mask while inside a city facility.

• If you have not been vaccinated, please do so as soon as possible.

"Stay tuned for more details on June 1," the mayor added.

"I do want to thank staff and our community for being patient and understanding. This has been a very difficult time for everyone. I’m glad we can see the light at the end of the tunnel."

Casa Grande to loosen COVID restrictions June 1

(Posted May 22, 2021)

Video of the mayor's remarks is at Click on Item N, beginning at 7:48 minutes.

Pinal County has this list of locations for COVID vaccinations:

Casa Grande will loosen its COVID restrictions on June 1, Mayor Craig McFarland said during this week's City Council meeting.

"We are going to loosen up our mask requirements in City Hall if you are vaccinated," he said during the reports section at the end of the session.

"June 1 is when we are changing all of our hours on our libraries and our gym, our community rec center, so that will change as well.

"We should be able to increase some of our capacities as long as you are vaccinated and we will increase the capacities here in City Hall for the next City Council meeting on the 7th of June. We will again allow public comment section, so it'll be back on the agenda and we will also have larger capacity in here, as well."

The city has not yet released details about the changes.

"The CDC has changed their guidelines," McFarland said. "If you haven't watched the news broadcasts you wouldn't know, but the CDC did change their guidelines. If you are vaccinated you can go maskless indoors and in groups and spacing has been rescinded."

The easing of Casa Grande mask requirements is for those who are vaccinated, McFarland stressed.

"If you're not vaccinated, we ask that you wear a mask in our public places," he said. "That should be an incentive to go get vaccinated."

Vaccinations are no longer available at the Dorothy Powell Senior Adult Center, McFarland said.

"Sun Life has pulled all the vaccinations back to their health center," he continued, "but you can get vaccinations pretty much everywhere else. You can get it at Walgreens, you can go to CVS and go to your doctor, I think in some cases they have the vaccine. So, don't not go because they closed the Dorothy  Powell vaccination site. Get out there, get the vaccine. If you haven't got the second shot, get the second shot."

McFarland again reminded that, "If you aren't vaccinated you need to wear a mask. That's the rule. Now, we're going to leave that up to you to be the police but again we have to do that for public safety and the safety of those including yourself if you haven't been vaccinated, as well."

In Casa Grande, McFarland said, "The COVID numbers are down, they look really good. The city of Casa Grande actually is for the first time under 40 infections per 100,000. We're at 36, lower than the county and it's lower than the state. So, good numbers, keep up the good work, get vaccinated. It's still not too early or too late to get vaccinated.

"Our numbers are coming down as the direct result of the vaccinations, so please, please go get vaccinated."

Letting cops on the beat bring forth anticrime ideas

(Posted Nov. 25, 2020)

Video of the study session is HERE

The PowerPoint presentation is HERE

The DDACTS presentation from 2016 is HERE

Four years ago, the Casa Grande Police Department began a program known as DDACTS, short for Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety.

It was announced as "a policing crime model used to effectively and efficiently reduce crime, vehicle crashes and social harm in communities, with a strong emphasis on improving the quality of life in the city of Casa Grande.

“The goal is to achieve long term change that encourages law enforcement leaders (and local leaders) to take a data driven approach to the deployment of personnel and resources to reduce crime and crashes.”

Now, the department wants to go deeper, expanding the concept and calling on ideas from officers who patrol the beats, also reaching out to the community. It’s planned to be a way for officers to build their experience.

As Chief Mark McCrory told the City Council during its last meeting, "DDACTS met with success, but what we looked at as a department was trying to drill down into different areas of the community in the five districts that are patrolled regularly.

"Currently we do shift change every six months and what we're going to start doing after this next one is do it yearly and that way, number one, it makes it a little easier for everybody and, number two, it gives officers a solid year to work in one district and the plan that they come up with for this beat team will allow around the clock dealing with certain problems in certain districts in the city."

As the department's Lt. Chris Palmer told the council, "At the end of 2018, going into 2019, we started to reevaluate some of the stuff we were doing, with our major motivation being we believe community policing is a philosophy that should be embedded throughout the entire department versus a handful of programs that are intermittently facilitated and then the cops just go out and do their jobs.

"In an effort to do this and to figure out what would be the best way for us to go, we looked at existing programs like DDACT, for our existing behaviors, academic research, community policing, beat teams.

"Routine activity theory states that three elements must be present for crime to occur, which is motivated offenders, suitable targets and the absence of capable guardians, which is the cornerstone of what we're always dealing with, trying to insure that the community develops their guardianship skills and the offenders are deterred and that that opportunity is suppressed."

Individual teams

Under the proposal, officers would be assigned to individual beat teams.

"This helps to generate communication between that group that isn't always happening right now because of the time differentials in their weekly schedules," Palmer said. "They all work a certain squad and they have a squad cohesion, but we're trying to take that squad cohesion and put it in the beats for beat cohesion.

"The beat teams will help acculturate the community policing philosophy as a grassroots effort throughout the department."

The department has outreach programs such as Coffee With a Cop and the volunteers program, Palmer pointed out, "but we want to take that and say this is your beat, you're the beat team, in your beat at the micro level you will now facilitate your program but you will also build a partnership with your stakeholders ...

"Where we've been doing DDACTS at a city wide level, where we have a hot spot in the city and we instruct officers to work within the district to filter in and out of this hot spot when they can, we realize it would be better if we have hot spots in each district and we had a team in each district that was responsible for their geographical area and that hot spot and they would have a little more ownership and it would be a little more narrowed and so you would have five districts with DDACTS zones instead of one city doing one big DDACS zone.

The goal, Palmer said, is that, “The beat teams will eliminate obstacles which undermine officers’ ability to think outside the box. We’re going to empower these officers where they see a problem to come up with a plan to solve it and then to reach out to community resources both in the city and outside the city that they think may help to achieve that …

"It's going to enhance and bring consistency to internal and external communications through the meetings we will have bimonthly. These groups will invite community members and stakeholders in that geographical area to come to these meetings.

"The first part of the meeting will be open to the public, they'll exchange information, they'll answer questions, they'll get feedback from people there and then the second half of the meeting will be for officers to privately share intelligence, to wrap their heads around what they've learned from the community members and it will be like this real time communication that's just happening.

“These teams will establish greater line-level autonomy, generating more flexible and response service delivery. The autonomy is good for problem solving, for internal development and generating ownership and it builds leaders within the department, which is also crucial for us right now.”

Look to the future

New leaders will be needed, Chief McCrory told the council, because of impending retirements.

“In the next four years,” he continued, “we're going to lose seven supervisors and we only have 15. We're going to lose additional in the year following that.

“So part of the idea there is to give officers a chance to problem solve and kind of step up amongst their peers to come up with different ideas and hopefully through all that process rise to the occasion and fill our supervisory ranks, because we are going to be missing a lot of talent and a lot of experience … so we need something to fill that void and we thought this would be a benefit for everybody.”

Palmer told the council that research shows that some departments fail at community policing because they talk about the programs but don’t put them into deeper action on the streets, “do just standard routine police work.”

In Casa Grande, he continued, “our guys do a great job, but this is going to take us to another level, because the problem solving and having a partnership with the community is what I think we're missing, where we do invite community members to get involved, when we go out and we actually solicit them for problem solving and we're meeting in their neighborhoods, in their communities bimonthly with them and they have that input.

“There's also a social media model to this where we market the program. We're working with the web designer currently for an interactive map on-line so they can go to the city website, they can click on their district, they can either type in their address to find out what district they're in, what beat, or they can click on the district and it’ll open up. It'll be the sergeant and the squad members that are assigned to the beat team, it’ll have emails and phone numbers, we'll share information on upcoming meetings and where they will be held and things like that. There may be some challenging going into the first part of the year as we slow roll this out with COVID, we may be looking at some more on-line meetings.”

The overall target, Palmer said, “obviously, is the police administration, line level supervisors, the officers, our civilian personnel and our volunteers, and we're already introducing this to them, external partners, citizens, city partners.

“This could be a city department director or it could also be just a private business owner, business community partners, social service stakeholders and clergy. And these will be key members invited to our meetings. 

Introduction meetings with command supervisors and line level personnel, this is happening now, we're actually at the point where we're going to start having meetings going into December with the squads and we're going to start establishing some of the profiles and things like that. The team members are going to change come February when we have another shift bid, and then we'll have kind of a dry run through June.”

City Council views

Councilman Dick Powell

“I thought this was such a great idea when I saw it,” Powell said. “If you look at the Fire Department, they have crews and they have guys there that work together and they have a sense of pride and a sense of accomplishment as a crew. If you had a football team and you just keep sending new people in there, keep changing, they're not going to win any games.

“I think this is like community policing on steroids, breaking it into groups and then making those connections in the different areas that you're working in, it's a great, great idea.

Powell said that when an organization has a team, “you get informal leaders on that team and those are the ones you may want to pick out and promote or to move up. The chief talks about the department might be missing some people. I think the team idea is just really good.”

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen 

Kortsen asked how dependent the department will be on grants for the program.

Palmer replied that, “It's dependent on grant funding, but we don't think it's going to cost so much that if grant funding is limited, we can't offset it or work around it. We do believe we're going to incur overtime, with grant funding or without we're going to incur, but we have some wiggle room and then we have the flexibility of scheduling and how we schedule it. We could move from a bimonthly to a quarterly meeting temporarily, depending on grant availability. But right now it looks very positive. Our grants, we've never had an issue requiring them, we have several on the books right now that we're using for this training in our rollout. We have one we just acquired. It's sitting there waiting as we do our dry run. And we believe that most of that's going to take care of a lot of those issues.”

Kortsen responded that, “I would hate to see this take steps backward just because of the lack of funding. Reading that multi-page report that I had and everything else, this is so important to our community that I love the idea. Let's do as many grants as possible. But I would not like to see us take a step back because of lack of funding.”

Councilwoman Donna McBride

McBride said, “First of all, I think it's a great idea for retention effort because we've got to start looking at how we can keep these officers that we have and move them up and the best way to do that is to intertwine them in leadership. So I love that concept.”

She asked if thought had been given to how the Police Advisory Board could fit into the program.

Chief McCrory responded, “Obviously, I think they would play a part in it. They're looking for ways to get involved. They're looking for ways to get the word out.

“Plus, I also think that on the flip side of that, the more interactions that we have with different pockets of the city (the better), because there will be interactions on this. It may not be standing room only, you know, but they'll be more than we're doing right now outside the concept of, like, Coffee With a Cop. These will actually be areas and meetings where we're actually talking to people about the issues in their neighborhood, not just glad-handing, how are you doing and all that.”

Palmer added, “We would invite (the advisory board) to the meetings and propose that with the seven members, they just maybe designate one member or two members to go to a certain meeting and they all spread out and then they come back together and they can talk about what they learned.

“The idea behind this is to really get the squads or the officers to come together and share their information and their needs and their issues within the beats, but also doing this with the people that live in those communities so that instead of being reactive, they're being more proactive to the problem solving and it's going to generate some openness, communication.

Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons

“I’m happy to see that you're trying something new, of course, with everything going on in the country with police officers,” Fitzgibbons said. “I’m happy to see that you're trying something new to be transparent and open the communication levels in the community. So I'm really excited about it. I think it's going to be great. 

“But, of course, you know what? I was looking at the pros and cons. I just wanted to make sure, you know, first of all, is there buy-in? How does the department feel about doing it? I really hope that they're seeing this as something positive, but I was curious about that. 

“And, then, how are you going to determine those teams?”

There’s a process for selection, Palmer responded.

“In the meetings we've had up to this point with the supervisors and some of the initial meetings with the squads,” he said, “we have an officer group that represents all of the squads, where there's a representation from every squad. The supervisor group, officer group right now completely on board, very supportive, no main major issues. They had some questions, but they understood it. They liked the idea. 

“And as we start rolling it out to the actual line level, I believe we're going to have the same response. I've spoken to a lot of them one on one and shared it with them. We've been talking about this for a year, so it's not new to them. We've been going through the stages to roll it out.

“On selection, officers go to a squad, they bid for their squad based on seniority.”

Councilman Matt Herman

“What I liken it to is the DDACTS program seemed to work very well,” Herman said. “We got one big area, but this is going to have its own like little districts now. The people in those districts are going to know what the problems are and who the problems are. And I really appreciate that you said the bi monthly meetings, but they're going to meet.  

“Chief, you've always been really good with this in the last couple of years keeping us up to date on your plans, moving forward with personnel. You're to be commended, all of you, for using this program to help help us bring them up through the ranks as well. So I'm a really big fan of that. So I just hope you get good buy-in. And I think it's a great plan.

Councilman Bob Huddleston

Huddleston, a former Casa Grande police chief, said, “Chris, I applaud you guys for taking this on and pushing in that direction. I also appreciate you mentioning that community policing has been around for a long time. It takes different forms and different titles and there's been successes and failures across the country. 

“The issues at hand generally are building strong partnerships with the community. Sometimes it's tough to get people involved. I mean, nobody wants crime in their neighborhood, but sometimes attending a meeting and sticking with it is difficult for people. So no doubt partnerships and communications are key in the program. 

“I know I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but I also wrote down how do we measure success? And I don't know if there's a solid answer to that, but I understand getting the buy-in from the officers that are actually going to be out there performing these duties. 

“And that's very good. But I think we need to stick with them as far as measuring success and ask them six months down the road, a year down the road, is this working? And if not working, what are our challenges? What are we missing? 

“It's still difficult to keep five shift officers communicating and focused on the same problem within their district. There'll be some that that will jump all over that and be gung-ho and want to make that work on a daily basis and there may be others that don't really buy into it. 

“So, I as I said, I applaud you guys for taking it on. I do think this is the future of policing. I think it's important and I think it's important for our community. I just encourage you to stick with it and keep pounding it out. I think it'll work if given the right direction.”

Palmer responded that, “One of the things is we have something built into the program, which is quarterly evaluations. So quarterly we'll look at qualitative and quantitative data in the form of interviews with the officers and surveys and also with the citizens who will participate to garner that information and determine its success or failures so we can change the profiles if need be. 

“And this is something that the beat teams will do. The officers will do this. They will be gathering this information. We will at a certain level for a command perspective also be looking at the crime rate reduction, things like that from the bird's eye view. 

“But they're going to be dealing with that to gather information from their communities to find out, hey, do we need to adjust the beat profile going forward? Do we need to change our focus here, do  we need to re-evaluate? “You know, that kind of thing. So that's part of that to help us deal with those issues you just mentioned.”

Two drive-thru events for Halloween in CG

(Posted Oct. 24, 2020)

The Casa Grande Fire Department posted these notices today:

Casa Grande Fire Department will be participating in 2 spooktackular DRIVE-THRU events. 

On Friday, Oct. 30, we will be partnering with local businesses and Casa Grande Police Department at AZ New Horizon Realty Homes, 3860 N. Pinal Ave., from 3-6 p.m.

On Saturday, Oct. 31, we will be partnering with CGPD at the Casa Grande Union High School for their Halloween drive-thru from 5:30-7:30 p.m. 

All covid safety measures will be in place.

COVID help still available for businesses, nonprofits

(Posted Sept. 1, 2020)

The city posted this announcement today:

Companies have faced challenging circumstances throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have struggled to maneuver through continuously evolving impediments to economic viability and sustainability. Achieving a sense of normality has been a moving target.

In mid-August, Casa Grande launched CG CARES to extend financial assistance to qualifying businesses and federally recognized nonprofits for a one-time reimbursement up to $10,000. 

Although reviews have begun, applications are still being accepted through Sept. 11 at 5 p.m.

Thus far, $104,927 of the $500,000 program allotment has been awarded to local businesses and nonprofits. 

Sixty-two applications have been received, 23 reviewed and 19 awarded funding. However, 18 have yet to meet eligibility because their applications lack full documentation. 

As the city works to acquire more information, it has an important reminder to those seeking assistance that only fully completed and documented applications will potentially qualify for available funding. Applications are reviewed and approved on a first-come, first-served basis. Companies must demonstrate a loss of 25 percent  revenue or more. Nonprofits must also explain how new or modified programming has benefited the community during and in dealing with the COVID-19 incident.

Applicable small businesses and non-profits are reimbursed with rent, mortgage, utilities and/or the purchase of personal protective equipment from March-April-May 2020 or April-May-June 2020. 

Companies that have received prior federal assistance are eligible for CG CARES funding consideration on a pro-rated basis. 

To apply, visit or obtain a physical application from the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall, 510 E. Florence Blvd. Applicants may also contact program coordinator Mackenzie Letcher at 421-8600, ext 1251. Additional small business resources and COVID-19 community assistance remains available online.

Help available for local businesses hit by COVID-19

(Posted Aug. 12, 2020)

The city made this announcement today:

The COVID-19 global pandemic has waged a devastating battle against life and livelihood for many. National and local economies have endured serious blows to progress made in recent years. The virus has unfortunately forced many to fight on multiple fronts at once.

The city of Casa Grande has worked hard to provide the community with vital COVID-19 resources and small business assistance. 

Today, the city is launching Casa Grande CARES to financially assist qualifying local businesses and federally recognized non-profits with a one-time reimbursement up to $10,000.

The city encourages local companies and organizations to apply for this program if they have been negatively impacted by Arizona’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” executive order issued by Gov. Doug Ducey to help contain the spread of COVID-19. 

It reimburses applicable small business and non-profit rent, mortgage, utilities expenses and/or the purchase of personal protective equipment from March-April-May 2020 or April-May-June 2020. 

Applications will be accepted now through Sept. 11 at 5 p.m. 

Funding will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Qualified applicants must be located at a physical, commercial address within city boundaries. Individual Arizona franchised businesses cannot be owned by a national chain or out-of-state corporation. Companies are ineligible if they have received prior federal assistance.

Apply early at or pick up an application from the City Clerk’s Office in City Hall.  

Please contact Mackenzie Letcher at or 421-8600, ext. 1251, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

CG's July 4 drive-in fireworks celebration back on

(Posted July 1, 2020)

Casa Grande city government posted this announcement this afternoon about 4th of July fireworks display:

City of Casa Grande Moves Forward with Drive-In Fourth of July

The city of Casa Grande will move forward with the original plan for the Fourth of July -- a drive-in style fireworks display on Saturday, July 4, at Ed Hooper Park located at 2525 N. Pinal Ave. 

The parking lot will open at 7 p.m. with fireworks beginning at 9 p.m.

In taking this moment to celebrate our great nation, please remember that COVID-19 is still a rising threat to the health and well-being of our community. We must all do our part to ensure the health and safety of everyone in attendance by following strict physical distancing guidelines. 

Parking spaces will be outlined to allow for proper physical distancing. It is imperative that families stay within their provided space to enjoy the show, no congregating at other sites. 

The community is asked to attend the event only with members of their household. If you are unable to safely distance yourself from others outside of your household, a face covering is required.

Concessions will not be available onsite. 

Restroom facilities and hand-washing stations will be located throughout the parking lot. 

At the conclusion of the fireworks display, attendees will need to exit the lot immediately, no congregating will be allowed.

The fireworks display will be streamed live on the city of Casa Grande's Facebook page:

For more information on this year's Fourth of July Drive-In Celebration, follow Casa Grande Parks and Recreation on social media or call (520) 421-8677.

More COVID-19 closings for Casa Grande

(Posted June 29, 2020)

Casa Grande issued this announcement early this evening:

City Pools, Recreation Center and Some Library Services Set to Close Tonight, 8pm

Today, Gov. Doug Ducey issued a new executive order to address the rising spread of COVID-19 throughout Arizona. 

The new mandate prohibits large gatherings, ceases the issuance of new special event licenses and pauses the operations of bars, gyms, movie theaters, waterparks and tubing rentals. 

This pause takes effect tonight at 8 p.m. for one month.   

In response, the city of Casa Grande is set to close its public pools, splash pad, recreation center and internal library services. Library curbside and online services will remain available. 

In adherence to public events of less than 50 people, the city will still host the Fourth of July celebration but will not allow for public gathering on the grounds or drive-up participation as originally planned. Residents are encouraged to take in the spectacular show from the comfort of their homes and yards. 

Additional details surrounding the Fourth of July will be shared with the public in the coming days.

Casa Grande opening more recreation activities

(Posted June 15, 2020)

Casa Grande made these announcements today:

Palm Island Family Aquatic Park

Opens June 15

Casa Grande is following CDC guidelines and taking a cautious, measured approach to opening every facility. In keeping the safety of our citizens at the forefront and with physical distancing recommendations still in place, the Palm Island Family Aquatic Park will open on Monday, June 15, with structured programming for both youth and adults:

Youth Swim Team

Youth ages 5-17 will learn various swim strokes in a team environment. This will be practices only, no meets will be held. Register HERE

Lap Swim

Monday through Friday in one-hour increments from 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The cost is $1 per person and limited to one hour. Lap swim is drop-in on a first come, first serve basis. You must be 16+ to participate.

Aqua Fitness

This class is designed for those who would like a good cardio and conditioning workout with less stress on the knees, ankles and legs. Register HERE

Lap swim and Aqua Fitness are included in your Community Recreation Center membership. Please call 520-421-8677 to have your membership reinstated prior to heading over to the pool.

Splash Pad

Open noon-4 p.m, closed from 3-4 p.m. for cleaning

The splash pad at Carr McNatt Park is now open with some temporary guidelines in place. A temporary fence was installed at the park to allow our staff to limit the capacity and safely monitor the number of patrons allowed in the area while allowing for physical distancing. Families will be limited to 30 minutes of play at a time. Staff will blow a whistle to indicate when your session has ended and the next group will enter the area.

Youth Sports & Field Rentals

At this time, practices with groups of 10 or less are allowed in our parks system. Teams and coaches should look to maintain physical distancing at all times. Parents or coaches that have specific questions regarding youth sports practices should refer to the governor’s guidance for organized youth activities HERE.

Casa Grande’s Parks and Recreation office is not taking reservations for field rentals at this time; however O’Neil Park and Kiwanis Field have ball fields that can be used on a first-come basis for baseball and softball. Multi-purpose fields for soccer, football or general sports are also available at Carr McNatt, Dave White Park and other open spaces throughout the parks system. The open space at Villago Park is closed, however, for turf renovation. Learn more HERE

Community Recreation Center Expands Hours

Starting Monday, June 15, we will be expanding our hours and reservations will no longer be required to work out.

Monday - Thursday: 6:00 am - 8:00 pm and Friday: 6:00 am - 5:00 pm

Amenities available

Fitness loft

Walking track

Gymnasium reservations required due to limited space

Beginning June 22

Group Fitness Classes will resume with limited capacity

(Announcement and schedule are HERE)

Virtual events

We understand that your families look forward to our summer activities each year. With the community's health and safety in mind, we have made the tough decision to switch from in-person summer programming to virtual activities. Registration will include all supplies for the activity and a personalized link to connect with the instructor. Registration is now open:

Little Einsteins 

Fun science experiments for kids ages 5-12

Virtual Cheer Camp

Children ages 5-10 will be taught a variety of dance moves


Little Picassos & Art Daze

Kids ages 4-12 will experiment with various art mediums

Register HERE

How should Casa Grande spend CARES Act money?

(Posted May 29. 2020)

Casa Grande city government posted this today:

Casa Grande residents and businesses are still experiencing hardship in their lives and livelihoods resulting from the ripple effects of COVID-19. While the pace varies for individual recovery, Casa Grande is committed to helping the community Come Back S.M.A.R.T. and stronger than before. 

This week, the City learned it is eligible to receive $6,731,338 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act relief and recovery funding from the state to support local businesses affected by the pandemic and 501(c)(3) nonprofits that provide food and aid to individuals impacted. 

Currently, the city is establishing the process and requirements by which local organizations can apply to receive this funding. 

Mayor Craig McFarland and the City Council want to hear from residents, as well as non-profits and businesses on how they think money should be spent.

"We are providing an avenue for the community to voice their ideas on what is impactful to their recovery," explained McFarland. "Public recommendations will be considered for inclusion in the city's final plan." 

The following are examples of how these dollars could be utilized: 

• Expenses to provide economic support for the COVID-19 public health emergency.

• Local small business grants and loans to reimburse businesses for rent, lease and utility expenses incurred during the COVID-19 emergency.

• Payroll shortfalls, taxes and related support programs.

• Reimbursement for business costs related to the purchasing of personal protection equipment (PPE) and other materials that help adhere to recommended COVID-19 health practices (i.e., one-use wipeable menus, PPE for employees and customers).

• Unemployment insurance, if this cost is not reimbursed by the federal government through the CARES Act or otherwise.

• Expenses to facilitate compliance with COVID-19 related public health measures.

• Costs for food pantries and food delivery to residents, including senior citizens and other vulnerable populations.

• Temporary housing for individuals/families, along with rent and utility assistance. 

• Day care costs.

• Expenses for the purchase of PPE for at-risk individuals. 


The public may email suggestions to the city Public Information Office by close of business on Wednesday, June 3. 

Please visit online to stay up-to-date on small business resources, individual help and department re-openings.

CG getting $6 million-plus in coronavirus relief funds

(Posted May 27, 2020)

Pinal County issued this statement today:

The Pinal County Board of Supervisors has today dropped its lawsuit against the federal government, after Gov. Doug Ducey announced distribution of CARES Act funds to the Arizona counties, cities and towns which had yet to receive funding.

CARES is short for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security.

Gov. Ducey announced a $441 million distribution, of which Pinal County will receive $27,170,006.

Additionally, cities and towns in Pinal County (population in parens) will receive the following:

• Casa Grande (58,632) $6,731,338

• Apache Junction** (42,236) $4,848,970

• Coolidge (13,130) $1,507,410

• Eloy (19,625) $2,253,079

• Florence (27,422) $3,148,226

• Kearny (2,168) $248,901

• Mammoth (1,687) $193,679

• Maricopa (52,127) $5,984,522

• Queen Creek** (5,922) $679,884

• Superior (3,178) $364,855

• Winkelman** (3) $344

**These cities and towns cross county borders, figures represent portion in Pinal County.

Carr McNatt splash pad opens June 1, with limitations

(Posted May 27, 2020)

The Casa Grande Parks and Recreation Department posted this today:

Remaining Park amenities will reopen on Monday, June 1, including the splash pad at Carr McNatt Park. 

A temporary fence was installed at the park to allow our staff to limit the capacity and safely monitor the number of patrons allowed in the area while allowing for physical distancing. 

Families will be limited to 30 minutes of play at a time. Staff will blow a whistle to indicate when your session has ended and the next group will enter the area. 

The splash pad will close daily from 3-4 p.m. for cleaning. 

More CG city services will reopen, mayor says

(Posted May 19, 2020)

Some Casa Grande city services have reopened and others will be soon, Mayor Craig McFarland told the City Council at the end of Monday night's meeting.

In his words:


As of May 8, the dog park is open, the gun range is open, North Mountain Park is open for hiking, the ramadas remain closed.

Park amenities opened on May 11, so that's the pickleball and tennis courts.

And then May 16 we opened the basketball and volleyball courts and the skate park.

We will look at opening on May 26 most of the remaining park amenities, which would be the ramadas, but no  reservations will be taken yet. We're not going to allow large crowds. But we're going to open the ramadas so people can sit there are have lunch or picnic or whatever. But again, not in large numbers, because right now the number for congregating is still 10.

The playgrounds will open, also.

So, May 26, the day after Memorial Day, the ramada, playgrounds, splash pad opened on limited hours. We will have supervision there and we'll have limited participation.

Non-gated sports fields also will open. Again, we're not taking any reservations, no leagues, no games, that sort of thing, but the fields will be open so people can throw the ball around.


As far as special events, the primary one coming up is obviously Fourth of July. I'm working with City Manager Larry Rains and staff, we're also working with Community Services Director Steve Hardesty to kind of figure out what we can and can't do with regards to Fourth of July. We might might even have a little more information this Wednesday when we have our (City Council budget) retreat.

Again, no group gatherings planned until further notice.


We're looking at opening it on June 1. Again, limited activities.

Programming will be dependent on lifeguard training and availability, so there's still some 'what if' in there. Adult programs under supervision and then limited participation such as lap swim, water aerobics and water zumba. 

Youth programming at the aquatics center will include such things as team swims, so the swim teams will probably come back around June 1. So keep an eye out for that.

All this information we will have available probably by midweek on the (city) website. (https:/


Len Colla is also going to open and we're actually looking at a partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs, more information to come. I know Larry's going to give a little bit of an update when we do the Community Services Department (at the retreat).

Still some work that's being worked out in terms of what that looks like, but the Boys and Girls Club is actually going to help us to open the Len Colla Center sooner. Otherwise it probably have been delayed in terms of its opening. Again, more information to come.


The Dorothy Powell Senior Center, we continue to do the home delivery meal programs that are currently offered, We'll continue drive-up congregate meals, so people can drive up to pick up congregate meals. Transportation program is suspended indefinitely right now. In-house programming is also suspended indefinitely right now.

Obviously, our seniors are our most vulnerable, so we're being very cautious with regards to opening that back up.


Dave White golf course will continue operating under the new recommended social distancing. We call it a touchless golf experience basically, which means nobody touches the flag pole, there's little doilies down in the hole so when the ball goes down it just drops just so far. There's no rakes, so if you get in the sand, sorry.

Also offering single-riding carts.

That's the way they've been operating.

Again, no shotgun, no large groups, no gatherings, that sort of thing.


The Community Recreation Center, we are looking to reopen on May 26.

When it opens, it will be on a limited basis.

There will be two three-hour blocks. There's a morning three-hour block and an evening three-hour block. There will be cleaning in between those blocks. 

Again, limited hours, limited service.

The walking track will be open, fitness and individual fitness will be open. We'll probably have them every other one open to keep people six feet apart. 

Strict limits on participants in the building. No group fitness at this point in time.

If you are a member, we suspended the tracking of that membership when we closed the Community Rec Center down. So now if you go back on May 26 and you scan your number in, then you will get credit from the times we closed to the time you start to go back. 

If you don't feel comfortable and you don't go back for another 30 days, it doesn't start until you go back in and you scan.

We think that's pretty fair and I think it's a good idea.

On June 15, the Rec Center will then resume standard hours, which is 5:15 to 8 p.m. There'll be a regular thorough cleaning schedule throughout the day. 

The walking track, fitness lofts and individual fitnesses obviously will be operating and then we'll look at limited group fitness classes. 

That schedule again to be determined. Depends on the size and what type of limitations we still have come June 15.


The library services will reopen, the main library, on May 19. It will entail curbside pickup, limited hours, walk-in pickup offered. You have to reserve on-line, e-mail or phone.

Full service, walk-in type operation, the computers will probably be every other one, there'll be the six-foot limitation. Looks like we'll start that June 15.

The Vista Grande location is still to be determined. It's probably going to coincide with what the school does. So that one will remain closed for now.

Should CG community get more covid-19 assistance?

(Posted May 5, 2020)

The Police Department summary of the grant request and its uses is HERE

The list of Arizona entities getting grants is HERE

Simple ways to make face masks are found HERE

The agenda item at Monday night's Casa Grande City Council meeting was for accepting a U.S. Department of Justice grant of $64,568 for coronavirus emergency supplemental funding for first responders.

The Police Department had requested the money, part of which will be shared with the Fire Department.

The request was approved, but most of the discussion was about whether Casa Grande is doing enough anti virus efforts for regular citizens.

"What are we doing for our community?" Councilman Dick Powell asked. "I know we need to make sure that Fire and Police have the uniforms and equipment to do their jobs and we appreciate what they do.

"What I'm wondering, I know where in the summertime we had police carrying water and water available from different people around town.

"I also saw over the weekend that Casa Grande is the hotbed for covid-19 in Pinal County and that's not a good thing, but I guess we deal with it."

Powell continued, "I would like to see some of this money, a little bit of it, going to buy face masks and gloves that Police and Fire could hand out when necessary to people, like we do on the water.

"I went to Walgreens today and I bought the last package they had of face masks. The public's unable, in large part, to find out where to get face masks. And also the gloves are not available. I got the last one, 50 pieces for $30, on the face masks. It was the last one they had.

"So, how are people going to be safe? I know it's great for the people that work for the city to be safe, but it's also good for people that live in the city to be safe.

"And I don't think we're reaching out enough to our community to make sure that we have face masks available and that we have gloves available. I mentioned this once before because so many people don't know that and put themselves in danger when not able to mask up like they're supposed to."

Powell said he would like to see the grant acceptance resolution amended "to maybe take a thousand dollars or whatever out of that and use for the community's benefit."

That's not possible, Police Chief Mark McCrory responded.

"That grant specifically limits to how the money from that grant can be used and it can be used for police overtime or police equipment only," he said. "It doesn't allow for us, our first responders, to hand those out."

Powell then said, "So, it doesn't do anything for the community. It does protect our officers, which is very important.

"But I go back to what I said in the beginning. I do not think we are handling the community properly in Casa Grande and if it's not being able to be done by that (grant), then I would like to see us provide some money to come up. You could have these things at fire departments or police cars or whatever.

"I understand, chief, that budgets are budgets, so the money has to be spent as provided for but I just think in the community we're not doing a good job on reaching out and protecting the people in our community."

Police Lt. Christopher Palmer answered that, "Purchases of certain PPE (personal protection equipment) gear has been restricted by the federal government and the World Health Organization from community members intentionally because of the inability for public safety and hospitals to acquire it for their staff, who are the front lines. 

"So there's a reason why citizens can't just go on Amazon and purchase this equipment. It's been blocked off, it's been locked out. Unless you are a registered public safety organization or a hospital you can't purchase that equipment, because it's limited. 

"This grant was designed specifically for us and Chief McCrory allocated $20,000 of this grant to the Fire Department, as well, for all of us to be able to purchase the needed PPE for the officers and firefighters."

Powell said he supported that 100 percent.

City Manager Larry Rains said, "As the chief and Lt. Palmer have outlined in their response, this particular grant is funding that has to be used for specific uses.

"But based on what I'm hearing from the council this evening, what I will do, and I know the mayor is part of the conversation we have three times a week with the county, is we will make inquiries about whether or not, number one, there's any available funds through the federal government that could be available for these types of personal protective equipment items. Second, if there's not any funding that can be found then ultimately we will do some research from a city perspective."

Rains pointed out that, "I know that there are a number of local residents that are making face masks. They are not, as Lt. Palmer has pointed out, the M-95 masks but I know that the CDC and the surgeon general at the federal level have encouraged individuals that cannot obtain one of these higher-quality masks to begin to wear really practically anything that they can manufacture. And there are some YouTube videos that show how to make a personal mask. (See above linker examples)

"But ultimately I do think that the community has been very supportive through a number of people making masks that we could begin to identify some sources, as well."

Mayor Craig McFarland said, "We have been very active in this area with the county and there are masks out there available. I'm going to ask (city public information officer Latonya Jordan-Smith) if she will please follow up tomorrow and we'll put on our website, covid-19 website, locations that people can go to buy this product."

Powell interjected, "Mayor, you're my hero tonight."

The mayor continued, "It's starting to come in and I know a pharmacy in town that has access to a lot of it. We'll put that under covid-19 on our website,, and we'll have all the locations around the county so  they can find this product. Will that help?"

Powell responded, "Oh, yeah, mayor. Thank you so much. Give it our best effort and I think that's what you're setting up to do and I trust that you'll be successful at that.

"I also want to go back to all of the first responders, you guys are our heroes and so we definitely want to make sure that you're protected and have access to the money and the things you need as you do your job."

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen had suggested that the council schedule a time to discuss assistance to the community.

McFarland said, "We can have a further conversation on the public assistance grants, which we are not getting from the federal government. Unlike Mesa which got $90 million, we have received nothing. So I want to make sure that's clear."

Powell asked, "Does it look like we'll get any, mayor, or is it that we're totally ignored?"

The mayor responded, "At this point in time, we're being ignored, but it's not a deadend. We can talk a little more about that later."

Because it was not an agenda item, the issue could not be discussed Monday night.

County: Review ZIP code coronavirus lists with caution

(Posted April 14, 2020)

Pinal County issued this announcement today:

Review COVID-19 Data with Caution

On April 12, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) updated its COVID-19 dashboard to provide additional information, which includes the case counts broken down by zip code (scroll down to next item). 

Pinal County is providing the link on our website. 

As people view and interpret the data, the Pinal County Public Health Services District (PCPHSD) would like to highlight the following important points:

The data provided only reflects individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. Actual numbers of COVID-19 cases are likely much larger than the positive cases reflected by current testing.

For every confirmed case on the map, there are likely dozens of people who have not been tested but have the virus across Pinal County.

The map reflects the home address of COVID-19 cases, and does not indicate where individual contracted COVID-19 or where they have travelled to once infectious. Therefore, the map does not necessarily indicate where the risk of coming in contact with the virus is highest.

Zip code counts include anyone in that zip code who has tested positive, whether the infection has resolved or is currently active. Therefore, new data may not represent the current risk in a community.

Although physical distancing guidelines are in place, people do not always remain within their own zip code when conducting essential business.

Testing has shown that COVID-19 is widespread throughout all of Pinal County. Recent evidence shows that people can transmit COVID-19 even when they do not have symptoms and that the testing only shows a fraction of active COVID-19 cases in Pinal County. 

Any Pinal County resident who is not practicing preventative measures increases their chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Continuing these measures and our commitment, is essential to keeping ourselves and each other safe. These preventative measures include washing hands for at least 20 seconds, not touching one’s face, practicing physical distancing, and wearing a face covering when in public settings.

In conclusion, PCPHSD agrees with Dr. Cara Christ, director of ADHS, stating zip code data is informative, but it should not be used to determine whether or not residents of particular zip codes are or are not at risk of COVID-19.

Additional information is available on the Arizona Department of Health Services website.

County launches information site for COVID-19 

(Posted April 14, 2020)

Pinal County posted this today:

Pinal County Launches "Pinal Works" for the Business and Workforce Community Impacted by COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to impact multiple industries and create record-high unemployment throughout thenNation, Pinal County has launched "Pinal Works," a one-stop-shop resource library for businesses and citizens who experience economic hardship during this very challenging time.

To visit Pinal Works, go to

For individuals, the site provides access to services offered by ARIZONA@WORK Pinal County. These include: 

• Unemployment insurance assistance.

• Education and training opportunities. 

• Other re-employment assistance services.

For our business community, Pinal Works offers access to organizations that are helping business owners navigate through the numerous programs and resources available at this time, such as:

• U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

• U.S. Small Business Administration.  

• Arizona Commerce Authority. 

• Gov. Ducey's site Arizona Together.

Easter weekend restrictions in Casa Grande parks

(Posted April 9, 2020)

The city announced this today:

Casa Grande park restrictions will be in place this Easter weekend -- Saturday and Sunday, April 11 and 12 -- to help contain the spread of COVID-19. 

The following will be closed and prohibited to use in Casa Grande parks:

• Park ramadas

• Pop-up tents and canopies

• Picnicking

• Public grills

• Portable grills

All other restrictions will remain in effect until further notice. 

All trails, paths, and open spaces will be open. Physical distancing guidelines recommended by the CDC apply in these areas.

First coronavirus deaths in Pinal County

Posted April 8, 2020)

Pinal County posted this today:

Pinal County Announces First Deaths
Resulting From COVID-19

Pinal County Public Health Department is saddened to report two deaths in the county as a result of COVID-19. These are the first deaths resulting from the virus in Pinal County.
Both patients suffered from underlying health conditions. The first was a male in his 70s, the second a male in his 80s. The county expresses its deepest sympathies to family and friends of both individuals.
Pinal County's current case count related to COVID-19 can be viewed on the County website at
COVID-19 is widespread throughout all of Pinal County. Recent evidence shows that people can transmit COVID-19 even when they do not have symptoms and that testing only shows a fraction of active COVID-19 cases in Pinal County.
With the testing that has been conducted, we can confirm that COVID-19 has spread throughout all areas of Pinal County. Any Pinal County resident who is not practicing preventative measures increases their chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.

Coronavirus information, ideas from CG City Council

(Posted April 7, 2020)

Coronavirus information and guides for businesses may be found at:

Video of the session, Item N

Monday night's Casa Grande City Council meeting had only Mayor Craig McFarland at the dais. The other six council members were participating by telephone, another action the city is taking to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

It was a meeting covering views of the mayor and council on the situation and words of praise for doctors, nurses, first responders and city employees.

Questions were raised and information was given.

Lisa Fitzgibbons

Several avenues of help are available, Fitzgibbons said.

"CAHRA (Community Action Human Resources Agency) has a program where they are helping," she continued. "United Way is still helping with the income taxes, even though that was extended until July 15, to provide a program for those in need.

"There's a lot of mental health issues and I hope people do reach out to those services that are available. There's even a help line for mental health, which is 480-983-0065."

Fitzgibbons said she hopes everyone in the community follows Gov. Doug Ducey's coronavirus executive order and stays inside as much as possible.

"The numbers are growing in Arizona, 117 in Pinal County," she said, "and of course we don't know how many of those are in Casa Grande. I appreciate the mayor and the mayors of Pinal County pushing to try to get our numbers, but at this point we just have to act like we are surrounded by people who may have this virus and do what we can to protect ourselves and our community.

"We're praying for everyone and their families and appreciate the health care workers and the small businesses that are keeping their doors open, those supplying the groceries and products that are needed. 

"There's so many people doing great things and we have such a great community and I just pray for everyone to be safe and healthy." 

Mary Kortsen 

"I want to thank all the people who show up every day to support us in the utilities, groceries, health care, education, government," Kortsen said. "Be kind and thank them for showing up and serving you in all ways.

"Also, if you have the chance to tip a person, tip them double or more, it means so much financially and emotionally."

Kortsen said the deadline to apply for the Payroll Protection Program is June 30.

"I don't want that date to get lost as people go apply for this," she continued. "I want to make sure, particularly our very small businesses realize there is that deadline.

"Other than that, I thank everyone for helping in these difficult times."

Donna McBride

"I echo what everybody has already said," McBride said.

"A special thanks to the city staff and the leadership of City Manager Larry Rains and Deputy City Manager Steven Weaver. I know these are difficult times for our staff and we have people still working, even though they wanted to be home with their own families and children.

"As one of those essential workers (at McBride's job with Pinal County) I understand their fear and their commitment, so I just want to say thank you to them.

"And then also Mayor McFarland, thank you for your leadership."

Dick Powell

"I appreciate every comment that's been made and I appreciate you for what's going on to work together," Powell said.

"I think one of the things that's come out of this, which hasn't really been something that's happened, is right now we actually have in Washington the House and the Senate working together bipartisan to get things done that need to be done for our country. I appreciate the leadership and all the ones that serve in Washington and Congress and I thank our governor, our president, are absolutely at the top of the list, our mayor has done an excellent job keeping us informed.

"But I think what is really, we're helping each other now. We've kind of stepped back to a time when people helped each other normally and I know a lot of people are helping out. The restaurants, they can't have people coming in but they're opening there (for take out) and they're doing tips when they pick up prepared meals. Walmart right now, you have to wait, they'll only let so many in. 

"The discipline required I think has really been adopted in the city of Casa Grande. I'm very proud of our citizens and of our leaders.

"And we will get through this."

Matt Herman

"It's so important, the mental health resources out there for people," Herman said. "Lisa hit on that, I appreciate it.

"Also, the chamber website really gives you resources (link above).

"There's a lawsuit filed by Pinal County to demand those local (coronavirus) numbers, so that might be helping us out.

"And I just also want to thank the local entertainers that are doing (Facebook Live) and entertainment like that to help everybody get through these times.

"And, mayor, I know you didn't sign up for this type of deal but you're doing a great job, I think we all are sticking together. I appreciate you, appreciate our city staff.

"We're strong here and we will get through this together -- six feet apart."

Bob Huddleston

Thank you very much for your leadership, and Larry Rains, during this time," Huddleston said. "I feel like you two have done a great job of keeping us all up to date and informed. And I do thank all of the city staff for being on the front lines and keeping our community running smoothly and safely.

"I would echo everything that has already been said."

Mayor McFarland

"I received in the last couple of days some concerns from local citizens ... about people being careful out in the community, just some observations they've been making," McFarland said. 

"And I want to overemphasize how important it is to follow the governor's stay home, stay healthy, stay connected. 

"So just to reiterate that, only go out and shop for essentials like food and medicines, practice social and physical distancing by maintaining that six-foot distance, washing your hands frequently, wearing protective face wear or masks and not touching your face. Avoid close contact with seniors and others with compromised immune systems and stay home if you feel ill, stay home if your children are ill.

"That's really his order and we need to really try and stick with that, at least 'til the end of the month. I know it's hard, we are social creatures by nature and it's very hard to not want to go out and talk to people. So I just want to reiterate that. It's so, so important right now."

McFarland continued, "We'll continue to work with our retailers and make sure they're trying to manage that social distancing requirement, as well. We will continue to have police officers remind people where necessary. "I just want to make sure everybody knows that this is not a communist state, so we're trying to be very judicious in terms of how we implement these rules, these executive orders. 

"So please bear with us while we work through this. I know we'll all make it through, I just want to make sure that I overemphasize those parts."

McFarland also reminded that the chamber of commerce has small-business information on its website (link above).

"We've suspended public hearings until we get through this, so the next meeting will not have any public hearings," McBride said. "We've had to do some public hearings with the Planning and Zoning Commission just because of timing issues, but just know that we want to obviously have our meetings open, we want to have them open to the public, that's your right to be there and I just want to make sure that everybody understands that we have done our best."

Residents who are not computer literate or don't have a computer have another way of getting information,  McFarland pointed out.

"You can call 211, it also is a live operator Monday through Friday, regular business hours," he said. "You can talk to somebody, you can ask questions, you can get information. If you're having trouble getting information,  call 211, they will help you out."

McFarland also touted a small-business event to be held on Thursday (April 9).

"It's going to be a one-hour live Facebook Live," he said, "and it will have four panelists on it, being Mr. Rains, myself, Renée Louzon-Benn from the chamber and we'll also have Terry Strain from Western State Bank as the banker on there.

"The purpose of it is to talk about small-business, talk about what it out there and available for you, all of the programs that the government has in place, they can be very confusing. 

"We want to make sure that we clearly go through them, so we'll try and take as little time as possible going over the details of the plan and then allow people to ask questions. It'll be a live-streamed event, you can get on, you can type in your question and we'll answer them in the order we receive them. We'll try and group them if they're multiple combinations, but hopefully we'll have an opportunity to answer some questions and get people some information.

"Again, Terry Strain, one of the executive vice presidents for the Western State Bank here in Casa Grande will be one of our panelists, so he is well versed in the process we're talking about here. 

"There are about four major processes that small businesses need to know about and we're going to be here to talk about it."

Councilwoman Kortsen asked how residents get on Facebook to participate.

McFarland responded that, "If you're on Facebook just type in City of Casa Grande and then you'll find it.

Councilman Powell asked if there are masks available in Casa Grande if everyone is supposed to wear one. The same would apply to hand sanitizer, he continued.

It would be nice, he said, "If there was somebody that could answer questions that you can get them here, you can get them there. I do foresee if we go to masks that Casa Grande's going to be very very short of masks unless we take some actions."

McFarland said there are two types of masks in question. One is the N95, designated for hospital personnel and first responders.

The second, he said, "is a cloth mask, which is what CDC is recommending people use when you're out in public, and a cloth mask can be made from a bandana, it can be made from any material you have around your house and they're easily made with just standard material that you can buy at JOANN Fabric or you could probably find in your closet an old shirt or something that you haven't worn in while."

Regardless, Powell said, it would be nice if there were answers.

"If we could as a city and maybe the chamber of commerce, if we could come up with somebody that would be able to answer questions in our community about where you can get this or that, because I can imagine me trying to sew a mask out of fabric, or a lot of people, but we would like to see if we're required to go to that to be able to buy a dozen of them or whatever more."

Banner erecting two triage tents to check entrants

(Posted April 7, 2020)

Banner Casa Grande hospital will be erecting two triage tents at the Florence Boulevard location, Mayor Craig McFarland said during Monday night's City Council meeting.

"They're going to be putting up two tents, two areas for tents," McFarland said. "Those tents are not testing tents, they are for triage. Everyone who goes into the hospital, before they can enter, has to go through a triage check, temperature check, feelings check, wellness check, whatever you want to call it, before they allow them into the hospital.

"So when you see those tents go up -- they were authorized today by the governor and the health department --  in the next day or two, don't be alarmed, they're there for safety for all the people in the hospital."

McFarland also said he will be meeting with the Banner CEO today (Tuesday) to do a public service announcement about coronavirus.

"Be assured that the hospital is well prepared," he continued. "I'm not saying that if things go crazy that they won't have a problem, but right now they are well prepared. 

"They have doubled the number of beds in their facility in the last two weeks, so they've done a tremendous job and we're fortunate to have Banner Casa Grande here in Casa Grande."

April 4 Casa Grande coronavirus update

(Posted April 4, 2020)

The city made this announcement today:

City Park Amenities Set to Close Today at Noon

Spas, Salons No Longer Deemed Essential Services

Gov. Doug Ducey has released additional guidance on what is now deemed non-essential services and recreational activities. Businesses like nail and hair salons, tanning, spas and tattoo parlors have until 5 p.m. today to cease operations. 

The city of Casa Grande is set to close its remaining park amenities today at noon. This includes public courts (basketball, tennis, pickleball, etc.), splash pads, playgrounds and restrooms. Parks remain accessible as long as the public continues to practice social/physical distancing, adheres to crowds less than 10 persons and follows CDC recommended guidelines. This, too, is subject to change.


A fire hose of constant information flow from multiple directions has made it difficult for some residents to find the help they need. The city continues to streamline useful information through COVID-19 City Response and Small Business Assistance sites to help the community maneuver through current challenges. Residents are also encouraged to follow city social media for more frequent information share (Facebook, Twitter, NextDoor and YouTube). These resources help provide links to business loans, job searches, mortgage and senior assistance, food banks, health and unemployment insurance and more.

To learn more about how to reduce COVID-19 spread, please visit Arizona Department of Health Services or Pinal County Public Health.



Additional City Updates:



City Hall Passport Office is closed to the public in compliance with U.S. Department of State. Passport or renewal applications submitted prior to 3/19/2020 will be processed; however, routine service may be delayed. 


The city is temporarily suspending assessment of late fees. Residents are encouraged to access one of six ways to pay: phone or online bill pay, auto-draft automatic deduction, personal online banking, USPS mail or payment drop box. The City Finance lobby is open for public access but restrooms are now closed. New guidelines now limit the lobby to no more than two customers at any time. Sidewalk lines have been created to help provide 6-feet separation between customers.


Although the City Court lobby is closed to the public, the court is still available to provide the community with access to services for protective order, victims, civil traffic citation, fine payment, continuance/extension/motion, warrants, motion/document, or additional forms.



City libraries remain closed until further notice. Due date for all materials checked has been extended to May 1. Please maintain items until libraries reopen. No fines will be assessed for materials during this time. Library cards currently allow residents access to hundreds of free online resources, 24/7, including e-books, e-magazines, downloadable videos, music, audio books, databases and more.


The governor's executive order regards parks as an essential service. In adherence, outdoor city parks remain available to the public. Allowed activities include outdoor exercise such as walking, hiking, running, biking or golfing; but only if appropriate social/physical distancing practices are used. All public playgrounds, courts, splash pads, bathrooms and ramadas are now closed until further notice.


Paul Mason Sports Complex and Little League baseball/softball fields are closed.  All programming, leagues, practices and games have been cancelled or postponed. No activity reservations are being taken at this time. Additional closed facilities include Len Colla, the Recreation Center and Dorothy Powell Senior Center. The home delivered meal program remains operational, but meals are available on a pick-up or home-delivery basis only.


Six new coronavirus cases in Pinal County

(Posted March 24, 2020)

Pinal County announced this today:

Pinal County Announces Six Further COVID-19 Cases

The total number of cases in the County now stands at 22

Pinal County Public Health Department can confirm six further cases of COVID-19 in Pinal County. 

They are:

• A female in her 20s.

• A male in his 30s.

• A female in her 40s.

• A male in his 40s.

• A male in his 50s.

• A female in her 70s

All five cases, not related to each other or any previous cases, are in isolation at home and recovering. County Health Department staff are investigating all cases to identify close contacts.

Pinal County's total cases of COVID-19 now stand at 22, with only one case, a female in her 80s, hospitalized.

On Monday afternoon, Pinal County received its allocation of the Strategic National Stockpile from the CDC through Arizona Department of Health Services. 

Utilizing the established SNS Plan in place, county staff along with twenty volunteers from Maricopa CERT and Florence CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) were able to inventory and process all of the personal protective equipment and repackage to be distributed to our public safety and healthcare partners. 

Staff and volunteers were able to begin delivery of those supplies to two of our county healthcare providers and one of the tribes. Fifteen additional deliveries are scheduled for today.

Casa Grande updates corona virus information

(Posted March 20, 2020)

City coronavirus page:

City coronavirus answers page:

Help for small businesses:

Casa Grande emergency proclamation is HERE

Pinal County emergency declaration:

Governor's emergency declaration:

The city issued this press release today:

City Introduces Resources to Help Guide Businesses and Community through COVID-19 Response


Today, City Manager Larry Rains received notice that Pinal County Board of Supervisors just declared a state of emergency in response to novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). There are now 13 confirmed cases of the virus in Pinal County and one death in Arizona. It is anticipated that the number will increase as more testing takes place. 

Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland and the City Council approved a resolution earlier this week declaring an emergency. McFarland issued a proclamation outlining current specifications related to the outbreak.  

According to McFarland, this action allows the city to act rapidly in the deployment of resources and establish any necessary regulations to combat the spread of the flu-like contagion.

"Public health is paramount," expressed McFarland. "The proclamation gives us the ability to do what is necessary to preserve public peace, health, safety and the general welfare of our community." 

Gov. Ducey has issued an executive order closing bars, movie theaters, indoor gyms and fitness centers throughout the state, as well as, ordering restaurants to move to drive-thru or take-out business only. This measure helps to ensure food access, increase hospital capacity, provide updated guidance and some flexibility for businesses and waive Arizona Department of Transportation requirements for seniors and commercial drivers. The executive order becomes effective today.  

Ducey has also submitted an application requesting a disaster declaration from the Small Business Administration. Once the application is approved, business owners should apply online (see link above) in the Disaster Loan Application Portal. They will need to register to complete the application, which will be screened by the Disaster Processing Center.

City Economic Development Director Richard Wilkie, said the city is researching and soliciting federal and state assistance for local businesses. 

"Our businesses are comprised of everyday people that stand ready to serve their neighbors and friends, daily," said Wilkie. "We're working hard to help connect them to the resources and financial assistance needed to help keep their doors open." 

To support local businesses, the City is collaborating with vendors to accommodate drive-up/pick-up options for customers in response to a decrease in foot traffic. Businesses can use orange cones provided by the City to help customers identify these safe zones while ensuring safe and efficient traffic flows. This assistance is free-of-charge to area businesses. To learn more about this option, contact Chris Lawson at 421-8625.

For the most up-to-date information on the outbreak and what you can do to reduce your risk, visit the Center for Disease Control at

Video of CG emergency coronavirus proclamation available

As an alternative to the city's Facebook video on the CG coronavirus emergency proclamation the city posted that has brought complaints of terrible sound, a clear version is now available at The basics of Mayor Craig McFarland's appeal for voluntary -- not mandatory -- following of coronavirus mitigation recommendations begins at minute 1:06.

Two more coronavirus cases bring Pinal total to 10

(Posted March 19, 2020)

Pinal County issued this statement today:

Public Health Confirms Two Further Positive Cases of COVID-19 in Pinal County

Pinal County Public Health Department can confirm two further cases have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Pinal County. Both are household contacts of separate cases reported yesterday.

The first is a male in his 30s, a household contact of a female in her 30s reported yesterday, who is isolated at home and recovering.

The second is also a male in his 30s, a household contact of a female in her 30s reported yesterday, who is isolated at home and recovering.

This brings the total number of cases in Pinal County to 10.

Three more coronavirus cases found in Pinal County

(Posted March 18, 2020)

Pinal County posted this today:

Public Health Confirms Three New Positive Cases of COVID-19 in Pinal County

Pinal County Public Health Department can confirm three new cases have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Pinal County.
The first is a female in her 30s, who is isolated at home and recovering.
The second is a female in her 30s, no connection to the first, who is isolated at home and recovering.
The third case is a female in her 80s, who is hospitalized and recovering in an area hospital.
Pinal County Public Health department cannot stress enough some key basic safety guidelines to follow, in order to stay healthy and limit the spread of COVID-19:
• Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Use hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol) when soap and water are not available.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Make sure you and the people around you cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue available, cough or sneeze into your bent elbow.
• Maintain at least six feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
• Stay home when you are sick.
For the latest information about COVID-19, its symptoms and advice on ways to prevent infection, please visit or 

Council to consider coronavirus emergency declaration


This city posted this today:

The city is following CDC guidelines to limit public meetings to 10 people, with six feet of separation. 

We are encouraging residents to view tonight's (March 18) 6 p.m. City Council meeting from the comfort of their homes on Cox Channel 11 or City Facebook Live. 

Thank you for helping to reduce risk.

(Posted March 17, 2020)

The Casa Grande City Council meets in special session Wednesday night (March 18) to consider an emergency declaration about the coronavirus threat.

The meeting, open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 510 E. Florence Blvd.

The full resolution declaring an emergency is HERE.

It does not list specific restrictions for Casa Grande, saying only that the mayor may, “by proclamation, impose all necessary regulations to preserve the public peace, health, safety and general welfare of the city.”

A statement issued by the city Monday night said, “The city is also actively evaluating a declaration of emergency to help in the fight of the spread of COVID-19. This measure would further assist in protecting public health by allowing access to federal emergency funds and making it possible for individuals and businesses to receive federal financial assistance.”

Casa Grande releases coronavirus statement

(Posted March 16, 2020)

Casa Grande officials released this official coronavirus statement Monday night. A version of it was read by Mayor Craig McFarland at the end of Monday night’s City Council meeting:

We Can Make a Difference In the Next 15 Days!

City remains informed, engaged and prepared to do its part

The unique quality that makes the city of Casa Grande so special, strong and resilient is its sense of community. Over the years, residents have shown an extraordinary capacity to care for and help meet the needs of their fellow neighbors and friends. These same traits are shared by city workers who strive to serve residents, each and every day. It is why city leadership and its community partners remain informed, engaged and prepared to help meet the evolving challenges resulting from the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

According to Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland, access to accurate information is important for residents to respond in a measured and thoughtful way. 

"An informed community is an empowered one," explained McFarland, "and is capable of processing facts carefully, engaging available resources appropriately while also helping others that may need assistance. After all, we're in this together."

The city is already taking steps to follow recent guidelines issued by the CDC, Arizona Department of Health Services and Pinal County Health and remains ready to adjust quickly if circumstances change. 

In accordance with federal guidelines to limit or postpone large gatherings of 10 persons or more, the city has cancelled all in-person, city-sponsored events until further notice. The public is welcome to continue checking the city online calendar for updates. 


Community centers

The city is taking proactive measures to help protect high-risk populations and reduce risk for spread of the virus. The city has cancelled all programs, events and gatherings at its recreational facilities including Len Colla, the Recreation Center, Dorothy Powell Senior Center and both public libraries.  The home-delivered Meal program is continuing but meals remain on a take-out or home-delivery basis only.

(This sentence is included in the official statement: “Parks will remain open along with the golf course, but the public will have limited access to the clubhouse.” However, McFarland’s address at the meeting said the closings include, “All of our parks, and that includes the ramada reservations, for the next two weeks. So, no large gatherings at the ramadas.”

(McFarland also added this:

“Also, I was notified this evening that the Boys & Girls Clubs is also going to close. They will not remain open, and that will start tomorrow. That’s going to be a big burden on a lot of our community, as they rely on the club, and I know that’s going to be a problem. So please try to deal with it as best you can.”)


Police and fire response

The Police and Fire departments are maintaining a normal business schedule. All first responders are provided information received from the health department, as it relates to the virus. They also carry masks and gloves as a matter of practice. The Fire Department is working closely with the Pinal County Office of Emergency Management to monitor the situation and is following stringent infectious disease protocols, already in place. The ability to provide emergency services to the community has not been impacted, and the city does not anticipate any delay or interruption to services.


Local health centers and schools

The city is working collaboratively and closely with local schools and health centers as they continue to prepare, plan and modify protocols, accordingly. Please visit them directly to stay informed.


Declaration of emergency

The city is also actively evaluating a declaration of emergency to help in the fight of the spread of COVID-19. This measure would further assist in protecting public health by allowing access to federal emergency funds and making it possible for individuals and businesses to receive federal financial assistance.


City Manager Larry Rains is asking the community to remain flexible and work together.

"This is an exceptional city," said Rains. "Times of uncertainty or anxiety is when our community really shows how big of a family we actually are."

More information

 For the most up-to-date information on the outbreak and what you can do to reduce your risk, please visit the CDC at

What is COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), signs and symptoms resemble the common cold or flu and may include a runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever. Most people (about 80 percent) have a mild presentation and recover from the disease without needing special treatment. People can catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from an affected person, even if asymptomatic.


Help stop the spread of COVID-19

Today, President Trump released new federal guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Even if you are young or otherwise healthy, you are still at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. It is critical that everyone does his/her part to stop the spread of the coronavirus:

Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible.

If you work in a critical infrastructure industry as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule. You and your employees should follow CDC guidance to protect your health at work.

Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.

Avoid eating or drinking in bars, restaurants and food courts. Use drive-thru, pickup or delivery options.

Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits.

Do not visit nursing homes, retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.

Practice good hygiene:

Wash your hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface.

Avoid touching your face.

Sneeze or cough into a tissue or the inside of your elbow.

Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces, as much as possible.

CG libraries, rec facilities closing until further notice

(Posted March 16, 2020)

This announcement by the Casa Grande Parks and Recreation Department was posted today:

Following precautionary measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state leaders, and other health experts, the following city facilities will be closed beginning Tuesday, March 17, until further notice: 

• Casa Grande Community Recreation Center 

• City of Casa Grande Public Library (both locations)

• Dorothy Powell Senior Center

•  Len Colla Recreation Center 

All classes, programs, leagues and meetings will be postponed until further notice.

The Community Recreation Center will work to credit members for the period of time the centers are closed.

Private rentals scheduled to take place during the closure are canceled and will be fully refunded. For rental questions or to reschedule your event for a later date, please email

Our administrative offices will continue to be available by phone only Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. by calling 421-8677. There will be no public access to these facilities.

For up-to-date information, visit or follow us on social media.

School meals in CG continue during shutdown

Dorothy Powell Center suspends nonessential activities

(Posted March 13, 2020)

The city issued this announcement today:

Dorothy Powell Senior Center Will Temporarily Reduce Hours Starting March 16

Effective Monday, March 16, the City of Casa Grande will temporarily reduce hours at the Dorothy Powell Senior Center and suspend non-essential activities until further notice.  

This decision is a proactive measure designed to help protect a high-risk population during this serious public health challenge.  By temporarily making these changes, the most vulnerable members of our community will have reduced chances of community spread of the COVID-19 virus.  

The City of Casa Grande is striving to continue to offer essential services while significantly lowering health risk.  

The changes at Dorothy Powell Senior Center are:

• The senior center will only be open for congregate meals from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday beginning March 16. The office will be open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. but will have no public access.

• All activities and programs at the senior center will be suspended.

• The Home Delivered Meal program will continue, but will begin using single use trays and enact other procedures to limit contact between employees, volunteers and participants.

• Transportation will continue but be restricted to only essential trips to and from the center for congregate meals.

For questions or additional information, call 421-8760 between the hours of 8 a.m.-4:00 pm.

The city of Casa Grande will continue to evaluate the Dorothy Powell Senior Center as this rapidly evolving health situation changes daily.

Dispatcher steps in to provide CPR in emergency

Dino Deluca, left

(Posted March 13, 2020)

The CG Fire Department posted this today:

As public safety dispatchers, we are trained to provide potentially life saving services by instructing callers with step by step instructions. 

It’s not very often we have to utilize that training firsthand, but that’s just what one of our off-duty dispatchers did.

Public Safety Dispatcher Dino “D.J.” Deluca had just finished his 10-hour shift and was making his way home when he received an alert on his phone. A report of an unresponsive person nearby. 

As it turns out, he was in the right place at the right time. D.J. quickly went in to see if he could assist. 

Having been trained in compression-only CPR, D.J. was able to assist in the life-saving technique until fire and medical personnel could arrive on scene to take over.

We would like to commend D.J. on his quick response and willingness to do this out of the kindness of his heart and dedication to his city.

Two more coronavirus cases in Queen Creek

(Posted March 11, 2020)

Pinal County issued this coronavirus statement today:

Cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Pinal County

The total of five Pinal County cases are all from the same household

Pinal County Public Health Department can confirm that two further Pinal County residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Both cases are over sixty years old and from the same household as the three current Pinal County cases (Queen Creek). They are recovering at home.

Pinal County Public Health officials are continuing to investigate the cases.

For the latest information about COVID-19, its symptoms, and advice on ways to prevent infection, please visit or 

Scroll down for earlier stories about same family

Queen Creek student survives coronavirus attack

(Posted March 8, 2020)

State health officials issued this statement this evening:

Public Health Confirms Previously Identified Case of COVID-19

is Member of Arizona School Community

School Administration Implementing Public Health Recommendations

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Health Services announced that state and local health officials have been working with the administration of American Leadership Academy, Ironwood K-12 campus (in Queen Creek) regarding a member of their school community who was one of the two individuals identified as having a presumptive positive test for COVID-19 (coronavirus) on Saturday, March 7. 

This individual did not have severe illness and has fully recovered from the virus. 

Because the individual was not on campus while ill, Public Health believes the risk to others, outside of close contacts, of getting COVID-19 from this person is low. 

As the school recently started spring break, administrators will have time to fully implement public health recommendations before school is back in session. 

The school administration has proactively taken steps to ensure the safety of the families and staff, including cleaning all areas of the campus, establishing enhanced daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces, adding hand sanitizing stations to hallways, and incorporating routine hand hygiene practices throughout the day when students return. 

State and local public health are actively investigating to identify any close contacts that may have been exposed. Identified individuals will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms. Any members of this community who are sick with fever, shortness of breath and cough should call their health care provider who can help determine if COVID-19 testing is needed. Families and staff will receive a letter from the school with information on what they need to know and how they can prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For the latest information about COVID-19, go online to or


Two more coronavirus cases found in Pinal

(Posted March 7, 2020)

Pinal County issued this update today:

Public Health Confirms Two Additional Presumptive Positive Cases of COVID-19 in Pinal County
There have now been five cases of COVID-19 identified in Arizona

FLORENCE, ARIZ. (March 7, 2020) – The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and the Pinal County Public Health Department confirmed today that two Pinal County residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (coronavirus). 
Both cases are from the same household as the current Pinal County case (see announcement below). 
State and local public health are currently investigating the cases. 

Coronavirus found in Pinal County woman

(Posted March 6, 2020)

Pinal County issued this statement this evening:

Presumptive Positive Case of COVID-19 Identified in Pinal County

The case may signal community spread in Arizona

FLORENCE, ARIZ. (March 6, 2020) – Pinal County Public Health Department confirmed a presumptive positive case of COVID-19, bringing the total COVID-19 case count in Arizona to three. The case, a healthcare worker in her 40s, lives in Pinal County and is currently in stable condition in a Maricopa County hospital. She is not a known contact of any confirmed COVID-19 cases and has not traveled to any areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely. For this reason, Public Health is treating this case as its first instance of community spread. 

“Community spread refers to the spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. Just like during flu season, if you get symptoms, you need to stay home and take care of yourself,” said Dr. Shauna McIsaac, director of Pinal County Public Health Department. “Similar to the flu, most people will only have mild symptoms that do not require a visit to a healthcare provider or hospital. Individuals who are older or have underlying health conditions like chronic lung disease are at higher risk of more severe illness. Occasionally, a young, healthy person will have severe disease. Unfortunately, this woman is one of those people,” she added.

“We are moving into a public health strategy that is just like seasonal flu. We know that healthcare workers are exposed to people with flu and other infectious diseases all the time and therefore are at higher risk, which is why they wear personal protective equipment,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control at Maricopa County Department of Public Health. Now that there is community spread of COVID-19, just like during flu season, it is important for everyone, especially healthcare workers, to stay home when they are sick to avoid exposing others. “We are no longer recommending quarantine of exposed healthcare workers who don’t show any symptoms because we need our healthcare workforce during this response,” Dr. Sunenshine added. 

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection with symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The vast majority of people with the disease have mild symptoms and will not require medical intervention. 

COVID-19 is believed to spread mostly through respiratory droplets produced when a sick person coughs or sneezes. Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment, but treatments are being studied and a vaccine is currently under development. Individuals with COVID-19 should be provided with supportive care including fluids or fever-reducing medication. 

Since receiving the presumptive positive test result, Pinal County and Maricopa County have been working together to interview close contacts of the case and recommend symptom monitoring. 

Overall recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases spread through respiratory droplets are:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces like door knobs, light switches, and electronic devices using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Public health encourages concerned individuals to follow credible sites for information about COVID-19. For up-to-date facts, please visit and For statewide case counts and information about testing at the Arizona State Public Health Lab, please visit

CG city manager staying under special work contract

(Posted Feb. 25, 2020)

The video of the discussion is item I2 HERE 

The SmartWorks Plus website is HERE

The ASRS retirement work rules are HERE

The council staff report is HERE

The ordinance is HERE

The SmartWorks agreement is HERE

The compensation agreement is HERE

Casa Grande City Manager Larry Rains is eligible to retire under the Arizona State Retirement System.

He’s also maxed out any benefits from ASRS, so staying on is no real benefit to him.

The City Council wants him to stay on the job, guiding Casa Grande through various projects and calling upon his 18 years as finance director, assistant city manager and city manager.

The catch was that if he retired and then was kept on at his ASRS-covered job, he would lose ASRS retirement benefits for the first year.

The solution was for the City Council to approve Rains joining a company known as SmartWorks, which under an agreement with the state provides such newly-retired employees for various municipal positions.

The council approval was unanimous.

(The background of SmartWorks is in the council staff report, above.)

As a private employee, Rains will be able to continue to work for the city on a one-year contract while still drawing his state retirement benefits.

Under the agreement, Rains will retire March 20, coming back to the city March 30 as a SmartWorks employee and paid $151,352.66 annually, or $582.126 a day. His present salary is $195,484.

The city will pay the new salary and related costs directly to SmartWorks, which will receive 4 percent for handling the employment.

The agreement will provide some financial savings for the city, Human Resources Director Scott Barber told the council.

“Social Security, unemployment, those things, are a part of the deal (handled by SmartWorks),” Barber said.

Rains will pay for his own health insurance.

Another savings is that the city’s contribution to ASRS for an employee, due to rise to 10.21 percent on July 1, would now be 1.7 percent less. 

Overall savings for the city will be about $75,000 a year, Barber said.

Council questions

Lisa Fitzgibbons

As it now stands, the agreement covers only Rains, not other city employees.

Fitzgibbons asked for clarification.

“I guess I’m a little confused on the ordinance, because I didn’t find it that clear,” she said. “This is something I’ve been concerned with. 

“Keeping our current city manager is really important for us and I understand the situation he’s in but it concerns me because I do feel that it’s good to have new people come within our organization. 

“Are we opening the door and creating a precedent for this happening to all employees and we get no one new?”

City Attorney Brett Wallace responded that the ordinance, as written, covers only Rains as city manager. Retirees under ASRS from other cities could be considered for other city positions, such as current recruitment for a finance director.

Barber had earlier said that the situation could change in the future if the council wanted to expand the program.

Wallace continued that, “If it’s the desire of council that we do so, then we can bring back maybe a proposal for when that would work, but at this point it’s only doing one employee from the city of Casa Grande because the council has the ability to make that.

“This is a very unique situation, obviously a very unique employee in the city that council had the opportunity to review.

“We just feel at this point, given some of those concerns, we wanted to make a recommendation and I think the ordinance, hopefully, is clear that it’s only for those two classes and the contract cannot exceed the authorization as given in the ordinance.”

Wallace told the council to “‘keep in mind that this is a very narrow piece. We can have whoever we want and any ASRS retiree could come to work for us tomorrow, but there’s just no incentive for them to do that because they would forfeit and then have to return their retirement benefits.

“But they really only have that restriction for the first year. Once they’ve been retired for 365 days, they no longer have that.

“So it’s a very narrow piece. As Mr. Barber said it’s to capture someone who might be in that unique position.”

Dick Powell

As Powell sees it, “I think that we’ve made a lot of progress in the last six to eight years. A lot of industry coming in, a lot of growth, housing market is back to a healthy status.

“And we have somebody that’s leading us, our leader, who’s very unique. 

“He’s such a key to what we do and how we do it that it’s like shutting off the engine before you get to the end of  the road. And we’re not to the end of the road, we’re trying to climb a hill. And we need someone that’s really, really good to do that and we have that kind of faith in Larry and that’s why we want to not make him have to suffer financially, which he would have to, under certain circumstances, but that he would be able to come back or stay here and work with us and lead us into the future.

“There’ll come a time when Larry will probably want to say goodbye to everybody but that’s not that time right now and we certainly don’t want to say goodbye to him.”

Bob Huddleston

“I want to echo everything that Mr. Powell said” Huddleston told the council. “I totally agree with all of that. 

“This ordinance, which is what Scott Barber said, is another tool in our toolbox. And I think it’s one that’s reserved for special needs. It’s almost a break glass when needed type thing. And I think we found ourselves in a position where we needed to break the glass and this solves the problem and saves us money at the same time. So I’m all for it.”

Donna McBride

“Sometimes we have to take the employee itself out of the picture and look at the position,” she said. “And if we do that with Mr. Rains I don’t think we’d ever find the same replacement, or better, than where we’re at. 

“As Mr. Powell said, the expertise that this position has developed over the past years has put us in a new place. And so, I don’t think that we can afford to lose that. 

“And so while we’re talking about Larry — and everybody in the room knows that — I think what we’re talking about is with the position of city manager that we have right now it would be detrimental to the city to lose that expertise and I think that is really what we’re looking at.”

Three signs in Casa Grande given historic designation

Children's Flower Garden event, Nov. 8 at City Hall

(Posted Nov. 1, 2019)

The city issued this announcement today:

The Casa Grande City Attorney's Office Victim Assistance Program, in partnership with the Casa Grande Elementary School District, will host the annual Children's Flower Garden Event on Friday, Nov. 8.  

The event will begin at 10 a.m. at the flower garden in front of the City Hall Plaza, located at 510 E. Florence Blvd. 

This year's special event is being sponsored by Artistic Land Management LLC. 

The schools participating in this year's event are Cottonwood Elementary School, Desert Willow Elementary School, Evergreen Elementary School, Mesquite Elementary School and Villago Middle School, and the Casa Grande Union High School Cougar Spirit Line, Woodwind Section and Blue Notes.  

Against Abuse, Inc. will join in the event this year by planting pinwheels to promote child abuse prevention. Also, the Boys & Girls Club of Casa Grande will be providing pin back buttons with inspirational quotes for the students.  

The flower garden is planted every year to remember children who have been victims of abuse.  Each year, millions of children and adolescents in the United States are exposed to violence. According to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children, almost five children die every day as a result of abuse in the U.S. 

Of the children who die, 41.6 percent suffer physical abuse and 75.4 percent suffer neglect and 72 percent of the child fatalities are younger than three years old. 

Their exposure to violence can have a long-lasting physical, psychological and emotional impact. They may suffer from depression, fear, anxiety, aggression, difficulty in school, frequent nightmares and visible injuries. 

We need to educate children, families and the community about domestic violence and child abuse and how to recognize the signs and put an end to it.

Gardening is a wonderful way to give children an opportunity to explore and learn about nature. It teaches them self-confidence and responsibility and is a great way to acknowledge the important work they are doing to help children who have been victimized. 

The City Attorney's Victim Assistance Program provides direct assistance, support, and protection to victims and their families. We also educate them about domestic violence, safety planning and the criminal justice process. To learn about important resources available, GO TO and click on Victim Assistance or call 421-8600. 

A move for city ambulances

(Posted Oct. 23, 2019)

The full feasibility study from 2018, including profit/loss, is HERE

The staff report is HERE

The letter from the consultants is HERE

The City Council has unanimously authorized spending $30,000 to hire a consultant to make a presentation before the Arizona Department of Health Services requesting that the city be granted a certificate of necessity to operate both basic and advanced life support ambulance services.

Spending another $500,000 for attorney fees is also projected.

The approval to hire the J. Vincent Group, which did a feasibility study for the city in 2018, was given during Monday night’s council meeting.

According to the staff report for the agenda item, “The next step is to prepare a CON application and supporting documents as required by the AZDHS.  Preparation of Ambulance Cost and Recovery Report (ARCR) pro forma financial information.  Provide methodology as required by the AZDHS during the administrative and substantive review process.”

The ending of the staff report adds, “During this hearing process an attorney will be representing us and utilizing our consultants, depending on the length of the process, we could see legal fees of up to $500,000.”

It could take top to six months for a decision from the state, leaving the services now offered by AMR ambulance in place.

Financial projections:

                                         Click on above images to enlarge

At one time, it was reported that AMR would campaign against a city certificate, but during Monday night’s meeting Fire Chief Scott Miller said that AMR is now discussing the issue.

“What I’d like to mention,” he said, “is that AMR has indicated through verbal willingness to support the application with specific models. And that model is what we’ve been trying to look at with the public-private model that we started with our memorandum of understanding back a few years ago. We’re waiting for further discussions there, but either way we still need to apply for a CON and move forward, whether we have the public-private partnership or we’re going for our own CON.”

The city at one time had an agreement with then Southwest Ambulance, the predecessor of AMR, but when Southwest was sold after bankruptcy the new owner decided not to honor it.

Benefits to the city from its own certificate, Miller said, include “It provides four dedicated ambulances, is what’s recommended for our community. We can have a single-unit response on a basic life support call. And what that does is it keeps our four-person advanced life support engine available for critical life saving calls, such as cardiac arrest, difficulty breathing, stroke, broken hip, leg, trauma patients involved in motor vehicle accidents, stabbings, shootings, machinery accidents, allergic reactions, etc.

“It also will help in reducing down response times, it would increase our customer service. There is a reduction in the perception of seeing an engine on every call, because the ambulance would be able to handle the BLS by themselves. And it would increase the life expectancy of our engine companies.”

According to the feasibility study, the city would have four ambulances. One each at Station 501 downtown, State 502 at Ninth Street and Peart Road, Station 504 on McCartney Road and the fourth at Station 501 for peak load calls.

The feasibility study said among the benefits would be:

• Four ambulances 24 hours, 365 days, and one peak-load ambulance eight hours a day five days per week, 52 weeks a year.

• 90 percent of all emergency calls will be reached in 10 minutes or less from

time of notification.

• 95 percent of all emergency calls will be reached in 15 minutes or less.

• 99 percent of all emergency calls will be reached in 20 mins or less from time of notification.

(Further details are in the feasibility study, linked above)

Council reactions

Matt Herman:

“There’s been a couple of things come up in the community about private business and free market. It is not a free market right now. There’s (only) one company that can provide ambulance service to the city of Casa Grande, so we’re not providing a free market.

“This is a great example of you, chief, working with the public/private partnership to try to get this done. And we can control what we want to do in the future.

“We had an agreement with Southwest Ambulance and then when they got bought out they didn’t go along with that agreement that we liked a city, so we’re going to this point. And I’m a really a fan … with the BLS, of running our units so we don’t to run our engines all the time to medical calls.

“So I want to commend you on doing this and I think it’s a great step forward for our citizens and the services that we can provide to make sure that we can keep our citizens safe and the services they need. It’s about services to the citizens and we need to have ambulances here in order to make sure, because when it’s my family or your family or anyone’s family in town you want to have that services as soon as possible. So we  want to make sure we can provide that.

Dick Powell: 

“You convinced me at our last meeting that this is important and this is something we need to do.

“You’ve convinced me and the firemen have convinced me that this is something we have to do for safety.

“And, truthfully, I think economically it’ll turn out pretty well in the end, not having to replace equipment as we had before. The cost of a fire engine is pretty expensive and the gas savings. There’s a huge amount of economic savings on what we’re doing with this”

Bob Huddleston: 

“When I first showed up on council I think one of the first meetings was a study session with the consultants or something and I had a ton of questions about this. 

It’s a long road to go down, there’s lots of moving parts and I want to compliment the two chiefs, the firefighters and Mr. Rains (City Manager Larry Rains) for answering all the questions.

“I know there was a lot of them and I had a lot of concerns. 

“But I’m convinced that this is the best way to go for the Fire Department, for our city government and as we’ve said, most importantly to the citizens of our community. I think you guys have done a real good job in researching this, doing all the due diligence and, as I said, I’m fully convinced this is the way to go.”

Mary Kortsen:

“Several years ago it was pointed out that we were not covered, our residents were not covered, by the ambulance service because the folks servicing that also services the entire county and there would be times when a city of our size would not have ambulance service.

“This way, we’re going to have a dedicated service, somebody that’s dedicated to our residents, will always be there, and then there’s that continuity of care. And I just think that this is the best thing. 

“It’s not to compete with the private business. I think this is the best thing we can do for our city.

“We could talk about this all night long, but one of the things I just want to mention is the (competing with) private business issue has come up on social media and I understand what some of the comments are but the bottom line is that our community deserves to be safe and we have the staff to make that happen and I think we need to move forward.”

Lisa Fitzgibbons:

“This isn’t something that just came up even in the last two years. I think since I’ve been on City Council since 2011 there’s been this discussion and giving some of these companies a chance on some of these issues that we were facing and there weren’t changes.

“So you guys have been on top of this and advised us of the some of the concerns that are out there and then we had a consultant come in and do the research and present the (information) to move forward it was something that we all were really interested in and wanted to make sure we were doing the best thing for the community.

“It was a very detailed report, I think they did a great job, and I’m really looking forward to moving forward on this.

“If we choose to do a public/private partnership that’s great, but if we do something that’s just the city it’s going to provide the best service to our community.”

Long range plan for upgraded CG fire stations

(Posted Oct. 18, 2019)

Highlights of the presentation are HERE

The Casa Grande Fire Department has proposed a $20 million project to relocate and upgrade three of the present four fire stations — downtown, Peart and Eighth, and at the airport.

No decision on authorizing a bond election has been reached by the City Council.


Community improvements grant funds spending

(Posted Sept. 21, 2019)

The staff report is HERE

The full report, with additional details, statistics and photos, is HERE

The City Council has approved a report to be sent to the federal government outlining how Casa Grande has used money from the Community Development Block Grant program.

The report details accomplishments and spending during the past fiscal year “to measure to what extent the jurisdictions are meeting priority needs, goals and strategies as outlined in the 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan.”

Because it is federal money, a report on how the funds were used is required. 

An overview of the report, present to the council by Mary Allen, the city’s grants coordinator, includes:

Public Services

• Seeds of Hope’s Senior Connections program, given $15,905 to provide services to 68 seniors.

• Against Abuse’s Advocacy Services for Victims and Homeless Women and Children, $15,000 and served 53 woman and children.

• Casa Grande Police Department’s Southside Crime Prevention Education Program, $5,000 to serve  approximately 200 local residents. “Thomas Anderson (the department’s public information officer) did an awesome job of reaching out to the south side neighborhoods,” Allen told the council.

• Community Action Human Resources Agency (CAHRA), for Casa Grande homeless services, $14,670.15, serving 60 clients in the city.

Housing and Public Facility Improvements

• Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped, $40,000 for improvements, serving 101 handicapped people. “They are located down on Main Street and they’ve got two buildings,” Allen said, “and they didn’t have accessible bathrooms, so $40,000 to help them fix those facilities.”

• Casa Grande Community Services Department, $50,000 for Carr McNatt Park playground equipment. “That was a carryover from the previous year,” Allen said, “but we were finally able to get to where we could install it. I kind of guesstimated a minimum of a thousand residents benefit from that playground equipment.”

• Casa Grande Community Development Division’s owner occupied housing rehabilitation program, $25,177. “We completed three owner-occupied housing rehabilitations houses and we have three more projects in progress,” Allen told the council.

Public Facility Improvements in Progress

• Casa Grande Public Works Department, Southside sidewalk project, $120,821. “That’s going to be sidewalk improvements from Nutt Park to Elliot Park,” Allen said. “I believe they’re in the process of awarding that contract.”

• Casa Grande Community Services Department, $30,000 for a shade ramada in Elliot Park. “We’re moving forward with that project now that we own it (the park),” Allen said.

As Councilwoman Donna McBride sees it, “I think that all of those projects help so many different parts of our community and different age groups, and that’s very important.”

Approval of sending the report was unanimous, with Councilwoman Mary Kortsen on an excused absence.

City will take over Elliot Park from school district in trade
for space on communications tower in Carr McNatt Park

(Posted Sept. 16, 2019)

Terms of the agreement are HERE

Casa Grande is swapping space on the Kiwanis Field telecommunications tower in Carr McNatt Park (10th Street and Brown Avenue) for Elliot Park, now owned by Casa Grande Elementary School District.

Initial approval was given Monday night by the City Council.

As the staff report describes the two-part deal:

“The city has, for some time, been in discussions with the Casa Grande Elementary School District to acquire Elliot Park (105 S. Florence St.), which is owned by the district but has been maintained by the city as a city park. 

“The mayor and City Council formally made the acquisition of Elliot Park a goal as part of the 2018 Strategic Plan and staff has been in near constant communication with the district since that time to finalize an agreement to exchange the park land for space on the city's radio tower at Kiwanis Field.

“The parties have now reached an agreement in principle to provide an easement to the top of the Kiwanis Field tower for a period of 50 years in favor of the district, with the city receiving a deed to the park. 

“The easement, which would allow the district use of the tower but would also allow the city to use the tower for its own use or to lease to other parties as long as the uses do not interfere with each other, would be provided free of charge to the district in exchange for the district conveying the land (park) to the city. These uses have been acknowledged by the parties to be roughly equivalent in value, which is required to allow the district to convey the property.”

The staff report adds that, “the city has provided landscaping maintenance for Elliot Park for the several years. Once the property is acquired, as part of the council’s strategic plan, staff has planned significant improvements to the park, including new parking spaces, new playground equipment with a shade structure, as well as a new ramada and sidewalks. 

“Staff hopes obtaining ownership of the park and the improvements thereto will help improve amenities to the nearby residents and serve as a beautification project for the area.”

The vote for initial approval was unanimous, with Councilwoman Mary Kortsen on excused absence. The final vote is expected during the next council meeting.

Before the vote, Councilman Dick Powell said he had looked at the park area.

“I’ve looked at Main Street, that two-block area that needs to be new road in there, Florence Street coming in needs to be repaved,” he said.

“When those kind of things get done, it’s going to really feel different down there on the south side of Casa Grande. I’m really happy that this is happening.”

A plan to beautify the Union Pacific underpass
                       Presentation          Staff report

City launches new service request system

(Posted Aug. 20, 2019)


The city posted this announcement today:

The City of Casa Grande is excited to offer residents a new online service request portal which will include a new mobile app. 

This new system will provide citizens with a new and improved way to submit service requests, track ticket progress, and submit additional feedback directly to city departments ensuring better customer service. 

Residents who see a non-emergency issue that needs to be addressed, such as a pothole, graffiti, non-working street light, uncontained trash pick-up, abandoned vehicle, illegal dumping, or other code violation can submit a request through the portal or mobile app. 

Users are also able to include the pinpoint location and a photo of the request when submitting a ticket, allowing city officials to receive and resolve the request quickly and efficiently. 

The city evaluated the prior system and decided it was time to upgrade to include a mobile app, allowing citizens an easier way to communicate to city staff in a timely matter.

Other benefits of this new app include a modern, simplified interface to enhance user experience, improved GPS mapping of service location, quick access to city news and social media. City staff will be able to monitor how quickly requests are being addressed and provide the customer with status updates.

Citizens can also send reports HERE

The SeeClickFix mobile app is available for download on Android and iPhone

For more information, including instructions on how to create an account or report an issue, call the Public Works Department at 421-8625.  

CG seeking owner-occupied home rehab funding

(Posted Aug. 20, 2019)

Further information, including rehab guidelines and application form, is available on the city’s website at

Casa Grande is seeking $310,000 in state funds for the city’s owner-occupied housing rehabilitation program.

As outlined to the City Council during Monday night’s session, it’s a competitive process with other cities.

To boost the city’s chances of receiving the $310,000, Grant Coordinator Mary Allen told the council, Casa Grande will add other money available to it.

That includes $50,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds, $15,000 from the county Human Action Human Resources Agency for weatherizing of homes, and other sources for a total, with the state funding, of $465,000.

If that total amount is available, Allen said, the city hopes to rehabilitate four to six homes during the next year.

“We have an application process, we do determine eligibility financially,” Allen continued. “Also they have to live in their home for at least a minimum of six months.

“We are actually prioritizing the elderly, the physically disabled and it definitely has to be low to moderate income.”

The council vote was unanimous to approve applying for the state grants and to accept the updated housing rehabilitation guidelines.

Guiding Casa Grande's future
General Plan update consultant, citizen group approved

(Posted Aug. 19, 2019)

The current General Plan is found at:

The scope of update work is HERE

The update costs breakdown is HERE

The citizen participation plan is HERE

The citizen advisory group list is HERE

Every 10 years, Casa Grande updates its General Plan, a guide to the future.

Final City Council approval was given Monday night to a $200,000 consultant contract with PLAN*et consultants for the latest update, going through 2030.

The council also adopted a public participation plan for the update and appointed a steering committee of residents from various business and community backgrounds.

As the current document says, the General Plan is a lengthy, comprehensive document that “includes elements that provide guidance for future growth and development” and “should be referred to when considering requests for rezoning and new development within the Casa Grande municipal limits and planning area. Each element includes goals, policies, strategies, maps and figures”s

During initial approved of the PLAN*et contract two weeks ago, Planning and Development Director Paul Tice said, “I might note that PLAN*et was involved with the last General Plan update. Leslie Dornfeld, the principal at PLAN*et, was highly involved as the project manager for our last General Plan and she has a consultant team consisting of a number of staff who were also involved with the last General Plan.

“Many of those same plan member, team members, were actually involved with the assistance team that recently visited for our downtown project, as well.”

According to the staff report, “The adopted public participation plan calls for the creation of a community-based steering forum whose role is to help steer the direction of the General Plan update process and to act as ambassadors and champions of the update to the various community groups/interests that they represent.

“Due to the large size of this group (25+) of people who are active in a number of different community affairs it is recommended that a quorum for meeting business purposes be defined as a minimum of 10. The meetings of the steering forum will be public meetings and as such staff will post notice of the meetings as well as take minutes that will be forwarded to City Council for acceptance.”

The number is actually 29 on the citizen committee.

“This formally creates this committee,” Tice told the council Monday night.

Final council approval for the items was unanimous.

Future of Evergreen District irrigation again on hold

(Posted Aug. 6, 2019)

The staff report is HERE

The presentation material is HERE

Video of the one hour, 19 minute discussion is item K2 at

(NOTE: An earlier version misidentified those voting no. That has been corrected.)

Action to eventually end the irrigation system within the Evergreen Historic District was put on hold Monday night by the City Council pending further discussion.

The vote was 5-2, with councilwomen Mary Kortsen and Donna McBride opposed.

No date was set for future action or appointing a city/Evergreen users committee to discuss the problems.

Before the council was a staff recommendation to refund the $1,019 assessment to users made during repairs to the system pump in 2014.

As the staff report puts it, “The city will continue to operate the Evergreen Irrigation system with the current well, current pump and current flow of water until June 30, 2020, or if the system fails, whichever comes first. At that point, the system will be discontinued. With this refund, the city agrees to operate the system with no further capital repairs to the system.”

In the 1980s, the staff report continues, there were approximately 50 users of the system. In 2014, the number of users dropped to 26. Of those, 22 customers agreed to pay the $1,019 assessment to continue as users. There are currently nine active users in the system.

The report shows that during 2018, revenue was $13,318 versus $26,507 in expenses. So far this year, the report says, revenue is $5,356 versus expenses of $22,422.

The well, originally drilled in the 1920s, has had problems and the water delivery system also needs work, the council was told. 

The system now is able to deliver about 100 gallons of water a minute, far below what is needed. In some cases, the council was told, that is barely enough to reach some users, or not enough to even water some properties.

“The costs of drilling a new well range from $394,893 to $592,408 depending upon the specifications desired,” the staff report says. 

“This includes the cost of drilling the well and adding a new turbine pump assembly. This is assuming that the well could be drilled upon the current location; however, there are several other potential issues at the current location based on the size of the lot and proximity to houses. Any new well drilled would have to be permitted by the Arizona Department of Water Resources. 

“Public works has estimated the costs for new underground pipes to the delivery system at an additional $480,000 to $770,000, depending upon exact locations of pipe and construction methods necessary for installation.

“Under the provisions of the 1986 ordinance, if council assessed only the active users of the property, each property would need to be assessed between approximately $97,000 and $155,000, depending on the final cost of repairs to the system in order to drill a new well and upgrade the delivery system”

An alternative to closing the system, the report says, would be approving $1.4 million to completely rebuild the system, including $592,000 to drill a new well, $770,000 for a new delivery system, and $38,000 for contingency.

Banner hospital expanding Emergency Department

(Posted Aug. 5, 2019)

Banner Casa Grande Medical Center announced this today:

Banner Casa Grande Medical Center will begin work on a $10 million Emergency Department and Wound Clinic expansion this fall.

The expansion, part of an ongoing commitment to update the hospital, will add more than 3,300 square feet to the existing Emergency department, creating private triage areas and 12 more patient rooms to bring the total number of ED beds to 28.

The project will also put a second CT scanner in the ED, add more public restrooms, and expand staff storage and work space.

“As more people continue to move to our community, we want to make sure our Emergency department can handle their needs,’’ said Brian Kellar, CEO of Banner Casa Grande. “It’s our responsibility to make sure people have the best possible access to emergency medicine now and in the future.

“This expansion allows us to provide even greater access to emergency-care services.’’

The Banner Casa Grande Emergency department records more than 4,000 visits a month, making it the busiest ED in Pinal County.

The project’s first phase will move the current Wound Clinic to a more accessible space in the medical office building next to the hospital on Florence Boulevard. The second phase calls for the former clinic space to be remodeled into additional space for the Emergency department, Kellar said.

Planning and design have already begun, with construction expected to be finished by November 2020.

Emergency services will not be affected by the construction, Kellar said. Parking and ED access will remain the same.

The ED expansion is the latest phase in Banner’s updates to the Casa Grande campus, Kellar said. Since 2014, Banner Health has invested millions in facility upgrades, including opening a new Women’s and Infant Services unit and expanding the hospital’s pharmacy.


Alternative recycle locations

(Posted July 12, 2019)

Now that Casa Grande has terminated its recycling program (in which only about 26 percent of customers participated), the city has posted this list of places that will take some recyclable items:

• City of Casa Grande Landfill

5200 ChuiChu Road

Scrap metals, appliances, electronic-waste, paints

Monday-Saturday 7 a.m.-4 p.m.

(520) 421-8628

• Metal Solutions

1551 N. VIP Blvd.

Aluminum cans, aluminum, electronic, metals, pallets

(520) 876-5784

• Recycle Cans and Plastics

852 W. Gila Bend Highway

Cans and clear plastics only

(520) 560-5711

• Timeless Recycling

401 W. Main Ave.

Aluminum cans, plastic #1, copper, brass, electrical wire, Christmas lights, batteries

(520) 836-2075

• Wellington Salvage

1429 N. Grant Ave.

Aluminum cans, aluminum, electronic, metals, pallets

(520) 413-0839


Skilled nursing facility a step closer

(Posted July 15, 2019)

Reactions from neighbors

City Council staff report

P&Z staff report, with charts

P&Z minutes

A proposal for a single-story skilled nursing facility at the southeast corner of a vacant area at Trekell and Kortsen roads is a step closer with City Council initial approval of changing zoning there.

The north part of the vacant land is now zoned as general business and the south as commercial office.

City Planner James Gagliardi told the council during its July 8 meeting that the present zoning categories would not allow a nursing facility.

“It can only be accommodated in other zone districts such as the R2, which is conditionally permitted,” he said.

These are the city’s definitions of the zoning categories involved in the request:


The purpose of the R-2 Zone is to provide for medium density housing in multiple-family structures and directly related complementary uses. The R-2 Zone is designed to allow an economical use of land while creating an attractive, functional and safe residential environment.


The purpose of the B-2 Zone is to provide for low intensity, retail or service outlets which deal directly with the consumer for whom the goods or services are intended. The uses allowed in this district are to provide goods and services on a community market scale and located in areas which are served by arterial street facilities.


The commercial office (CO) zoning district is established to provide for well-designed and attractive professional, administrative, and business offices of a residential scale and character on sites in appropriate locations to serve the nearby residential and commercial areas. The commercial office zoning district is characterized by low volumes of direct customer contact and is designed to provide a transition of development between residential neighborhoods and more intense land uses, districts, and heavily traveled transportation routes. The principal uses permitted in this district are professional, semi-professional, administrative, and business offices, and branch offices for banks and similar financial institutions.

Because the proposed project butts up to the Cottonwood Ranch neighborhood, several comments were received from neighbors, Gagliardi continued.

(See link above to written comments)

“People definitely did not want to see multi-family, a lot of people requested that there be a limit of height at 20 feet,” Gagliardi said. “There was concern about proximity of parking areas to the back, also some questioning in regards to type of landscaping and screens to be created between Cottonwood Ranch and this new development.”

There is now a 30-foot landscape buffer on the Cottonwood Ranch side, he continued, and the 20-foot buffer on the nursing home side would effectively create a 50-foot buffer.

There were also questions about pedestrian access and an emergency access road, Gagliardi said, things that would have to be detailed by the developer as the process moves on.

“As a result of those concerns, staff came up with a list of recommended conditions that would be imposed on the zone district that would help minimize those concerns and help make this a compatible site with the Cottonwood Ranch neighborhood,” he continued.

They are:

• Except for single-family dwellings on individual lots, a major site plan shall be required to be considered for approval by the Planning Commission prior to construction of any use on this property. 

• Development is limited to single-story structures with a maximum height of 20 feet for principally permitted uses and a maximum height of 28 feet for conditionally permitted uses.    

• All buildings, other than accessory, shall be setback a minimum distance of 75 feet from this property’s south and east boundary. Accessory structures shall have a minimum setback of 20 feet.     

• A minimum 20 feet landscape buffer shall be provided along this property’s south and east boundaries.  Quantity, minimum spacing, and varietal type of landscaping, as well as any wall design and placement, shall be determined at the time of major site plan/preliminary landscape plan consideration by the Planning Commission. 

• The site design shall address the concern regarding pedestrian access between this subject site and Cottonwood Ranch Tract ‘P’.    

• Four-sided architecture is required, which is to include the use of masonry; door and window detail such as pop-outs, recesses, or ledges; and wall articulation of on all sides of principle buildings.    

• Prior to any development, the subject property shall be placed in its own parcel or parcels, all of which shall be completely contained within the new R-2 zone boundary.  

• Vehicular, utility and emergency access easements to the property, where needed, meeting City standards shall be recorded prior to the issuance of any building permits on this property.

Almost all of the vacant land is under the same owner, Gagliardi said, so there’s no issue with access, but the city want to make sure the access easements are created before issuing a building permit.

“Should this request for zone change be approved,” he continued, “the next step for the applicant is to go forward with a major site plan and conditional use permit to build their skilled facility.”

Voting for the initial zone change approval (with final approval expected during the next meeting) were council members Mary Kortsen, Dick Powell, Matt Herman, Bob Huddleston and Lisa Fitzgibbons. Mayor Craig McFarland abstained from voting and Councilwoman Donna McBride was on an excused absence.

Hepatitis A outbreaks in Arizona, Pinal County
          Announcement    Fact sheet    Clinics locations

Initial approval for expansion of CG's Main Library

TOP: The new exterior, looking west. ABOVE: Proposed large meeting room. LEFT: Proposed small meeting room.

(Posted July 10, 2019)

The staff report is HERE

The construction timetable is HERE

A $765,100 expansion of Casa Grande’s Main Library at 449 N. Drylake St. was given initial approval Monday night by the City Council. Final approval is expected during the next council meeting.

The construction timeline for the project to add meeting rooms and widen a hallway show initial work beginning this month and final completion in early January of next year. The changes will be on the east and north sides of the present building.

Development impact fees of $720,000 and a $45,100 grant from Arizona State Library will pay for the work.

Steve Hardesty, community services director, told the council that, “The goals of the expansion project are several.

“It will provide additional meeting space for the public, provide additional rooms which currently are not available at the Main Library, it will provide staff with more flexibility and ability to serve public requests with more efficiency and it will invest our historical development impact fees into something that the citizens can realize.”

In showing the council sketches of the outside and interior work, Hardesty said the furniture shown will not necessarily be what is finally chosen.

“The actual furniture that will be selected has not been selected yet so the room could be configured into several different ways to utilize for the public,” he said.

Hardesty noted that there are study rooms at the Vista Grande Library “that are heavily utilized and our staff feels it would really expand our programs to have these study rooms available” at the Main Library.

Responding to a question from Councilman Matt Herman about landscaping not being in the construction contract, Hardest said, “We’re trying to value engineer the project to meet the budget, so that’s an area, landscaping, you can spend a lot of money, which our (city) staff can do utilizing their skills. It will not be less landscaping.”

$301,650 in community grants

(Posted July 9, 2019)

(Click on an organization name for services provided)

Community grants totaling $301,650 were approved Monday night by the Casa Grande City Council.

They are:

Pinal Alliance for Economic Growth - $25,000. 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Arizona - $140,000.

Casa Grande Main Street - $39,150.

Casa Grande Valley Historical Society - $34,000. 

Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce - $43,500.

Pinal County Water Augmentation Authority - $20,000.

The staff report accompanying the agenda item points out that grants are the same as last year, except that, “The funding request for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Arizona increased by $30,000 due to an expansion of service. The Boys and Girls Clubs will oversee a Teen Program at the Community Recreation Center.”

The report adds that, “Each of these organizations provides a direct benefit to residents of the city of Casa Grande. Historically, each of the organizations listed has previously applied and been awarded funding support from the city. 

“The city made applications available to the organizations for the upcoming fiscal year as well.

Each service organization submitted an applicant package which included a funding request, an outline of the services provided and a copy of their most recent financial statement audit.

“As shown in years past, the value of the impact that each of the services organizations provides greatly outweigh the monetary value, and represent a great investment to our community.

“The funding composition for this request includes $161,650 from the General Fund and $140,000 from the Youth Services - Dedicated Sales Tax Fund.”

Casa Grande Alliance poster for July

Community Impact award goes to Donna McBride

(Posted June 12, 2019)

Pinal County made this announcement today:

We are sending this out as a courtesy to ACRL

Arizona’s Center for Rural Leadership, commonly known as Project CENTRL, distributed select awards during its annual CENTRL Celebration June 8, 2019 at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino in Chandler.

The 2019 Outstanding Alumni Award for Civic Impact was given to Casa Grande resident and Pinal County employee Donna McBride, who was a member of CENTRL’s Class 18 from 2005-07

More than 150 people in attendance represented leaders from across the state who are alumni of the program, graduates of Class 27, the newly selected participants in Class 28 and members of the board of directors.

The Civic Impact Award recognizes someone who has taken the skills and networks they built during CENTRL and works to improve the common good of the community. Coincidentally, this year’s winner is from one our featured classes: Class 18.

She has dedicated her professional and volunteer life to public service. She currently is the mayor pro tem of Casa Grande, serving on the city council since 2016. What started as a volunteer position in Pinal County Juvenile Court, turned into a 15-year second career working with Court Appointed Special Advocate Unit. She helped create the Casa Grande Youth Commission and has been a part of just about everything in Casa Grande from the mayor’s reading to drug prevention (Casa Grande Alliance board president) to the Parks/Recreation and Police Advisory boards. As a reflection of her efforts, she was appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism.

In the words of one of her nominators: “she is a caring and generous person who is always going 100 miles per hour and works from sunup to sundown to help improve the lives of others.”

Project CENTRL is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to improving the development of Arizona’s rural leaders and establishing a network of problem-solvers, decision makers and spokespersons for rural Arizona. 

Each year it competitively selects 16 participants connected to rural Arizona for a 12-month, tuition-free training program delivered in Arizona’s rural communities, Sonora, Mexico, and Washington D.C. Participants build personal leadership skills, learn about the issues facing the state and connect with experts and other leaders. More than 650 people have graduated from program including six serving in Arizona’s 54th Legislature. 

Visit for more information.

Powell's returns as The Tangled Tail

(Posted June 2, 2019)

(The former Powell’s Feed and Supply has posted these two announcements)

The Tangled Tail Market. A New Beginning

We are thrilled to bring to life a new beginning for the old feed store. For 68 years, West Main Avenue was inhabited by cowboys and local agricultural enthusiasts. It was a buzzing store, filled with western clothing, tack, vet supplies and the like. 

The feed store saw many years of successful times, but the last few years were trying to say the least. Finally, in January of 2019, the feed store shut it doors, and there it sat. Empty and cold. 

That is, until the weekend three ladies sat discussing the world’s problems in that same feed store. It dawned on them that this historic landmark needed life. 

And there began the birth of The Tangled Tail Market. 

This new adventure is sure to breathe life back into the feed store, as well as downtown Casa Grande! 

Every month, we will bring you new and exciting wares for your homes. We can’t wait for you to see the extra exciting moments just outside the doors. From petting zoos, to food trucks, to bounce houses, The Tangled Tale Market is sure to be your favorite destination! 

Keep a look out for what’s to come next. These ladies don’t rest, so there are sure to be many surprises in store for the old feed store! 


We have been honored to be CG’s Cowboy Headquarters for the last 68 years and although we will no longer be a feed store, we are looking forward to a new chapter that will allow us to continue to do something we enjoy in the city that we love. 

The Tangled Tail will be open this Friday and Saturday and we’d love for you to follow that page for more info and for you to join us for this fun event!

We’d like to extend a sincere thank you to our customers from over the years. Closing our doors was not easy to do, but our small business could no longer withstand the pressure put on us by larger chain stores. Please remember that emotions are still raw and your kindness is appreciated. 

If you have anything on consignment left in the store, please plan on getting it this Saturday.

New app will cut wait times at Banner Urgent Care

(Posted July 26, 2017)

Banner Health issued this press release today:

Banner Health is adding an online feature that will increase comfort and convenience for patients receiving care at Banner Urgent Care facilities across the Valley, including in Casa Grande. The new online reservation system allows patients to virtually “save their spot in line,” thus avoiding the need to sit in waiting rooms when they aren’t feeling well.

Banner Urgent Care in Casa Grande will begin using this feature on Aug. 1 at its location at 1676 E. McMurray Blvd., Suite 1.

Patients using the online check-in system can reduce their wait to as little as zero time up to an average of 15 minutes, depending on the location. Traditionally, urgent care clinics have operated on a walk-in basis, with no way to make an appointment or reserve a time to see a healthcare provider.

The process is quick and easy. By visiting from a desktop computer, smartphone or tablet, patients can book an online reservation at one of the participating Banner Urgent Care clinics. Patients simply type their name and why they are visiting the clinic.

Patients can schedule a visit daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., search by locations by ZIP code, by a range of distances up to 30 miles from their location and by clinics with a lab and diagnostic imaging on site. After selecting a reservation time and opting to receive text message updates, patients will receive alerts as the reservation time approaches. When patients arrive at the clinic, they check in electronically and can monitor where they stand in the queue or “line” on a screen in the lobby.

“We greatly value our patients’ time and busy schedules, and aim to do all we can to make their lives easier,” said Banner Urgent Care CEO Rob Rohatsch, MD. “Minimizing their wait in our facility can mean a great deal to someone who’s juggling many demands, facing a hectic day or simply not feeling well enough to sit in a waiting room.”

To view wait times or make a reservation for any of the 43 participating urgent care locations in Arizona, visit

Banner Urgent Care provides a close, convenient and affordable treatment option for patients with non-life threatening illnesses and injuries such as cold and flu; ear, eye and throat infections; fevers; skin rashes; and sprains, strains and lacerations. Banner Urgent Care is open every day of the year, and accepts most insurance plans. 

for July

Requests for Indian gambling grants listed

(Posted June 19, 2017)

Submission of gambling money grant requests by local groups to the Tohono O’Odham and Ak-Chin Indian communities was approved Monday night by the City Council.

To view the complete request from each group, click on these links and then on the names in blue at the bottom of the document:



The groups applying and the amounts requested are:


• Against Abuse, Inc.­

$84,250 for domestic violence services.

• Boys and Girls Clubs of the Casa Grande Valley­

$25,000 for scholarships.

• Casa Grande Lion’s Club

­$11,472.69 for vision programs.

• Casa Grande Main Street

­$16,500 for mural design and commemoration event.

• Central Arizona College­

$10,000 for Young Advanced Academy.

• Honoring, Hiring, Helping Our Heroes­

$166,400 for Eagles Landing Veteran Center.

• Pinal Hispanic Council­

$10,000 for Cesar Chavez scholarships.

• Seeds of Hope­

$6,314 for hot lunch program.

• The Museum of Casa Grande­

$50,000 for Heritage Hall repairs.

City of Casa Grande projects:

• Animal Care and Adoption Center­

$35,000 for intake and receiving shade structure. 

• Arts and Humanities Commission­

$10,000 for art mini grants.

• Rodeo grounds canopy­


• Dorothy Powell Senior Center

­$8,728 for equipment improvements.

• Fire Department

­$34,000 for active shooter and rescue task force.

• Community Development

­$40,000 for emergency housing and repair assistance.


• Boys and Girls Clubs of the Casa Grande Valley

­$25,000 for scholarships.

• Casa Grande Lion’s Club­

$5,998 for vision programs.

• Casa Grande Main Street­

$10,000 for Highway 84 mural and Sunset Court neon sign.

• Honoring, Hiring, Helping Our Heroes

$83,200 for Eagles Landing Veteran Center.

• Pinal Hispanic Council­

$7,000 for Cesar Chavez scholarships.

• Seeds of Hope

$34,493 for hot lunch program.

• The Museum of Casa Grande­

$50,000 for Heritage Hall repairs.

City of Casa Grande Projects:

• Arts and Humanities Commission­

$10,000 for Dieciseis de Septiembre Fiesta.

• Dorothy Powell Senior Center­

• $8,728 for equipment improvements.

• Community Development­

$40,000 for emergency housing and repair assistance.

• Rodeo grounds canopy­


The staff reports point out that under Prop. 202, Arizona tribes agreed to share a portion of their revenues with the state of Arizona. 

“Of the revenues shared,” they say, “12 percent is made available to cities, towns, or counties for the purpose of benefiting the general public through either direct distribution to the local governments or in the form of a deposit to the state of Arizona’s Commerce and Economic Development Commission’s Local Community Fund.

“As all applications to the tribes require a resolution of the city of Casa Grande if awarded, the city created a procedure to collect all Prop. 202 requests at the same time, review them to be sure they address tribal target areas and dollars are spent or benefit Casa Grande residents. This process is intended to consolidate the requests, review them together, and take to the City Council once a year.

“The city of Casa Grande would be responsible for the pass through of these funds. We anticipate this would take approximately 10 hours of staff resources with an approximate cost of less than $500.”

Water stations opened; heat illness signs listed

(Posted June 16, 2017)

The Casa Grande Fire Department issued this announcement today:

Extreme high temperatures over the next few days means risks for heat related illness and dehydration. Please stay hydrated. 

There are places throughout the city that will be providing water for those in need of hydration. Those locations and the hours are on this map.


Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

• Faintness or dizziness.

• Nausea or vomiting.

• Heavy sweating often accompanied by cold, clammy skin.

• Weak, rapid pulse.

• Pale or flushed face.

• Muscle cramps.

• Headache.

• Weakness or fatigue

Heat exhaustion can quickly turn to heat stroke, which can be deadly.


Warning signs of heatstroke are:

• Red, hot and moist or dry skin.

• No sweating.

• A strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse.

• Nausea.

• Confusion.

• Headache.

• Strange behavior.

Community development block grant updates

These proposed amendments were outlined to the City Council during Monday night's (June 5) meeting. A two-week comment period opens June 12, with the proposed changes going back before the City Council during the first meeting in July

It's the time of year that we begin hearing about needless drownings of children in unsafe or unattended pools.

The Casa Grande Fire Department has a page for pool safety tips -- with video -- at





for June





for May

(The complete social hosting, unruly gathering ordinance

is HERE)

Casa Grande making another attempt to regain
authority to provide ambulance services in city

(Posted May 3, 2017)

The full staff report is HERE

The scope of work is HERE

Although the Casa Grande Dispatch story said the city “has taken the first step toward operating the city’s own ambulance service,” it’s really a situation that has been going on for years, basically just another “first step.”

What happened during Monday night’s City Council was approval of a resolution approving hiring a consultant to do a complete analysis of ambulance services in Casa Grande as a prelude to applying to the state for a certificate of necessity for the city to take over providing service.

The city had given up that certificate in the mid 1970s in favor of a private provider.

A brief history of city actions about ambulance service:

In 2003 it was announced that details were being worked out with the then provider, Southwest Ambulance, to have an ambulance in town that would serve only Casa Grande, eliminating situations where Southwest was busy elsewhere and would have to call in an ambulance from Coolidge or Maricopa or sometimes as far away as Maricopa County.

Under that proposal, the city would obtain a new ambulance which Southwest would buy. The attendant would be a Southwest employee and a Casa Grande Fire Department person would also ride in it for calls.

Fast forward to 2007 and another presentation to the City Council about taking over the service because of poor response times and other problems with Southwest.

The 2003 proposed agreement?

"What was transpiring at that time was we were looking at their service levels," then City Manager Jim Thompson said. "We had concerns because of issues like that: never available or en route or other issues. Southwest at that time to make amends or to, I guess, minimize some of the issues that we were faced with provided a designated unit. They painted it, they did everything, and it was designated unit for Casa Grande. They did it. Was it in written form that this was never to leave the city? No. Southwest  stated that that was their intent, but we did not enter into any agreement with Southwest. 

"At the time, we were looking at potentially entering into an agreement, but we backed out of it," because of several difficulties, Thompson continued. 

"In that draft agreement, there was some other contingencies that they were going to support us in acquiring our own transport unit and some other things. We never actually signed that agreement. The city on their own went out and acquired our own transport unit, which we have."

Fast forward — again — to 2015.

The city was again trying to decide what to do about continued substandard Southwest service.

There was a series of meeting between Southwest and city officials, leading to a proposed solution.

Fire Chief Scott Miller told the council that a memorandum of understanding "commences a series of steps that will allow the city of Casa Grande Fire Department to have local control over continuity of care and provide a level of coverage to our customers in our community."

Under the proposed agreement, Southwest and the city would both provide basic and advanced life support ambulance service but Southwest would be basically limited to inter facility calls.

"Inter facility calls is running from hospital to hospital and maybe from a nursing home to the hospital or from a doctor's office," Miller said. "They will continue to do that."

     The CG News archived story from that meeting, with statistics, follows this story

Fast forward — yet again — to 2016.

During a council study session Chief Miller said the new owners of Southwest would not support such a memorandum of understanding, sending the city back to the drawing board.

   The Casa Grande Dispatch story about that meeting, with statistics, is HERE

That leads to Monday night, where Miller outlined the proposal to hire the James Vincent Group for an ambulance feasibility analysis at a cost of $34,750.

The staff report, read, in part, by Chief Miller, says that by working with the James Vincent Group, the city will be provided objective information regarding the feasibility of three scenarios: 

• City-provided advanced life support (ALS) and basic life support (BLS) 9­1­1 calls and transports.

• City-provided ALS and contracted BLS 9­1­1 transports.

• Continued contracting of all transport services by a private provider. 

“Their approach is designed to provide us with a comprehensive review of the options for cost ­effective solutions that increase levels of service, financial stability, workforce efficiency and reliability in the system,” the report continues. “The study will enable the City of Casa Grande and its leadership to examine the different options and alternatives and make decisions on the future path of this project based on reliable and independent information.

“JVG has an expert understanding specific to the Arizona fire, ambulance and EMS environment. They have recently worked on similar fire ambulance service analysis and certificate of necessity projects for Chandler, Goodyear, Tempe, Gilbert, Peoria, Green Valley Fire District, Mesa, Northwest Fire District, Sun City West Fire Department and Timber Mesa Fire District.

“After all the information has been collected the JVG team will spend time preparing a draft report. Through a process of review, assessment and feedback, they will complete a detailed analysis and recommendations on the feasibility and sustainability of Casa Grande owning and operating an ambulance transport service.”

Miller told the council Monday night that the “analysis timetable starts this month. with completion by the end of August.

“At that time they will provide us with a final report and then we’ll schedule a study session at that time to bring to the council on those three scenarios and what the recommendation is,” Miller said.

Mayor Craig McFarland asked if the study would help the city acquire a certificate to provide service.

“Yes, sir,” Miller replied. “This is the feasibility, doing all the financial review. They’ll give a five-year forecast on where they think the revenues will be and do the complete analysis from that team.

“And that piece that they’re providing to us, if we choose to continue on the CON process, will be utilized for that process.”

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen said, “I’m so glad to see this. I mean, I really feel like now we’re moving forward. Over the last two or three years there’s been some real concern about our ability to provide good quality, on-time ambulance service to our residents.

“Just the uncertainty of the different providers we’ve had, it doesn’t seem like they can stay financially solvent or solid.

“I also like the idea, if possible, that we have a little more control over what happens in our city.

“This is going to be the big, giant step, I believe, towards getting that.

“The cities that I see that have used these folks gives me a real sense of confidence that we’re going to get some good data and some good decision making.”

Councilman Ralph Varela wanted to know if the analysis will deal with potential legal ramifications.

“This is just strictly feasibility study,” Miller replied, “and once we go into the CON process, that’s where we would discuss the potential of what the costs would be for that legal process.”

Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons, noting that the agreement calls for input from the city, asked if that means actually meeting with residents.

“Does this mean are you going to actually get with the community to see if it’s the current environment?” she asked. “Are you going to check with the community to see how they feel the service is, or is it just strictly internal numbers and that kind of thing?”

Chief Miller replied, “It’s strictly internal, taking our data and our information over a period of time and they’ll be doing the analysis from that, not only from the Fire Department standpoint but from our call load and then from our financials from the Finance Department.”

Fitzgibbons asked if the Fire Department has any records of complaints from the public about ambulance service.

“No,” Miller replied. “We currently do not have any cards or anything that comes back to us regarding that service. That’s something we’ll be implementing this upcoming year, so we can have some feedback as far as how the service was.”

Passage of the resolution was unanimous, with Councilman Dick Powell on an excused absence.

Archived story about 2015 ambulance presentation

(Posted Sept. 22, 2015)

Emergency service by Southwest Ambulance in Casa Grande has degenerated to the point where the city will apply to the state for a certificate of necessity to operate its own service through the Fire Department.

The situation and what it means was outlined to the City Council during a study session Monday night.

"About 10 months ago, we started noticing that we didn't have the coverage in the city that we needed for response to medical calls," Fire Chief Scott Miller told the council. 

"We started keeping track of times we were at Level One, which meant we only had one ambulance in the city, or Level Zero, where we had no ambulances; in other words, there was none that could response to an emergency call if it was to occur."

It is not uncommon to hear emergency dispatchers for the city advise that Southwest is at certain levels or that it is a Level Zero, bringing in an ambulance from Coolidge or Maricopa, or sometimes as far away as Maricopa County.

"Deputy City Manager Rains and myself have had meetings over the last eight to 10 months with Southwest Ambulance vice president and their operations person," Miller continued, "and we have been discussing and looking at this kind of agreement and we've finally gotten to this point where we're both good with moving forward on it.

"It was basically to look at the coverage within our community that just wasn't there."

The memorandum of understanding, Miller said, "commences a series of steps that will allow the city of Casa Grande Fire Department to have local control over continuity of care and provide a level of coverage to our customers in our community."

Under the proposed agreement, Southwest and the city would both provide basic and advanced life support ambulance service but Southwest would be basically limited to inter facility calls.

"Inter facility calls is running from hospital to hospital and maybe from a nursing home to the hospital or from a doctor's office," Miller said. "They will continue to do that."

Reaching a new emergency ambulance transport agreement with Southwest and getting a certificate from the state for the city's ambulance service will be a lengthy process, the council was told.

Answering a question from Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons, Miller said, the memorandum of understanding with Southwest (approved by the council during the regular meeting Tuesday night) will go to RuralMetro/Southwest Ambulance for its signature.

"After that," Miller continued, "then we would start working on our certificate of necessity application.

"The CON application is probably two inches thick, where it's a document that we have to put together and there's a chapter of items that we would have to submit.

"We're estimating that putting that application together will take four to six months in order to get that application.

"Included in that application would be the letter of support from Southwest Ambulance for us to receive a CON. 

"It goes to the state Department of Health Services. DHS currently has six to 12 months in order to hear it and have it out. Right now, the director has indicated that if nobody intervenes in it, we have the letter of support from Southwest, they can go ahead and waive any CON hearings and they will have that done within a six-month period.

"So you're looking first at four to six months and then six months at DHS, so you're talking almost 12 months out, right there.

"And then from there we have to make a determination on when are we going to launch and go operational."

As part of the memorandum of understanding, Southwest promises a letter of support for Casa Grande getting a certificate of necessity and promises that neither it nor any subsidiary will intervene against the CON request.

Other parts of the memorandum, to be refined during a final ambulance emergency transport agreement, include:

• The city may contract out claims processing and billing.

• The city will continue to be compensated for when a Fire Department person rides along to the hospital during a Southwest advanced life support call.

• The city will still provide dispatch services.

• Southwest will adhere to response times as set forth in its CON.

• The city will rent space at fire stations for Southwest ambulances, to be determined in the final agreement.

• The final agreement with Southwest will be for six years.

What the city now has

Answering a question from Councilman Dick Powell, Miller said the Fire Department now has one ambulance transport unit "and we have another one in our budget this year for purchasing. Conceptually, we're looking at three 24-hour cars that would be out there eventually for coverage dedicated in the city."

In addition, Miller said, "Part of the bigger picture of when we do apply for a CON is that we have had discussions with the Eloy Fire District and we're going to enter into an intergovernmental agreement that we will back each other up and help each other in ambulance transportation. So that's another piece."

Why would Southwest agree?

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen asked what benefit would Southwest get from agreeing to the changes. "Why would Southwest do this?" she asked.

Miller responded that, "Well, one of their business models that they're looking at, it allows it to show to their investors within their company that they have a six-year commitment, six-year guaranteed contract with agencies out there."

RuralMetro, the parent company of Southwest, has only recently emerged from bankruptcy.

Service area

Southwest's certificate of necessity covers Casa Grande, Florence, Coolidge and the city of Maricopa.

"What we're going after for our CON," Miller said, "is our jurisdictional boundaries of the city, and as the city grows that CON grows with the city."

Banner Casa Grande gets 'B' patient safety rating

(Posted April 24, 2017

The full Banner Casa Grande rating is HERE

Banner hospitals made this announcement today:

The Leapfrog Group, a national patient safety watchdog organization, has released its spring 2017 safety grade list. Eleven Banner Health hospitals have received high grades for patient safety ratings. Three hospitals received an ‘A’ grade (the highest patient safety rating), while eight others received a ‘B’ grade (an above average score). The Banner hospitals that received high marks include:

• Banner Boswell Medical Center – Sun City, Ariz.

• Banner Estrella Medical Center – Phoenix, Ariz.

• Sterling Regional MedCenter – Sterling, Colo.

• Banner Baywood Medical Center – Mesa, Ariz.

• Banner Casa Grande Medical Center – Casa Grande, Ariz.

         (Banner Casa Grande received a B rating)

• Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center – Sun City West, Ariz.

• Banner Payson Medical Center – Payson, Ariz.

• Banner Desert Medical Center – Mesa, Ariz.

• Banner Gateway Medical Center – Gilbert, Ariz.

• North Colorado Medical Center – Greeley, Colo.

• McKee Medical Center – Loveland, Colo.

The Leapfrog Safety Grade uses 30 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. It is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. 

A full description of the data and methodology used in determining grades is available online at

“Hospitals that earn top marks nationally in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, have achieved the highest safety standards in the country,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “That takes commitment from every member of the hospital staff, who all deserve thanks and congratulations when their hospitals achieve an ‘A’ Safety Grade.”

It's not always simple to request land use changes,
but this case was happily resolved for Home of Hope

(Posted April 22, 2017)

The P&Z staff report is HERE

The City Council staff report is HERE

It’s sometimes not so simple to apply for a zone change or other land use regulation. Sometimes it’s a thicket of previous decisions, changes along the way.

That was the case with Teen Challenge Home of Home requesting permission to expand its operation at 1955 N. Casa Grande Ave., just south of Kortsen Road, to allow a group home of up to 40 women plus children and to expand day care to allow for up to 100 kids.

The difficulties, happily resolved in favor of Home of Hope, go back to 1983 when the land was zoned as a planned area development to allow a 120-bed nursing facility.

Changing that PAD wasn’t possible because today’s city zoning regulations say a PAD must be on at least five acres. Home of Hope’s 40,465 square feet building is on only 2.38 acres.

Planning and Development Director Paul Tice told the City Council during Monday night’s meeting that the best way was to rezone the property as R-3 residential.

City zoning codes describe R-3 as allowing “high density housing in multiple family structures and directly related complementary uses. The R-3 zone is designed to allow highly economical use of land while creating an attractive, functional and safe residential environment.”

The staff report gives this description of Home of Hope:

The Teen Challenge Home of Hope (HOH) is located at 1955 N. Casa Grande Ave. between Cottonwood Lane and Kortsen Road. 

The Home of Hope is a 12-to-15 month residential program for women and their young children. 

They opened July 2003 with 10 women and children. Today the Home of Hope has the capacity to serve 40 families. 

Women, not only from Arizona but from all over the United States, have come with their children to receive help. 

The result has been mothers and children living new lives free from drug abuse, domestic violence and homelessness. 

Home of Hope provides a safe environment for women to become mentally sound, emotionally balanced, socially adjusted, physically and spiritually healthy and to move out and become productive members of our communities. 

To date, the Home of Hope has helped over 800 women and children.

Tice told the council he would give some history on the property that’s important to understand why a zone change really was necessary, even though the use really isn’t changing.

“This property was originally zoned actually PND back in 1983,” he said, adding that “PND was the precursor to our PAD zone. The property was a single-family zone, R-1, zoned to PND for the express purpose of building a 120-bed nursing facility. That was the zoning decision in 1983.

“In 2005, the use had changed from a nursing facility to the Home of Hope facility that consists of a shelter for women and a day care. The Planning Commission in 2005 approved a conditional use for that use, limiting it to a 34-person daycare and then the women’s shelter.

“This was prior to my time here, but it looks like there was a decision made that the women’s shelter and the day care use was similar enough to the nursing facility use to allow it to be approved in its PAD zone. Then in 2012, the Planning Commission

considered a new conditional use permit to increase the child care population from 34 up to 59.”

There was lengthy consideration of the Home of Hope request, Tice said.

“In evaluating this with my staff, I raised a question of whether or not, really, the PAD zoning was really appropriately allowing for the day care and the women’s shelter, given the fact that it was approved as a nursing home,” he continued.

“In looking at what zoning would be the most appropriate, staff felt that the PAD zoning was no longer appropriate. The thought process had been let’s just amend the PAD and recommend council adopt a new PAD.

But the PAD zone requires a minimum site size of five acres, which they don’t meet. They have 2.3 acres of ground.

“But we did identify the fact that the R-3 zoning allowed both the day care and the women’s shelter as conditional uses and the R-3 zone actually fits within the General Plan requirements, as well.

“We made the call that we could recommend approval of this conditional permit to the Planning Commission, but we asked the Planning Commission to impose a condition that said that any future expansion of the day care or the women’s shelter would require a zone change to clean up, if you will, some of the zoning compliance issues.

“Staff did recommend that the applicant apply for the R-3 zone, along with a modified conditional use for the increased day care. The zone change was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission and the day care was approved subject to the R-3 zoning being approved by City Council.”

That is what was approved Monday night by the council.

Although part of the process Monday night was a public hearing, no one from Home of Hope or the public spoke.

Prior to the council’s unanimous approval, Councilman Dick Powell said, “I really appreciate what the Planning Department did to facilitate them being able to do what they’re trying to do. It’s a wonderful organization, really serves an important need, so I compliment you for making it able to be done legally.”

Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons said, “That’s exactly what I was thinking, to recommend to them so they don’t have to go through so much.

“I know some of the Home of Hope people are here. We talk so much about healthy communities and the services, and you guys have done so much for this community and served a need that’s been there. 

“I know you guys do a great job and have been there for many, many years and so I’m happy to see the success and glad you were able to work with the city on this, so thank you.”

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen added, “And I particularly like the comment at the end of that, of making those changes, that it meets a need for our community and advances the interests of our community.

“I’m very familiar with that, because I actually sat on the hospital board when Casa Grande Regional had a nursing home facility, and I’ve seen it since it evolved and just an amazing job.”

Mayor Craig McFarland said, “Now we can have more kids, hopefully keep parents together. Thank you for what you guys do.”

A typical festival night.

(Middletown Motors photo from Facebook)

Downtown food truck court, festival to continue

(Posted April 12, 2017)

The complete staff report is HERE

The La Cocina Facebook page is HERE

Approval of a temporary use permit Tuesday night for continued operation of food truck court and festival in downtown Casa Grande sets the stage for expansion of activities in the old city.

With only minor changes, the Board of Adjustment approved the request by George and Esmeralda Orono for the operation at 280 E. Third Street, just south of Reed Mashore Park.

It’s been a process of more than a year for the Oronos.

According to the staff report accompanying the agenda item, the couple purchased the property in June 2015.

“In December of 2015,” the report continues, “the owners applied for a temporary use permit to operate Feli’s Y Sol Food Truck at the site. Sometime after the food truck was in operation, the owners started a food truck court and festival at this location to determine the viability of operating the La Cocina Food Truck Festival. 

“The festival offers a place for people to congregate in an outdoor setting, providing tables and chairs, a variety of food vendors and an entertainment stage for live music.

“Upon discovering that construction was commencing on the site, Code Enforcement issued a stop work order and informed the owners to visit with staff to determine the requirements for operating a food truck court and festival.”

After the visits, the report says, “based on the fact that the site is being proposed as an interim land use for the food truck court and festival, staff finds that the Food Truck Court/Festival would be an appropriate land use that falls under the other uses of the temporary use category.

“The food truck court would be open Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. and the Festival Nights would be held on the first and third Friday of the month September-April from 5:30-9:30 p.m.

“The site is situated on the corner of two streets (Picacho and Third) with the Reed Mashore Park to the north and the site is surrounded by businesses. The majority of the businesses in the immediate area close down early evening and there shouldn’t be any conflict with surrounding properties or parking, as on-street parking is available.”

City Planner Laura Blakeman said notice of the request was published in the Casa Grande Dispatch, drawing only one comment, a favorable one from Rina Rien, director of Casa Grande Main Street.

Rien noted, in part, that, “The La Cocina Food Truck Festival has served as a designation for local families who may not otherwise be engaged downtown. The festival is a great example of an event that has grown organically. They offer great food on local trucks. I have never heard any complaints, only positive feedback.

“Now that Main Street no longer holds a street scene event, there is no conflict. We endorse their continued activities and provide promotional support through social media. Our annual Oktoberfest will be scheduled to complement and not compete with this event.”

A question from the board was who would check vendors to see if they had required permits and insurance.

Esmeralda Orono replied that, “We did make our own applications for all the vendors that we invited to our site, so before we have an event they have to sign that application, with their insurance information and all of the approvals that we need to have from Pinal County.

“A lot of those vendors we work with we already know that they do have the proper permits, so we are making sure that all of the food trucks that are on our site have all of their paperwork.

“In regard to the insurance for the property, we have insurance on our food trucks and the property and we require every food vendor to have insurance, as well.”

Board member Gordon Beck said he had concerns about “questionable people” who hang around the area, especially on days there is distribution at the food bank to the north.

George Orono replied, “As far as the questionable people that are around there, we’re well aware of that. We’ve owned the property for about a year now, we’ve actually made frequent contact with them.

“This area, we want to change it, that whole downtown adjacent to the park. Hopefully, everybody can have fun on a Friday night.”

Esmeralda added, “There used to be a lot of trash where people would just walk through and throw their garbage, there would be a lot of them on the park tweaking. And now we’ve noticed a big change. We’re constantly doing maintenance of that property, we’re always there. We have met the surrounding neighbors, they walk their dogs and we’ve noticing that they notice the difference since we’ve been there. It’s not an empty lot, it’s now an actual place where they can see and attend or a family gathering having fun on those nights.”

George said their business is picking up.

“When we first started,” he continued, “our whole goal was to have one customer (a day). As the days have progressed, now we’ve got an average of about 40 a day. 

“And the food festival itself has really allowed us to go ahead and showcase the property, actually aware that we’re there now.

“People want this. This is local people, an event that’s local for local people.”

Esmeralda added that, “Sometimes they have concerts at Peart Park and we’re really just walking distance, so they’ll come after and have food with us. or they’ll be eating and we don’t provide any alcohol so they’ll walk around to the local bars and they’ll see the local shops around. 

“We’re making a lot of people walk around and actually get to know what’s in downtown or have forgotten what downtown has a lot of offer.

“We do see that a lot of them are coming back, a lot of people from Arizona Water Co. (to the south) are having lunch or the Arizona Workforce they will come and have lunch.”

One of the original conditions for approval was that the permit would be for one year, with administrative approval after that.

Board member Beck said he felt that further approvals should be by the board, not city staff.

George Orono saw no problem with that.

“I’d love to come back in a year,” he said. “Who knows what would change?”

Conditions for approval are:

• The temporary use permit shall be good for 12 months and may be renewed annually. Said renewal may be administratively granted. (At the request of Beck, the second sentence was deleted, replaced by appearing before the board for renewal.)

• The food court shall be limited to no more than six mobile food truck vendors.

• Food vendor trucks shall be spaced a minimum of 20 feet apart or other spacing

requirements as required by the Fire Department.

• All food vendors shall obtain a mobile food vendor license from the Pinal County

Health Department.

• All mobile food trucks and tents/canopies shall comply with applicable fire codes.

• All mobile food truck vendors must have self-contained utilities; the temporary

connection to water, wastewater, gas or electric utilities from adjacent buildings/properties is prohibited.

• Adequate refuse containers shall be provided in the food court which shall be kept in a clean and debris free condition.

• Applicant shall contact city Sanitation Division to determine the type of solid waste service that is required for this use. (An added stipulation requested by board member Charlene Southern is that the applicants must provide what the Sanitation Division requires.)

• The food truck court hours shall be limited to 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

• The festival nights shall be limited to the first and third Fridays of each month and

from hours of 5:30-9:30 p.m.

• Adequate portable bathroom facilities shall be provided that meet building and

ADA code requirements.

• Any future structures will require approval of a minor site plan and building


• Any new lighting will require approval of an electrical permit.

• Prior to operation of the food court a specific site plan shall be provided for planning staff approval that illustrates compliance with all conditions of approval.

Arts & Humanities mini grants available to teachers

(Posted March 22, 2017)

The Casa Grande Arts & Humanities Commission is partnering with Casa Grande schools to distribute available funds “that will enrich students' concepts of the arts and humanities,” the city announced today. 

“The commission has set aside funds to award mini grants to K-12 teachers for art related projects incorporating art into science, technology, engineering and math curriculums during the 2017-2018 school year.  “Grants vary from $250 to $1,500 each and are funded by the Ak-Chin Indian Community.

“It is the Commission's goal to award as many grants as possible.”  

Grant awards vary from $250 to $1,500 each, and are funded by the Ak-Chin Indian Community.

The mini grant application is HERE.

For more information or questions, contact City Clerk Gloria Leija at 421-8639, or by email at You may also contact Deputy City Clerk Anna M. Guerra at 421-8600, ext. 1100, or by email at

Another step toward the electric car company

(Posted Feb. 6, 2017)

Another step toward bringing an electric car company to Casa Grande was taken Monday night with final approval by the City Council of annexing about 80 acres at Selma Highway and Thornton Road and rezoning the area to general industrial.

The land is at the eastern side of acreage the car company says it will use as its manufacturing location. Pinal County is negotiating with land owners to purchase that western property, which would then be sold to Lucid.

The council has already approved an agreement with Pinal County for improving Thornton Road from Gila Bend Highway to Interstate 8.

As Planning and Development Director Paul Tice told the council before the annexation was given initial approval on Jan. 17, the city 

filed an annexation petition on Dec. 19, eventually signed by two of the three property owners involved.

“One … is approximately 40 acres except for a little strip along Thornton Road, which is being left out because we can’t annex the entire right of way of Thornton Road at this time, so we have to leave a little intervening strip,” Tice said. “The same thing with the other 40-acre site. 

“At the very south boundary of the annexation is 33-foot wide strip of land needed to be in the city so we can make the Selma Highway improvements. That would be the southern terminus of the Selma Highway rights of way at this time and the north part of the right of way would come from the property to the north.”

The city was required to file a development and infrastructure services plan for the area.

“Obviously, because this property is so close to other existing development, services and infrastructure are going to be immediately available,” Tice said.

“Selma Highway, the south boundary of the site, and Thornton Road, which is the eastern boundary of the site, will both be improved into arterial standards. There would be some additional right of dedication required as the Lucid projects moves forward and then there would be a development agreement with Lucid that will specify the roadway improvements that would be made to Selma and Thornton.”

At an earlier discussion, John McGuire, speaking from the audience, asked what would happen if county negotiations to purchase the western property fail. That part of the meeting was omitted from the Casa Grande Dispatch story.

“Is there any risk to the city involved with us annexing this if that falls through in the future?” McGuire asked.

City Attorney Brett Wallace replied, “We are moving forward with this annexation and our conversations with the property owners, our conversations with staff, is that it is an area that we do want annexed into the city of Casa Grande, irrespective of what ends up happening. 

“If we do forward with the annexation and the project doesn’t come, there will be an extra area that we’ll service but it’ll be an extra area in our industrial area.

“And obviously, we certainly hope and anticipate the project will come.”

Councilman Dick Powell also replied that, “The comment I would make is, this belongs in Casa Grande. 

“If we’re trying to create this general industrial area, which we’re getting off to a very successful start in doing, that piece is key. It’s on Thornton Road, and Selma Highway once it goes through instead of ending on a ditch bank you have to cross over and then double cross, that’s going to create more development out on the west side of that.

“I think that piece is essential and probably the most important piece of ground in Casa Grande right now.”

During the Jan. 17 meeting when the annexation and rezoning received initial approval, Nick Wood, an attorney with the Snell & Wilmer law firm representing Lucid, said, “I’ve been in zoning land use for what seems like about a hundred years and during that time every once in awhile a project comes forward that is truly transformative for a city. 

“What that means is, it becomes an economic engine that not only creates significant new jobs for the city but it also becomes a catalyst to attract other businesses that brings quality jobs. And that results in quality growth and that’s what cities are always trying to achieve.

“The Lucid project is one of those transformative projects.”

Lucid has said the facility, projected to cost $700 million, will break ground in the first half of 2017, with initial hiring of about 400 people, and starting a training process involving Central Arizona College and technical and community colleges in Maricopa and Pinal counties. 

Lucid said that by 2022 it hopes to have more than 2,000 full-time employees.

Wood said city officials were essential in working out the details.

“It’s been a team effort, as far as being a very complicated effort,” he said. “We’re not quite to the finish line yet, but this is a very major step. So again, I want to thank you all for your leadership and your assistance.”

Mayor Craig McFarland told Wood, “If I could ask you to do something, go back to your client, Lucid, and please explain to them that we are on board with this project and want to see it to fruition. So any help they can give, also, in making this come full circle would be much appreciated.”

Wood replied, “Will do, mayor, thank you.”

Monday night’s final approval was under the consent agenda, with no discussion.



Hard times for Teen Center, zero attendance some days

(Posted Jan. 8, 2017)

Video of the study session is HERE

The Casa Grande Teen Center, opened about 10 years ago in Camino Mercado, has fallen on hard times, with zero attendance on some days.

The question is, what to do?

During Tuesday night’s City Council study session some background was presented and suggestions offered.

The bottom line is that the present center, leased from Central Arizona College for $1 a year, will eventually be phased out.

Recreation Superintendent Matt Jankowski told the council that the center has been open for after-school activities Monday through Friday, with some hours on Saturdays.

“Over the last year, we have seen a pretty steep in decline in both daily visits, as well as special events that are offered at the facility,” Jankowski said.

“As it sits right now, there are many days where we don’t get any participants. Good day we get sometimes three kids. Our daily average for the month is actually under two people per day, so we are not seeing very many people attend out there on a daily basis. 

“We do a number of special events out there. We used to do one a month, now we’re trying to do about one a quarter, but even those are having very few people attend them, in general.”

When the center was opened, a complaint was that its location was so far away that many teens, especially those with parents working during the day, would be unable to get there. At that time, there was no building in the center of the city that would accommodate a center and the Boys & Girls Clubs was geared only for younger children at its location next to City Hall.

“What we find out there is the location of the Teen Center has been the biggest challenge with it,” Jankowski said. “It’s kind of out of the way, it’s by the Florence Boulevard and I-10 interchange, so having a way out there after school has seemed to be the biggest issue.”

For almost three years beginning in 2010 for almost three years grant funding was used to provide transportation.

“We transported students from Casa Grande, Cactus and Villago middle schools via a 15-passenger van that was driven by a staff member,” Jankowski said. “They would stop at each one of these schools, pick up students and take them out to the teen center.

“In 2013, that service ceased because we were no longer getting any riders there. We were getting between zero and two a day, typically closer to zero.

“So, we’ve been seeing a very steady decline over the last couple of years, but we have taken a little bit more of a focused look at it over the last year.”

Jankowski said the center has ping pong and air hockey tables and other such games, plus televisions.

“There’s definitely things for people to do out there, but for whatever reason we’re not getting much participation from the local teenagers.”

It has been pointed out that over the past 10 years, many homes now have gaming stations for use over television sets, streaming videos and other offerings.

“We’ve done rides, we have tried to do special events, so we are just in a position right now where it’s getting a little bit more difficult to justify providing the programming that’s out there without anybody attending,” Jankowski said.

Alternative programs

The proposed community recreation center has become a focus for additional teen recreation programming.

City Manager Larry Rains told the council, “You may recall that during our discussions at our budget retreat, really we were looking at two different components. Number one, the component of adding the community recreation center and the amount of dialogue that we were having regarding teen services, coupled with the fact that the Boys & Girls Clubs had successfully implemented a program (The Lounge) at our Vista Grande Library that is certainly receiving a fair amount of participation and success.

“The promise that we made to the mayor and council from a staff’s perspective was to bring back this data, along with what we would consider to be an alternate plan to continue to provide some level of services for at least what I would consider to be the period of time from today until the time that we, in fact, have a rec center fully operable. 

“As plans and programming continue to come forward on that, you’re going to find that we have, we fully put a focus on the teens. It’s really an emphasis on what will be our new facility.

“But I think given the data that we’ve studied over the course of the last several years watching a bit of a decline, it just makes some sense to begin to shift the resources that we have out of this particular facility, but potentially continue to use the facility for some level of programming.”

Rains said discussions have included keeping the present Teen Center for some programming (negotiations for renewing the lease are underway), "but ultimately beginning to engage a little bit more directly with the Boys & Girls Clubs to see if we can use some of this equipment and potentially even shift, what I would consider reallocate, some of the resources into programming that is, in fact, taking the activities to the teens.

“And so I’m going to begin to have some discussions with the staff and certainly will keep the mayor and council apprised of how the dialogue goes, but likely will begin that shift ASAP rather than waiting for our new community center to open.”

Councilman Ralph Varela asked, “Is there a way, maybe, to look at a phase-out plan if we see that it’s just not going to make sense how to put a time limit on things, just can’t spend any more money on this and divert the funds to another model?”

Rains responded, “Our plan is start a phase-out plan immediately. Obviously, we’re going to want to do some level of announcement, we’re going to want to notify the individuals that have been participating. As I mentioned, there is some level of discussion we’ve had with the Boys & Girls Clubs about the programming that they’ve been providing and whether or not we could put that model at all into what they’re doing there and what those costs might look like.

“Our goals from a staff perspective has been to best utilize the resources we have in meeting the expectations of the teens.”

Discussion of closing

As Councilwoman Mary Kortsen put it, “This isn’t news to all of us.”

Her question was, “financially and that, what’s the possibility that we would just close it down for regular daily programs within the next, say, two weeks. What would it take to do that that, what kind of savings would there be and what kind of impact would there be if we just took that center over there and said instead of spending this on personnel and these costs, let’s just shut this down and put the notices out and go from there?”

Jankowski responded, “When it comes to staffing out there, there are two staff people because it is a facility that operates primarily in the evenings and on weekends. It’s limited hours compared to something like our recreation office.

“We spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 to $24,000 in personnel out there. When it comes to actual costs to manage the building and some of the programs we’re looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of around $30,000,” including utilities, supplies and other costs.

Councilman Dick Powell suggested that perhaps the center could be open just for special occasions, saving costs.

“And that’s what I’d like to do,” Kortsen said. “If we’ve got some savings, let’s use some of those savings and so maybe we can ramp up a little bit what the Boys & Girls Clubs is doing as far as the teen program, take those funds and apply it towards that there.

“And another thing is, while you’re negotiating with CAC, initially they’ve given the largesse of a dollar a year rent for the reason that it was for teens, and they may have a different attitude, you just don’t know, and they may want that space for some new things coming up, so we’ve got to kind of assume that might not be available to us.”

Jankowski responded, “And they definitely may. The idea is some of the programming that we move out there, the majority of it would still be use-based. So while it may be used specific just to teens, the programming that’s housed over at the Parks and Rec building or expanding our special interest class offerings, the majority of those items and program would be geared towards youth and teens.”

Councilwoman Donna McBride said, “I think that 10 years is a long time and things have changed within the city. And having been involved with the Teen Center from the very beginning and helped open it, it’s sad that it’s not being used, but at the same time we have a Boys & Girls Clubs that is doing phenomenal things. And just the fact of what they’ve been able to do at Vista Grande is really important to recognize.

“By doing that and changing the focus of what we’re going to use that building for, will it hurt the agreement that we have with Central Arizona College?”

Rains responded, “It will definitely require some level of amending. Mr. Jankowski mentioned the fact that we are looking at a potential extension to that and we’ve had some discussions with CAC up to this point. That would likely be one of the items that would be coming back before council for your consideration once we finalize some level of negotiations.

“The thought, as we had promised, was we wanted to give you the update on the data regarding the Teen Center tonight and consider what’s happening with this facility concurrently with the potential option of renegotiating the lease there. I don’t have an answer tonight, but will as part of the plan that we roll out on the Teen Center.”


Jankowski elaborated on moving some present offerings from the Parks and Rec building to the Teen Center building.

“We’re still interested in use of this space out there,” he said. “We would like to be able to program it a little bit more efficiently and have it as a site to do special interest classes where we’re not necessarily paying staff to be there for a set amount of time whether or not people show up, but actually hosting programs out of there where we know that there are going to be participants and people interacting at that site.

“Ideally, we’d be able to move some of our more popular classes like gymnastics and things that have got a lot of equipment, a lot of setup could go out to a site like that where that equipment could be set up and could almost stay up. That saves some of the wear and tear, too, because for a program like that we have purchased — that’s all city property — those supplies, so the constant setting up and taking down and moving around when there are different events or activities going on, that does put some wear and tear on that equipment itself. So a site that’s a little bit more specific to something like that would be very beneficial and desirable.”

Rec Center

When the community recreation center is opened (projected for 2018) there will be space for youth activities and the Boys & Girls Clubs.

Powell asked, “When will we know exactly what we can do as far as square footage and costs and all the different things, how much room do we have a for a teen center and Boys & Girls Clubs and things like that?

Jankowski responded, “For teen-specific area, it’s closer to about 3,500 square feet just for them. The gymnasium, everybody will have access to. The Boys & Girls Clubs is going to have their own area, which in and of itself is probably going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of, I believe, about 5,000 to 6,000 square feet as well as use of half the gym, as well. Half the gym would be another 5,000 square feet.

“Those are all just the conceptual numbers that have been discussed. Nothing, certainly, in concrete yet.”

Another suggestion

Varela said, “It may be that the model that we tried over there (Teen Center) is just not going to work. I’m just thinking that the distance, I think we’ve seen over the years that participation drop. I’m thinking maybe there’s a way to think of something that’s closer to the center of town and utilize those resources that we’ve committed to there to make it more effective.

“And that’s not to take the money away from the teens and so forth, just maybe there’s a way to make it more centralized so that it becomes more effective.

“I just think the center has always struggled in terms of getting teens up in that area because of a myriad of things. From a distance wise it’s not that far, but it is perception wise. And then the second thing is transportation wise, as well.

“If we’re going to invest the money, which I have no problem with that, I think it’s trying to find a more effective and efficient model to do that with.”

Another consideration

Powell said, “I look back in history and the only teen center that ever worked that I knew of was when Michael Jackson ran one when he was in high school at the old rock armory. Because he was a young person he knew what they wanted and it went really good.

“As we sit up here as “young” council people it’s hard for us to relate sometimes to the needs of the younger ones, kids.”

2016 chamber honor awards
      Presented Friday, Jan. 6, at Property Conference Center

for January

Fourth Annual Unity March route approved

(Posted Jan. 4, 2017)

The march route map is HERE

The staff report is HERE

The route for Jan. 13th’s Fourth Annual Unity March by students has been approved by the City Council.

The event will take place between 12:30-3 p.m., causing the closing of some streets.

According to the staff report, staging will be around Len Colla Recreation Center on Amarillo Street between Second and Third streets, Third Street between Galloway Avenue and Amarillo and Galloway between Third and Fourth streets.

The closures will begin at noon, with streets reopening about 1 p.m.

The walk will go west on Fourth Street from Galloway to Cameron Avenue and then north on Cameron to City Hall.

About 500 students from Villago Middle School will participate, the staff report says.

When they arrive on the lawn in front of City Hall, it continues, “they will listen to various speakers discuss the importance of this year’s theme. Winning photos and essays from the Villago Middle School Unity contest will be on display in front of City Hall for this event.”

Councilman Dick Powell requested that the request be discussed by the council rather than having it automatically approved on Tuesday night's consent agenda.

“The junior highs have primarily been involved in the march and I think that we have speakers that speak to the process of unity in our community,” he said, “so I thought it was important just to mention it.”

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen said she tries to attend the march each year.

“There’s just something about we close Cameron Avenue and the kids come from Len Colla, so we’re all standing here by the fountain (in front of City Hall) and then all of a sudden you just see these kids all along on the street and coming up,” she continued. 

“I don’t think there’s anybody there that can stand there and not get influenced watching that and seeing that and letting our children participate in this. I know it has an impact on them.”

Councilman Ralph Varela said, “And also, it’s just the whole issue of respecting and honoring the cultural diversity of the city and the diversity of all the students that come. It’s just an amazing event. And they have so much energy and they’re so well behaved and the messaging is all about students and diversity.”

Powell said the events at City Hall are open to the public.

“Absolutely,” Kortsen added. “We encourage anybody and everybody.”

  Preliminary information:

McNatt Park update calls for longer and wider
track, two tennis courts, added parking area

Updated master plan concept is at left. Original concept is above.

(Posted Dec. 30, 2016)

As the Community Services Department continues to refine the master plan for improvements at Carr McNatt Park, changes have been made for a wider walking track, additional parking and two tennis courts rather than a pickleball area.

Interim Director James Burke told the City Council during a study session Dec. 19 that the changes came after the council saw the original master plan and then directed that there be more community outreach.

The master plan is for improvements over time as funds allow, not immediate changes.

Recreation Superintendent Matt Jankowski gave a brief summation of the proposed changes.

“The walking track was one of the big items that was discussed,” he said. “The original master plan had a 10-foot-wide walking path, this one is now 14 feet wide, so it’s able to accommodate more people.

“In the southwest portion of the park there are two tennis courts there. Originally, we had four pickleball courts. Based on feedback from both pickleball players and tennis players, a new tennis court area was more desirable at this site, so we took that into consideration.

“Another item that has kind of changed the location, essentially, in the northern part of the park next to the pool there is a playground area there that was originally shifted a little bit more toward Desert Winds High School. That’s now right next to the pool area and that’s also where the splash pad will sit. So it’s a little bit closer to that water feature that we have there at the pool, we’ve got the restroom building as well as the locker room there for future development if we’d like to do anything with that.”

The walking track would be decomposed granite, the council was told, similar to the one at Grande Sports World but not as wide.

“On each side of it there is some area lighting,” Jankowski said. “To the left side of it away from the fields is security lighting, so that would be pedestal lighting.

“One of the big items discussed was safety, making sure that when people are walking during all hours of the day or evening while the park’s open that they could do so safely and lighting is essentially the best way to do that.

“Essentially, with the southern fields there will be a number of light standards. They do have the capability to have area lighting set off of them so there will be lighting on both sides of the walking path.”

In addition, Jankowski said, there will be an additional playground structure and the addition of 166 parking spaces.

“Anybody who has ever been to Carr McNatt Park on a week night in the fall or for a special event knows parking is absolutely a premium,” he said. “So by adding these parking spaces there we hope to alleviate some of the stress on that neighborhood area, as well, which we feel would be very beneficial.”

Inside of the track area would be space for three sports fields. “You could fit full sized soccer games or football games on these fields,” Jankowski said.

Burke said the three old signs on the property will be kept and eventually restored. Low-level bleachers are planned for various areas of the park, he added.

When the walking track is extended to a third of a mile from the present quarter mile, the maintenance facility at the southeast corner of the park will be demolished and a smaller building built near the southwest corner.

“It will be the maintenance for this park itself,” Burke said, “and then the larger operation we’re evaluating and working with Public Works on looking at the South Operations Center (south of Main Street). We believe that’s adequate to size the entire parks facility, it’s not that far away so the drive time won’t be really difficult.”

Burke also outlined the reasons for two tennis courts rather than a pickleball area.

“Bringing tennis here actually has a twofold benefit for us,” he said. “It helps separate some of the activity that’s going on at Dave White Park between tennis and pickleball. It will free up the facility out there so we can dedicate that to pickleball, where we can go in and make renovations, completely restripe and put in permanent posts so they don’t have to have the temporary and I think that’s a better facility.”

Track renovation

The walking track took up a major part of the presentation by Burke and Jankowski.

“We had folks talk about wanting to keep the track, people wanted the walking experience, people who like the plan as we presented it,” Burke said.

“I also worked with the Public Works Department and had their materials experts come out and look at that track. And the fact is, there’s two layers of track there, one that was originally built and a replacement that was put on top of that, and that’s creating some issues.

“We also looked at it with the parks staff and the recreation staff and we really think it’s beyond its useful life, it needs immediate attention.”

The proposal is for the Public Works Department to use a pavement machine to do a test area for use of decomposed granite.

“Where 100-yard dash begins,” Burke said, “we’d like to start there and come in with a machine and demolish that and chew it up in place and grind it down and then compact those millings and see if that would be a sufficient walking surface that you could continue to have the walking activity but in a better situation. If that demonstration works, we propose to do it for the entire track and then keep that in place for a couple of years.”

Don’t put on your running or walking shoes just yet.

“The reason I say a couple of years,” Burke continued, “is we have to do the phasing plan, we have some other things we’re going to do first and second before we get to the southern zone of the park.

“We’re building a new recreation center and as part of the recreation center is a commitment to have the indoor walking track. So our proposal would be not to remove this McNatt track until after that other (rec center) space is built and operational for the community, so we’d have a direct tradeoff.”

Jankowski told the council that the next step for the master plan is to detail a phasing plan, cost estimate for the entire project and a schedule for moving forward.

“What we’d like to do is go ahead this fiscal year and get the design going and try to get that implemented as soon as possible in the new year,” Burke said.



for November

You can join community health needs survey

(Posted Oct. 22, 2016)

The Pinal County Public Health Department is joining with Sun Life Family Health Center for a community health needs assessment.

The county announcement said Sun Life is conducting the survey “to identify gaps and areas that need improvement in health care delivery systems in Pinal County.”

The county said the survey takes five to 10 minutes to complete and is available online at the below links until Oct. 31.

English Version: 

Spanish Version:


Paper surveys, accepted until Oct. 31, will also be available at Sun Life offices throughout the county and can be completed and turned in at that office's front desk or mailed directly to 865 N. Arizola Road, Casa Grande, 85122, ATTN: Renee Louzon-Benn. 

Sun Life has offices in Apache Junction, Casa Grande, Coolidge, Florence, Eloy, Maricopa, Oracle, and San Manuel. 

Casa Grande joining regional program providing
mass notifications in emergency situations here

(Posted Oct. 17, 2016)

How the program works is HERE

The agreement is HERE

The criteria sheet is HERE

You can register by clicking on the PENS logo HERE

Casa Grande is joining Pinal County’s regional mass notification system to reach residents during emergencies.

Approval was given during Monday night’s City Council meeting. The request was part of the consent agenda, items that are approved without discussion,

According to the staff report, the Everbridge system:

• Includes reverse 911.

• Can call out staff and key officials.

• Allows real-time monitoring of social media and weather. 

• Can reach citizens through existing 911 databases or through voluntary sign up.

•  Notifications can be wide or targeted by means such as ZIP code or GIS mapping. 

• Two-way notifications allow staff to respond, providing operational feedback. 

• Monitors weather and social media feeds for established alerts or keywords to be used then notify officials. “This feature will allow real time situational awareness from field personnel or the public through the upload of picture or video back to your PC or EOC,” the report says. 

“There is an ease with the application, since the system can be activated by computer, smartphone or tablet.”

Overall, the report says, “The goal of this project was to greatly enhance the community preparedness, continuity of governmental operations, response and recovery capability and common operating picture for each jurisdiction in the region. 

“The objective of this project was to deploy a web­-based, efficient and effective system that can make critical, life­saving notifications to the public through various means, as well as communicating to personnel and groups about an incident and instructs them on proper next steps to take, along with providing situational awareness.”

The system is now operating in the county.

“Our communications manager has met with the various city department heads to set up our internal user groups for interacting with the system,” the report says. 

“Once this agreement is approved, the switch will be turned on for Casa Grande to utilize this important mass notification system.”

There will be no cost to the city, the report says, noting that a $146,250 grant from the Arizona Department of Homeland Security paid for Pinal, Gila, Greenlee and Graham counties to purchase the system. The counties are responsible for renewal fees.

Fifth Street extension fine-tuned to tie in park,
opening up entire area to link to old downtown

(Posted Oct. 6, 2016)

The presentation is HERE

When pushing Fifth Street through from Marshall to Drylake streets as it was years ago was first proposed, the thought was that it would be a straight road, providing better access to Peart Park.

That has changed.

As City Traffic Engineer Duane Eitel told the City Council during Monday night’s study session, “After looking at this and looking more at the project, we thought maybe we can do more than just have a road go through with a parking lot. We’re looking for a real sense of place between the library, Peart Park, downtown.”

A technical advisory committee of members from the community, along with city departments, hashed out three concepts, choosing the one presented Monday night.

The briefing was not the final word. It was pointed out that the project team is going to take this concept and put in some more design work.

A public outreach session, with no date yet given, will be held. 

The construction start could be sometime next year and it could be a phased work, depending upon final costs versus the project budget.

(NOTE: The concept plans presented to the council are subject to change as further design work is done. Illustrations of amenities in the park are to show how things might look, not a guarantee that they will be added exactly as shown.)

Alan Ferreira, project manager for Wilson & Company that was chosen to do the plan, gave the council a briefing on the overall view and elaborated about sections of it.

“As you can see, the street does go through, but it does have some curvature to it,” he said. “Part of the idea behind that is that you’re trying to develop a place and to try to integrate the park, the library and the street, so  as a potential traffic calming measure we put some curvature into the street that helps slow things down.

“There are sidewalk connections that cross the street, are a number of them. Again, these are primarily used for traffic calming indicators for those driving the street, but we expect people coming back and forth across the street from events in the park and the library so we would need a number of them.

“The basics of the street are that we have parking on both sides. There are angled parking in both directions on the west half. On the east half, there’s some parallel parking but there’s also some parking on the north side for vendor trucks and carts and things like that, so that in case there’s an activity going on in this location those kinds of vendors could be available.”

Ferreira also broke down three sections of the plan.

“Where Fifth Street intersects on to Marshall there would be some improvements along Marshall,” Ferreira  said. “Essentially a two-way street on Fifth and there would be some adjustments there to integrate Fifth Street and Marshall. There’s some bulb-outs, trying again to control traffic.”

“This view (B) really gets into the primary of the street,” Ferreira continued. “You can see that we have the angled parking in both directions, we have sidewalks on both sides of the street that are easily connected by the cross connectors across the street. 

“You can see the curve of the alignment of the street. You can also see that we have optimized the secured parking for the police dispatch and the library employees there, so that becomes one large secured location.”

Ferreira pointed out that there are no bicycle lanes in the plan.

“It is somewhat European in nature where there are people and cars that are operating in the same location,” he said. “Here, because we have people and we have cars, we have no stripes for bicycles. All those modes of transportation will be operating in the same location.

“That’s what generally would be considered a traffic calming measure and much more a unique approach to streetscapes here in the city.”

The rendering above (C), Ferreira said, “is actually the heart of this concept that we have for you here.

“The thing that I’d like to point out first is that the area in tan is what is a traffic calming measure, which is a raised platform. Essentially, the street comes up to curb height there and it becomes a big flat area. It can be considered a traffic calming area but it is also creating a sense of place because you’re slowing down traffic.

“That whole area, the street, the courtyard in front of the library and the landscape space in the park all become one space. It makes it a very useful space for events, festivals, any kinds. 

“It was really intended for the library to have outdoor space so they could have outdoor classrooms and learning activities, so this space has all been configured to operate as a single space.

“Again here, the primary point that I want you to be aware of is that the plaza, the raised plaza or the raised platform, does slow down the traffic and create that space for those activities.”

There would be a covered plaza space nearby, Ferreira said. It has been suggested that a sail-like fabric material be used, but that is not final, he added.

“That event space, again, would be used primarily by folks who come to the park,” Ferreira continued. “There’s a multiple number of uses there. You could have library users go out into the park, read, come back. You could have a second event in the park, because you already have an amphitheater, so you could have two things happening at one time there. “And you could have parents who could be watching their children at the playground just east of there.”

Stormwater retention included

Pointing to the numbers 6 in the upper left of the rendering, Ferreira said that would be a landscaped area incorporating displays and acting as a stormwater retention basin.

“These are areas that we intend to develop as outdoor learning environments where they could learn the plants, they could learn conserving water in the desert, environment education,” he said. 

“And it would also will serve a functional use because it will have drainage off the street that we need to collect. We really don’t want to send it anywhere else, we want to try to keep it in relationship with the park and with the development. Those areas would have somewhat of a retention capability that would be enhanced.”

That concept is known as low-impact development, Ferreira said

“This low impact development concept is a stormwater collection and management tool,” he continued, “so these landscape areas would be functional as well as esthetic, serve a number of different purposes there.”

In summation, Ferreira said, the project “involves a number of different planning approaches, low impact development, traffic calming, event space, developing a space that is recognized and used for multiple purposes. That is the concept, so far.”

Questions from the council

(answers from Eitel or Ferreira)

Bicycles, street closing

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen said she had concerns about no bicycle lanes, plus wanted to know how the new street could be shut down for special events.

Answer: The idea is that the speeds will be so low that you would want the bikes and the cars to be moving together and sharing the road.

Closing down the street for special events is possible, much like streets are closed for other events in the old downtown.


Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons had questions about lighting, asking if it would be brightly lighted, given that that part of the park is dark.

Answer: We had planned on putting lighting in. There were some concerns about that part of town, so we did have lighting. You see a lot of trees there, we’re trying to make sure it’s still open so you don’t feel closed in there or anything.

A lot of the trees that show up on the plan are already there, we tried to save as many trees as we could.

It’s primarily planned as a pedestrian space for the most part. You have to accommodate all of the lighting. There would be a combination of up lighting, street lighting, pedestrian scale lighting brought in, all of the new lighting techniques that you can do these days to accomplish all of that.

The idea is it would be more pedestrian friendly than just a standard street.

Sense of place 

“I really like the sense of place concept,”Councilman Ralph Varela said, adding that parks he has seen in Santa Fe are places that families can gather.

“This really allows that,” he continued, “and the flowing of the traffic I think is really good, because it makes it designed for folks that are going to go there and enjoy the park.

“What kind of other amenities are you planning that will kind of bring families into it, have families kind of take ownership of the park, like either a Saturday or a Sunday type of gathering, just families to be there and enjoy it?

Answer: One of the objectives that we’re trying to accomplish here is not just to develop this for the street, but by activating that whole area we now will get more use of the park. Certainly we realized that the more you can interject elements that people come to comfortably, they will come.

The park itself right now is pretty basic. It really doesn’t offer much for people coming, except with present the amphitheater. And that’s going to be critical, because from a design standpoint the opportunity here for this development would also be the park, because by the time you add benches and other things you will have more places for people to come and feel more comfortable.

Varela also wanted to know if artwork could be added to the park.

Answer: There are plenty of opportunities in this plan to incorporate art. Artists work in different media, some work on patterns and on ground, others to vertical art, some integrate their art into benches and lights and all kinds of other stuff, so the opportunity to include that into the project is pretty significant.

Opening up area

Councilman Dick Powell pointed out that the street change is primarily a transportation issue, so there

is not a lot of money at this time for some of the park extras.

“I’m really happy to see Fifth Street go all the way through to the other end,” he continued. “You’ve seen people drive drive by the park and wonder how I ever get into it. You know, you come around, you come around, you turn, there’s no turn to go into it. Unless they know to go clear back and come up on Drylake, people miss a lot of things, I think. 

“I think that’s really important and I think we’ve got a lot of bang for the buck by being able to include some of these amenities in the street itself. My compliments, I think you guys did a great job on it.”

Powell added that pushing the street through means that it would “open up that area to the downtown instead of making them have to go clear back around.”

Mayor Bob Jackson agreed.

“I think that one of the reasons the park has been underutilized for years is that the south end of the park is so isolated nobody knows that’s there,” he said. “It’s kind of dark with all the trees. So kudos to you guys for coming up with a plan.”

Splash pad

Earlier this year, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board heard a presentation about a splash pad for the southeast corner of the park. Later, it was announced that the idea was on hold until details for pushing Fifth Street through were known.

“Is that still a possibility if we do this the right way for safety reasons, maybe a four-foot fence?” Councilman Matt Herman asked. “I know that was one of the issues. We’ve been trying to build these splash pads for as much as eight years that I can remember and I think that would be something at this park that would bring people there, especially in the summer. Go to the library, go to the splash pad and that do that. I know we’ve talked about it a lot but I don’t know how far it go.”

Answer: A splash pad is not in the present concept plan, but could be added in the future.

Councilwoman Kortsen added that, “I didn’t realize this, there’s so many requirements for a splash pad. It’s not like you just put in the plumbing and the pad. The big challenge is water quality. Arizona has this requirement that it has to be drinking quality, if I understand this correctly, because kids tend to drink it. So to be able to do that, that’s why we have those challenges with a splash pad.”

Eucalyptus trees

“The concern I have,” Mayor Jackson said, “is I know that there’s some really old eucalyptus trees in there. I’m assuming that you’ve done all you can to avoid getting into those. But I also know that you’ve got to be really careful of the ground cover you put around them. And so I just put that out there as a caution as you look at your final design guide. I don’t know if any of those large, old eucalyptus trees are in the primary design area there, but we need to make sure that we don’t kill those trees in the process.”

Answer: We’ve looked at several ways of trying to save as many of those trees as possible. Unfortunately, there’s kind of a row in part there where we end up getting a couple of those, but the attempt has been made to minimize damage to the park and all the sidewalks there, the larger sidewalks of the park have all been left alone. We have made those attempts. The kind of planting that would go underneath them and the old issue of how we’re going to irrigate those trees and irrigate the plants that might go under, those things have been studied.

Police Department joining state anti-gang,
anti-drug task force to operate in the city

(Posted Sept. 25, 2016)

The agreement is HERE

The staff report is HERE

The GIITEM website is HERE, with links to various topics

Neighborhood Gang Prevention & Awareness Brochure

The Casa Grande Police Department is teaming with the Arizona Department of Public Safety to be part of the Gang Immigration and Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission, or GIITEM.

The Pinal County part of GIITEM will be headquartered in Casa Grande, Police Chief Mark McCrory told the City Council during its last meeting, making it easier for coordination and sharing of resources.

He added that the department detective who had been assigned to the U.S. Marshals Task Force will be transferred to GIITEM.

McCrory saidthe Marshals Service had begun redeploying more and more of it people to the federal courts system “and it really wasn’t the needs that we thought we needed for our city. We mutually agreed to remove our detective from the task force.

“They have pledged to work with us regarding fugitive apprehensions, as well as technical assistance on cases that we need, so we’re really not losing anything with that.”

The Police Department has worked with GITTEM in the past with gang problems, but it was pointed out that there was some concern that lately the group was focusing more on border problems than on gang problems in cities. 

McCrory said GIITEM has just gone through a major overhaul, including new commanders, adding that he and department personnel, including Criminal Investigations Division commander Capt. Angel Leos, met with GIITEM about becoming part of the revamped operation.

“We had some concerns by looking at some of the work they’ve been doing when we weren’t a member of GIITEM that they really weren’t helping our community the way we felt they could,” McCrory continued.

“We addressed these very bluntly with them and discussed these at length and we decided on mutual goals, some ideas for some mutual strategies that would help our community, and we got a commitment from them to bring people in, initially 60 days, to focus on some of our problems that are starting to just creep to the top and cause calls for service, shots fired calls, things like that.”

Although the local GIITEM division includes all of Pinal County, McCrory said, “We did receive a commitment from every one of their command, all the way down to their sergeant who will be running that, that Casa Grande will definitely be the major focus of this task force.”

McCrory told the council that “the last three shootings and shots fired calls that we have here, they have been gang related and it’s our belief that this partnership will enhance our ability to deal with gang and narcotics issues better within the city and sharing intelligence and the force multipliers.”


McCrory pointed out what he said are advantages to the partnership.

• “The whole concept of this task force is really accomplishing a very common objective that’s important to all law enforcement within our county to do it as a task force concept.”

• “The DPS will reimburse our agency on a monthly basis 75 percent of the detective’s payroll expenses. This includes salary, benefits, workers’ comp, Social Security, vacation and sick leave. They will also provide a vehicle and all related equipment for this detective to be a member of the task force and reimburse any travel expenses associated with the task force.”

• “They will also allow us to access their intelligence analyst. They can work with the intel analyst that we currently have in our department on better tracking crime syndicates, cartels and gang activity within our county.”

• “There will be a force multiplier when it comes to helping our narcotics officers, anything with a gang nexus or a cartel nexus that would bring people into our community, to help work with us, which is a great help for us since we have a smaller narcotics unit.”

• “They can also provide us with air resources, and they have the technical assistance that we don’t have available.”

• “Their office is actually located within our city and their commander and supervisor are housed out of this office. That’ll make meetings, plantings, briefings and things like that a lot easier for our people to attend. Our command staff can get involved in some of these intel briefings and strategy sessions.”

There are a couple of disadvantages, McCrory said.

• “It is a two-year commitment with one-year extension.”

• “Realistically there will be times that our detective will be pulled away from our city to assist in other locations within our county if they have gang issues. Our detective would not be housed in-house, it would be housed outside our agency.”

The major part of the partnership, McCrory said, is that, “We plan to to add this detective to the GIITEM Task Force. He’s experienced with task force work, having come from the Marshals Service, he’s very good at relaying information to our field troops and to our detectives, so it’s not going to be just somebody carrying around a bunch of knowledge, it’s going to be shared knowledge. We plan on running joint gang and narcotics investigations with them, to be centered out of our city.

“And as a followup, we worked out with them where our command staff will meet with the GIITEM command staff a minimum of two times a month to review the strategies, to review the pros and cons of activities that we’ve taken on, look at results and plan future operations.”

Answering a question from Councilman Ralph Varela on goals, McCrory said, “What we’d like to be able to do is use them as a force multiplier when they’re in our city and they can work with our people so that if we have a lot of activity, when we have calls for service like shots fired that will draw a lot of our resources, well, that leaves a lot of our area uncovered. What we’re hoping to use mainly on this is a force multiplier so that we can use their networks and their people to come into our community and help us out with some hot spots.”

Always gangs

Capt. Leos told the council that, “Our gang problem is always continuing. If you’re not dealing with it and showing them that we’re out there and we’re going to have zero tolerance toward gang activity it will increase. “You’ve saw that with the drive-shootings, starting to have narcotics issues. We kind of let that go by the side, for lack of manpower, leadership change, so now we need to get on that. 

“In ’07, ’08, we were having shootings every weekend just about. The DPS, having them come in and help out.”

As Councilman Karl Montoya sees it, “It’s good to see GIITEM get back into town, get refocused to where they are going. I think they kind of got lost with the border portion of that. 

“It’s good to see that they’re already back in town. They’re doing good work and putting a soldier with them is going to only enhance them. We know back from the past where they’ve helped us with manpower and other accessories that go along with the job. 

“I’m glad to see you guys take the initiative in doing that, because I think that’s what’s kind of missing the last time was having those monthly meetings and getting more involved at the top to give that direction.”

As a result of past anti-gang, anti-drug operations, several people were sent to prison, Montoya said, but “a lot of those people are starting to come out of jail and we’re starting to see a lot of difference. It’s a new policing out there and if we don’t stay on top of it, it’s our own fault. So I’m glad to see this coming back and you guys being proactive with it.”

Councilman Matt Herman said he had previously seen a presentation by a Police Department officer where “he put together the whole family tree of gangs in Casa Grande. I hope you guys go to him for some resources, because he took a lot of his own time, I know, and put together this entire report, pretty impressive.”

McCrory answered, “He is involved in every strategic plan that we have. Very few people know this city on the crime side and the networks like he does. He is actively involved in every strategic plan that we have.”







You'll be able to help emergency responders
better help you when you have to call 911 

(Posted Aug. 16, 2016)

The full proposal is HERE

A new emergency communications program approved Monday night by the City Council will allow Casa Grande residents to enter medical and other information into a computer bank that will automatically pop up when 911 is dialed, saving time for emergency responders.

It’s called Smart911, offered by Rave Mobile Safety.

As the staff report accompanying the agenda item describes it, “Smart911 allows members of the community to register and provide information about themselves, their family members, their homes and workplaces, medical conditions and other pertinent information.

“Citizens provide profile data into the Smart911 database prior to an emergency. When a registered user dials 911 from a registered device to a dispatch center, the caller’s profile will open on the call taker’s screen. This information can then be sent to the mobile units in the field. By providing this information to the first responders, it can help them make more informed decisions, helping better protect themselves and residents.”

(See above chart)


The program, at a cost of $32,000 under a three-year contract, brought some questions from the council.

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen asked how the word will be spread through the city about about registering and whether there would be confidentiality issues with personal information.

“The typical person would be anybody,” Mike Brashier, commander of the Public Safety Communications Division, said. “You could register your children, you could add photos, medical conditions. All of this stuff is stored on their database.

On the confidentiality issue, Brashier said, “The information is on the Rave server. We do not have access to the information unless the person makes a 911 call, so we cannot just go in and look it up. Once you make a 911 call, that information will stay active for about 45 minutes, at that time the window will close and we don’t see that information any longer.

“How we’re going to reach out, is we’re going to use our PIO from the city and work with the Police Department, the Facebook pages. They (Rave) supply monthly information that we can publish and put out tips about it.”

Michele Nelson, Rave regional sales director for public information, told the council that, “The public launch would be when Mike actually says that everybody is trained in the agency and ready to go, then our marketing department’s ready to be in contact with him. The mayor will actually be involved in the public launch, the police chief, so we try to pull everybody together. We’ll have news media involved, as well, in the public launch and every single month from then on out, whether it’s back to school, whether it’s monsoon season, if it’s safety about pool drownings, whatever it happens to be, every month we’ll be working with you sending information out. We provide all that information so it doesn’t have to be created. And when there’s something specific that you want, then you just have to let our marketing know so they can produce that type of marketing information.”


Councilman Matt Herman asked what the threshold for registered users would be.

“I know it can help,” he said, “but if we have 200 people registered it’s probably not worth our time.”

Brashier answered, “With the confidentiality, we’re not going to know how many citizens here register. We will be able to tell how many times we’ve used it.”

Herman responded, “You can’t tell how many people are in it?”

Nelson said the number of registered users in Casa Grande’s ZIP codes will be available. 

“Don’t need to know who it is,” Herman said, “just need to know how many so that way we’re not spending all this money for three people’s information to pop up, which I don’t think will happen.”

Herman also wanted to know if the new system will allow information to be sent to residents.

“If there’s an incident specifically here in Casa Grande like the other night a road got closed, Peart Road, due to the flooding, could we send stuff out to the registered users?” he asked. “I know we have another system that does, but I haven’t seen it activated in a long time.”

This program does not, Brashier answered. He said the city has the Nixle alert system to send messages and “there’s also another product hopefully in the near future that we’ll be bringing before council for an agreement to be signed, and that is a county product and that will allow community notification.”


Councilman Karl Montoya wanted to know how the information in Smart911 will be kept updated.

“I sign up today or you get a school and the school remodels five years down the road and so the rooms are different and so you’re responding to whatever,” he said. “How do you keep them updated into the system?”

There are two sides to that, Nelson responded.

“One of them that you’re referring to we call facility data, the facility is on that spool of that business. Right now, there’s not an actual reminder. They are working on an enhancement to actually remind those businesses every year to update. Before Mike will actually accept those floor plans of a school, a business or a government facility, he will actually have complete control on the approval of that data, that those floor plans are accurate.

“On the (personal) safety profile, if you haven’t touched it in six months you will continue to get reminders. After so many reminders, that information becomes stored in the data base for seven years and will be available until you actually go to update it. We want that information.”

Montoya pointed out that if a person registers using a mobile device, “the mobile device goes with me but if I move my house is different now. That’ll remind me to update, hey, are there any changes in your life?”

Correct, Nelson said. “Please do that, give us your new home address.

“Any medical information that you’ve provided, any allergies, if there’s anybody in your family that has any kind of mental health, any autistic children in there, all that information will be attached to the number, but you’re right, the home address we’ll remind you to update it. The same thing with photos. I have three kids, so if I ever had to call I keep my kids’ photos up to date all the time.”


Councilman Ralph Varela asked if the system could handle input and calls from Spanish speakers.

“You can actually create your information in, I believe, over 80 different languages,” Nelson answered. “When they call in to 911 if they know that they are Spanish-speaking that information will actually pop right up and so the dispatcher can actually go look to see if there’s anybody that can translate for them. Now, if that person doesn’t speak English but happens to hang up, then our texting system would allow them to actually text.”

Brashier said, “In the NextGen 911, or the next generation, there is a texting feature. This product (Rave 911) that we’re asking to purchase tonight has a communicator, so it’s not a true text to 911, but it does allow their program to text to that user and back and forth. So yes, we can. If they call, hang up, don’t answer, we can text to them and get a response that way.”


There has to be a way to keep track of what the system is producing, how many people are actually using it,  Mayor Bob Jackson said.

“I think it’s a great product,” he continued, “and I know some people that have used it and it’s really saved those few minutes that might make the different between serious problems and fixable problems.

“But I think that as a council we need to have some degree of knowing how many people have signed up, how many times have we used it.

“If we only used it five times in the course of a year and we’ve got a three-year agreement, either we need to get more people signed up or it’s not doing what we wanted it to do. So I guess my suggestion to staff is to keep us apprised, maybe annually, of how many people have signed up, how many times you’re used it in the course of dispatching public safety people.”


McNatt Park renovation plan comments sought

(Posted Aug. 1, 2016)

The city issued this announcement today:

Casa Grande's Community Services Department is seeking resident input regarding the proposed features of the master plan for Carr McNatt Park.  

Members of the public are encouraged to participate in this process by viewing a draft of the proposed plans and submitting their feedback online. 

The period to provide feedback will begin on Aug. 1 and close on Aug. 31. 

Located at 1115 N. Brown Ave., Carr McNatt Park was part of the former union high school campus until 1997. 

With increased community use and few accompanying improvements, the park has demonstrated a need for modernization and an enhancement of its facilities. 

Among the proposed amenities to be phased in are the addition of pickle ball courts, a basketball court, walking paths, football practice areas, lighted multi-use field areas, and a restroom and concession building.  

A draft of the proposed master plan, detailed map and description of features, as well as a link for residents to submit their feedback, can be found at

For questions or additional information, contact Recreation Superintendent Matt Jankowski at 421-8677.


for July

$671,441 in Tohono casino grants sought

(Posted June 30, 2016)

Grant applications staff report is HERE

Links to the individual applications, with explanations of requests, are at the bottom of the staff report

Casa Grande and several community organizations are requesting $671,441 in grants from the Tohono O’odham Nation, money that comes from tribal casino profits.

Approval to submit the applications is on the agenda for Tuesday’s City Council meeting, held a day later because of the Fourth of July holiday.

The community requests are:

• Boys and Girls Club of the Casa Grande Valley, $25,000 for teen program.

• Casa Grande Alliance, $16,000 for Making Our Students Think (MOST) program.

• Casa Grande Rotary Foundation, $30,000 for scholarship program.

• Casa Grande Main Street, $5,700 for cultural exchange.

• Central Arizona College Foundation, $75,000 for Promise for the Future scholarship program.

• Casa Grande Lions Club, $12,806 for vision screening equipment and services.

• Pinal Hispanic Council, $10,000 for Cesar Chavez scholarship program.

• Ride for the Warrior, $60,000 Ride for the Warrior community events.

• Vista Grande Football Booster Club, $11,960 for concussion and injury prevention.

City of Casa Grande applications:

• Casa Grande Arts and Humanities Commission, $60,000 for railroad art plaza.

• Casa Grande Fire Department, $93,000 for technical rescue project.

• Casa Grande Police Department, $81,975 for Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).

• Casa Grande Housing Division, $40,000 for housing rehabilitation program.

• City of Casa Grande, $150,000 for rodeo grounds canopy project.

Under Prop. 202, approved several years ago, Arizona tribes with casinos are required to set aside 12 percent of profits for community projects in cities, towns or counties.

Casa Grande will be responsible for the pass through of grant funds, estimated to take about 10 hours of staff time at a cost of less than $500.

Feasibility of CG transit system to be studied

(Posted June 7, 2016)

You’ll find the Sun Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization, with studies and other information, HERE

The scope of the study is HERE

The staff report is HERE

Information on Central Arizona Regional Transit, including the Casa Grande route, is HERE

Coolidge’s in-city transit route map and information is HERE

Key Trip Destinations: 

This task includes identification of destination locations sought by both local and regional travelers. Destinations include, but are not limited to:

• Medical centers and hospitals

• Education centers

• Downtown Casa Grande

• Major retail centers, including the regional shopping mall

• City hall and other public agency service centers

• Senior centers

• Major employment centers including the major industrial area on the southwest side of the city

• Future planned activity centers such as Phoenix Mart, expected to generate significant regional traffic.

• High density residential areas

• Major parks and recreational areas

• Resorts, hotels, and motels

Casa Grande is contributing $40,000 to a grant to study whether a transit system in the city is feasible.

The money, approved Monday night by the City Council, will be added to a $160,000 grant from the Arizona Department of Transportation through federal funds.

The study will be overseen by the Sun Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization, formed after Casa Grande’s population surpassed 50,000.

The $40,000 had already been earmarked for Sun Corridor as part of the city’s membership, thus is not a new appropriation.

The proposed study area is an approximately 19-square mile area bounded by:

• Burris Road on the west.

• Val Vista Road on the north.

• Interstate 10 and the extents of the Promenade mall on the east.

• Earley Road on the south.

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen asked what the city is getting for 

the money.

City Traffic Engineer Duane Eitel answered, “The $200,000 total is to do a study on transit for the city of Casa Grande, so it’s a real extensive public involvement. We’re going to work a lot with the public to see where they want to go if we have a transit system.

“We want to work with businesses to see what their interest is in a transit system. For instance, we would go out and visit with the Walmart Distribution Center and Tractor Supply and all those companies out that way (on the southwest side of the city) see what their interests are and what they think their employees’ are.

“And we’d do a lot of on-line public involvement that would get more people involved than just having a few public hearings where maybe seven or 10 people show up.”

Eitel added that if the decision is made to start a system, “we get about $850,000 of federal transit money a year that we can use to help run a transit system.”

Kortsen said it seems that the emphasis would be getting residents to employments areas and back, to school and back.

“That’s quite a bit of it but that’s not all of it,” Eitel responded.

“We’re also going to want to get people to the hospital, out to the mall, to Walmart, shopping, different things like that.  It’s a whole bunch of different things.

“But I think the business part of it will really help the economic development. I think I mentioned in the (May) study session, some of the development that wants to come to town one of the first things they ask is if we have a transit system to get employees to work.”

Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons, looking at reaching the public, said, “I really hope that when we do these community outreaches, to really try to go into some of the neighborhoods that might not come generally to a meeting like this, to get the input from them, too. You maybe do a session with Spanish-speaking community members.

“But I really hope we get out to the general population.”

That’s the plan, Eitel responded, “because originally ADOT was talking $120,000 grant. We talked them into  $200,000, just because we wanted to ensure that we met with as many people in Casa Grande as we could, as possible.”

Councilman Dick Powell said he feels the study “is excellent to do” because he believes it “will show us that we’d be wasting an awful lot of money trying to run a bus.

“I think there’s other things we can study in transit that definitely would be valuable to us,” he continued. 

“It requires huge subsidies and this probably is not the time in our history of Casa Grande for subsidizing for things.

“People can’t get to a bus stop to catch them, anyway. That’s one of the problems you have, five bus stops scattered around town and how do people get there?

“And they want you to take them home and this and that and it would nice, but, as I say, it’s a money hole and I think that the study will prove that. So I’m looking forward to it.”

Eitel said the study would consider more than just buses.

Powell responded, “That’s what I’m saying, we can study the other opportunities, absolutely.”

During the rollcall vote on the resolution, Councilman Ralph Varela said, “I look forward to it and I vote yes. I think it’ll be a way to be creative about transit and I’m sure there is a need and it’s long overdue.”

Kortsen said, “I’m voting yes, and also to reiterate what council member Varela had said. 

“Transit isn’t just buses. We’ve got a bus system that does exist in Coolidge and it could be maybe we support that. There’s different ways to look at it, and that’s what we need to do, that’s where we invent something that’s specific to our community needs.”

Powell said, “I’d be remiss if I voted without making a statement.

“I’m glad that we’re doing the study and I think it will show other ways that we can embellish transit in the area. I don’t think we’re going to find out that that’s a bus, but there’s a lot of other things that we can do. So I’m happy to vote yes for it.”

The council vote was unanimous.

Public input sought on use of community grants

(Posted June 2, 2016)

The city’s proposed action plan is HERE

Casa Grande is seeking input on how residents feel money from the federal Housing and Urban Development should be used.

A public hearing will be held July 18 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 510 E. Florence Blvd.

“The city is expected to receive approximately $318,914 of Community Development Block Grant funds from HUD in FY16,” the announcement said. “The funds must be used to benefit low income persons and areas, alleviate slum and blight or address urgent need. 

“After the 30-day review period (which ends June 30), the public hearing will be conducted by the City Council on the 2016 Annual Action Plan for review and approval.

“This document is a federal requirement which implements the activities that were prioritized in the city’s 5-Year Consolidated Plan.”

For more information about the hearing, grievances or the CDBG program; or to receive assistance in formulating prospective project ideas for presentation at the hearing, contact:

Leila DeMaree, city community development and housing manager, at 421-8630, ext. 3030, or by fax at 421-8638. Her email is






Terminus Antiques will close after building sale

(Posted May 17, 2016)

If negotiations work out, the complex holding Terminus Antiques & Collectibles and two other businesses will be sold and Terminus will be closed, sending building owners Judy and Bruce Kieser into another retirement.

Terminus, at 106 N. Florence St., for 14 years has been the go-to place for high-end antiques and other old items.

Bruce Kieser said sale negotiations have been underway and closing could be by May 27.

Longtime Casa Grande residents will remember Bruce as basketball coach at Casa Grande Union High School for 15 years, including leading the team to state championship in 1989.

“That’s the year (then) Mayor Jimmie Kerr gave me the key to the city and we had a parade down the street, they called off school,” he said. “The last big championship in Casa Grande of any sort.”

Bruce, who has always been interested in antiques, opened Terminus, taking the original name of Casa Grande when the railroad builders stopped construction here for the summer.

Selling out is a matter of age and health problems, Bruce said.

But that doesn’t mean totally the end of handling antiques.

“I think we’ll probably put a booth in up in Chandler (antiques mall), where you don’t have to be there,” he said.

The majority of the present collection, though, will be sold.

“We’ll put a big ad in the Phoenix paper for professional buyers,” Bruce said. “They’ll bring a truck down.

“Some stuff we’ll break even on, some we might lose on, some we’ll make some.”

What’s not taken by the professional buyers will go on sale at the present store.

When that happens, an announcement will be made, Bruce said.

Judy and Bruce Kieser, below, will close Terminus.

Terminus has a variety of high-end antiques and collectibles.

Fire Department advisory:

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