Job growth remains the top priority for Pima County residents, according to a survey designed as one tool to gauge critical community needs to be addressed in a future bond election.
Of the nearly 17,000 respondents to the online survey, which was available for three weeks starting July 19, 39 percent identified “job growth, education and workforce training” as “extremely important.”
Transportation improvements came in second, followed by parks/recreational facilities and community facilities, such as libraries. Significant support also was shown for new animal shelter facilities. The responses will be one piece of information considered by the Pima County Bond Advisory Committee as it weighs more than 140 projects in crafting a recommendation for the Board of Supervisors for an as-yet-undetermined future election date.
“Future bond projects will be evaluated through the prism of demonstrated community needs and this is just one of several factors to consider,” said Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. “But what it does show is that the residents who chose to respond are concerned as a whole about the economic vitality of this region. Strategic bond investments are one tool that can serve as a catalyst to build the physical and human infrastructure that will inspire economic opportunities.”
Transportation investment is at the heart of Pima County’s economic development plan, published last year. One of the major components is the proposed Sonoran Corridor, providing a shortcut to connect I-10 and I-19 and envisioning a 2,500-acre research and business park to enhance technology, aerospace and defense jobs.
That corridor was the sixth highest vote getter in the job growth category. Literacy and job training programs were the most popular choices in that category. Second place was held by the Pima County One-Stop Career Center, which provides training for job seekers and employees and helps local companies connect with skilled workers.
Tourism is another key component of the County’s economic foundation and plays a large role in the economic development blueprint. Improvements to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the Pima Air & Space Museum and Colossal Cave fared well with respondents.
The top five responses in each of the five categories are as follows:
Historic, Cultural and Natural Area Conservation:
- Habitat protection priorities and associated lands
- Community open space
- Floodprone and riparian land acquisition
- Mission San Xavier East Tower restoration
- Performing Arts Center rehabilitation
Public Health, Flood Control, Neighborhood Reinvestment and Government Facilities:
- Pima Animal Care Center improvements
- Pedestrian safety and walkability improvements
- Affordable housing
- Neighborhood reinvestment program
- Pima County Forensic Science Center expansion and remodel
Libraries, Community Facilities and Museums:
- Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum exhibits and facility expansion
- Reid Park Zoo Hippo Exhibit
- Children’s Museum Tucson
- Loft Cinema renewal and expansion
- Tucson Wildlife Center acquisition and expansion
Job Growth, Education and Workforce Training:
- Literacy Connects and Job Path programs facility
- Pima County One-Stop Career Center
- Pima Community College Health Education Campus
- Freedom Park Adult Learning Center
- Pima County Small Business Entrepreneur and Academic Center
Parks and Recreation:
- Reid Park improvements
- Swimming pool renovations
- Public natural park trailheads
- Udall Park expansion
- River park acquisitions and development countwide
For more information about how Pima County manages its current bond program, please visit http://webcms.pima.gov/cms/One.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=1147