The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved an economic development plan for the County on Tuesday that could ask voters to invest $197 million to strengthen existing employers, attract new jobs and enhance tourism.
The Board approved the plan subject to review by the Pima County Bond Advisory Committee and creation of working groups to consider economic development in rural communities and in central Tucson neighborhoods and downtown.
The Board also voted to increase the County’s annual support of Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities to $500,000, from $350,000. Of that funding, $450,000 is earmarked for administrative and operating expenses and $50,000 would be for special projects that increase the number of high-wage jobs and support the growth industries identified in the economic development plan. None of the County funds can be spent on travel or entertainment.
The approved economic development plan includes:
- $90 million in road and other infrastructure improvements designed to connect and strengthen Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson International Airport, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, the University of Arizona Bio Park and Tech Park, and other employment centers along Interstate 10 south of Tucson.
- $30 million to expand employment centers in Marana, Oro Valley, Sahuarita and South Tucson.
- $37 million to expand local museums, including the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, the Pima Air & Space Museum, the Tucson Children’s Museum and the Tucson Museum of Art.
The plan envisions the development of an aerospace/defense research and business park to build upon the strength of those sectors in Pima County and attract related businesses. It would provide for the realigning of Hughes Access Road to remove an obstacle to potential Raytheon expansion. It would also allow the purchase of more land in the D-M flight departure corridor and develop an aircraft noise abatement program for affected neighborhoods.
It recommends discounting user fees at Kino Sports Complex and building on the County’s efforts to support soccer and bicycling to attract visitors and improve the quality of life for residents.
To see the economic development plan in its entirety, please visit www.pima.gov.