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  • Pima Prospers - Pima County Comprehensive Plan

     This page is a copy of the Pima Prospers Economic Development chapter and includes the economic development goals and policies needed to support a healthy region. Go here to read the full Pima Prospers plan.

    Economic Development banner This chapter includes the economic development goals and policies needed to support a healthy region. It includes overarching regional goals and policies that:
    • Aid the protection of our existing employers;
    • Create a welcoming climate to new business development, outside investment, and relocation of companies and employers;
    • Bolster opportunities for job growth;
    • Leverage the Sun Corridor and other regional collaboration efforts;
    • Strengthen the commitment to tourism as an economic engine;
    • Reaffirm construction of infrastructure, commercial, residential, public and community facilities as a stimulus of our economy;
    • Create and maintain a positive climate for business;
    • Capitalize on our people as an economic driver;
    • Establish art districts as an economic development tool for redevelopment and revitalization; and
    • Repair and restore our streets and highways.

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    6.1 Graphic

    6.1 Business Retention, Expansion and Attraction

    Pima County’s efforts to promote economic development, job growth and rising income within the region are focused on four specific strategy areas to protect our existing employer base, create new opportunities for job growth to revitalize tourism, and creating a positive environment for business investment, and position our region as the international gateway from Mexico to Arizona. These efforts stem from a plan that Pima County put into place after the Great Recession in 2012, that was geared to identify the county’s role in economic development and focus on those areas where the County could have a measurable impact.
    This element encompasses the set of programs and strategies that spur and strengthen economic development. Expanding on our geographic advantage in the Sun Corridor megaregion is critical and Pima County is strategically positioned to capitalize on the increasing commerce between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. South Korea has also emerged as a potential partner in economic trade. Pima County has partners in that effort including the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) and Sun Corridor Inc. (formerly Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Inc. (TREO).) The ACA emphasizes the state’s economic development competitiveness, while Sun Corridor Inc. pursues high-wage job and investment growth on behalf of the region. These areas include taxation, transportation, energy planning, and support for the military.
    Other partners in economic development include the City of Tucson and other jurisdictions, the Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona, Pima Community College, Chambers of Commerce and related business advocacy groups, the region’s educational system, and the private sector including health care providers, supply chain businesses, and utilities. All are vital for the long-term viability of the region.
    In order to help facilitate the creation of new jobs and to provide business growth and expansion in Southern Arizona, the Tucson Metro Chamber conducted a survey (Business Expansion and Retention (BEAR) Project) of local companies to identify the advantages and disadvantages of doing business in our region.  Understanding these preferences will help prioritize investments and expenditures, and mobilize the resources necessary to enhance economic vitality and job growth.

    Goal 1 - Public-private partnerships

    Goal 1: Strengthen public and private partnerships to ensure the long-term viability of the region and strength of the Sun Corridor.

    Policy 1: Continue to work collaboratively and regionally with the Office of the Governor, the Arizona Commerce Authority, Sun Corridor Inc., all local jurisdictions, the Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona, Pima Community College, Chambers of Commerce and related business advocacy groups, school districts serving the region and the private sector to coordinate economic development strategies.

    Goal 1 Implementation Measures:

    1. Engage businesses, Chambers of Commerce, and trade groups in ongoing analysis of needs and opportunities including response to business surveys and other process input.

    Goal 2 - Long-term viability

    Goal 2: Align economic development strategies, programs, incentives and initiatives with land use, transportation, infrastructure, services and natural resource conservation decisions to support the long-term viability of the region.

    Policy 1: Ensure that all land use, transportation, infrastructure, services and natural resource conservation decisions take into consideration the long-range viability of the region.
    Policy 2: Work with water providers to effectively promulgate sound water management and stewardship that enhances system reliability and resiliency and encourages new business and industry recruitment and investment.

    Goals 2 Implementation Measures:

    1. Collaborate at the federal, state and regional level with government agencies and regulators, municipalities, utility providers, private property owners and other relevant stakeholders to develop a competitive set of incentives, targeted at winning new business to the area and thereby expanding the tax base available to pay for community priorities.
    2. Work with Sun Corridor Inc. to continue to improve the existing process for customer service oriented, rapid, coordinated response to site selectors.
    3. Lead effort to locate the route and planning of Auxiliary Interstate Highway connecting 1-10 to 1-19.
    4. Complete development of the Aerospace and Defense Business Park to provide for 2,400 acres fro manufacturing and logistics business operations.
    5. Develop an inventory of concept-ready sites available for sale or lease for the location of new primary employment centers or for the expansion of existing employers in the vicinity of the following locations:
      1. Aerospace and Defense Business and Research Park;
      2. Sunset and Interstate 10/River Road;
      3. Tech Parks Arizona; and
      4. Bioscience Incubator.
    6. Support infrastructure expansion and mixed income residential, education, community service, passive and active recreational amenities for land use in future live, work, learn, play balanced land uses.
    7. Develop and secure road and infrastructure maintenance programs and investments.

    Goal 3 - Protect existing employers

    Goal 3: Protect the region's existing employers, especially our major employers.

    Policy 1: Support and assist our existing employers from every industry and with special attention to new technology entrepreneurs to foster their success and expansion needs.
    Policy 2: Meet frequently with existing private employers to solicit their views on assistance that can be provided to sustain their existence including continuing to improve permit processes, development issues, utility access and elimination of code barriers.
    Policy 3: Develop a robust menu of incentives to encourage additional capital investment and hiring by existing employers.
    Policy 4: Deal proactively with government and community issues articulated by private employers.
    Policy 5: Identify ways to help private employers to expand their business into new markets.
    Policy 6: Assist private employers in reducing or mitigating barriers to business expansion. Pay particular attention to solving workforce and capital barriers.
    Policy 7: Encourage international trade into and from Mexico, Canada and Asia.

    Goal 3 ( Policies 1-7) Implementation Measures:

    1. Identify barriers for businesses and work collaboratively to reduce such barriers.
    2. Establish a business roundtable to explore ways Pima County can assist business expansion and develop an action plan including working to establish a business one stop center.
    3. Work with Chambers of Commerce, the Arizona Mexico Border Commission, the Canada Arizona Business Council, the Arizona Commerce Authority-Mexico Office and other trade opportunity with Mexico.
    4. Work with the Tucson Metro Chamber and related business advocacy groups to implement the recommendations resulting from the Business Expansion and Retention (BEAR) survey.


    Policy 8: Support Raytheon's efforts to protect its employment base, expansion needs and operations.

    Sonoran Corridor

    Goal 3 (Policy 8) Implementation Measures:

    1. Purchase land to minimize urban encroachment and to provide the space necessary to assure the safety and security required for national defense manufacturing.
    2. Prioritize the realignment of Hughes Access Road as a new access and bypass road sufficiently south of the current road to provide the space necessary to assure the safety and security required for national defense manufacturing and to facilitate expansion opportunities for Raytheon.
    3. Increase the area's compatibility with the Raytheon mission by improving access to Tucson Airport Authority (TAA) and Pima County-owned properties south of Hughes Access Road. This access makes these properties more attractive for potential development that is compatible with the area.
    4. Promote collaborative planning among land owners surrounding Raytheon (County, City, TAA, State, private) to:
      1. Assure that land use and development decisions on adjacent land accommodate all Raytheon manufacturing, space and security requirements;
      2. Maximize amount of concept-ready industrial land available;
      3. Standardize planning and development requirements for industrial area;
      4. Provide efficient and immediate access to truck, rail and air transport; and
      5. Provide for residential housing and mixed-use development where appropriate for convenient work access by current and future employees.
    5. Align long-range development plans for the Aerospace and Defense Corridor plans to maximize investments;
    6. Invest in Pima County's future by expanding regional roadway, water, sewer, and utility infrastructure to encourage expansion and relocation in the Aerospace and Defense Business and Research Park.
    7. Facilitate the preparation of the Aerospace and Defense Research Park master plan to attract supply chain partners.
    8. Require new development in the vicinity to be compatible with Raytheon's mission and the long-range plans and viability of the Aerospace and Defense corridor;
    9. Maximize investments by supporting the long-term development plans of the Aerospace Parkway; and
    10. Anchor Raytheon's location as a vital component of the Aerospace Parkway.

    Military Resources

    Policy 9: Protect the military functionality of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (DMAFB) and the Arizona National Guard (ANG) 162nd Fighter Wing.

    Goal 3 (Policy 9) Implementation Measures:

    1. Promote regional support for the DMAFB mission and expansion needs through multi-jurisdictional lobbying and through lobbying and communicating with State and Federal Officials and military command structure.
    2. Support current and future flight operations at DMAFB and ANG 162nd Fighter Wing as an important utilization of existing investment in military facilities, infrastructure and runways which provide efficient access to the Barry M. Goldwater Range.
    3. Support the activities and expansion needs of the ANG 162nd Fighter Wing and its need to develop facilities in the vicinity of the southeastern area of the Raytheon/Air Force Plant 44 facility to enhance operations and functionality.
    4. Buffer DMAFB from residential encroachment by requiring that new development complies with all applicable sound mitigation, density and land use requirements within the APZs, the DMAFB Approach/Departure corridor and noise contours.
    5. Build support for DMAFB through veteran and retiree support, assistance and participation programs such as Veterans One-Stop and collaboration with the Veterans Administration Hospital and related facilities.

    University of Arizona

    Policy 10: Leverage the intellectual capacity of the University of Arizona to help solve community problems and service delivery.

    Goal 3 (Policy 10) Implementation Measures:

    1. Work collaboratively with the University of Arizona to fund and construct Science Park Drive and complete the I-10/I-19 Sonoran Corridor interlink highway.
    2. Create a secure defense and industrial research and testing facility on County owned land.
    3. Support efforts that encourage technology and innovation, business incubators and shared resources and research to expand entrepreneurial opportunities and retain graduates.
    4. Utilize the existing international academic and research linkages of University departments and individual professors to develop business contacts and potential business investments and opportunities.
    5. Support Tech Launch Arizona and other efforts to encourage innovation and the spin off new technologies to commercial ventures;
    6. Continue to expand health service and bio-sciences collaboration at University South.
    7. Collaborate and support the University in cross border, Mexico, Canada, Asia and International trade, education, technical consultation and health service efforts.
    8. Collaborate with the University of Arizona, Visit Tucson, Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum and local incorporated jurisdictions to develop a County and Southern Arizona geo-tourism program.
    9. Explore adaptive use and reuse of County facilities for emerging technologies such as aquaculture/fisheries at wastewater treatment facilities to encourage investment in water technologies.
    10. Utilize the data collection and analysis services of the various colleges such as Eller School of Management, College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture and University of Arizona Medical Center in a collaborative approach to improve our community and Southern Arizona.
    11. Support efforts to graduate more community college transfer students and non-traditional students who are enrolled in school and working.
    12. Increase efforts to create degree pathways for incumbent technology workers and high-tech employers.
    13. Collaborate on regional water clusters that involve infrastructure, policy planning, education and innovative technologies.
    14. Support research and industry growth related to the regions existing optics cluster, astronomy, planetary and space sciences.

    Goal 4 - Opportunities for Job growth

    Goal 4: Create new opportunities for job growth.

    Policy 1: Take competitive advantage of the synergies generated by a bi-national and international economy through maximizing international trade with Mexico, Canada, and Asia maximizing business opportunities between the Pima County region of Southern Arizona and the world.
    Policy 2: Increase and maximize employment opportunities and growth of area median income to provide for personal discretionary income as a component of quality of life.

    Goal 4 (Policies 1 and 2) Implementation Measures:

    1. Foster cross-border meetings, communication and encourage business ventures and mutual co-investment in Sonoran and southern Arizona's economic development opportunities.
    2. Support safe and efficient routes that increase the international mobility of people and goods.
    3. Support the CANAMEX Corridor, the Sun Corridor, the Intermountain West Corridor to enhance international trade throughout the western United States and work with the Canada Arizona Business Council to facilitate commerce and trade with Canada for the Southern Arizona region.
    4. Develop the interstate connector, connecting I-10/I-19, to create a master planned industrial corridor focused on supply chain development, logistics, and cross border opportunities.
    5. Support the expansion of SR 189A as a priority project for Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).
    6. Support the work of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations with a mission to support international trade and business expansion between our community and Mexico.
    7. Build cross-border relations with Mexico to address infrastructure issues while encouraging cross border trade and investment.
    8. Support the work of the Canada Arizona Business Council and use the Council to identify and pursue investment opportunities from large Canadian businesses.
    9. Work collaboratively with other border counties and communities to develop a cohesive strategy to promote and market the region's assets.
    10. Provide opportunities and facilities that encourage Mexican businesses to locate operations in Pima County.
    11. Enhance our relationship with Mexico by developing appropriate infrastructure and marketing programs to position Arizona/Sonora regions as the next major gateway to Asian markets.
    12. Educate Southern Arizona businesses and citizens about cross border opportunities making it easier for Mexican businesses to do business in Pima County.
    13. Become a lead agency with the Canada Arizona Business Council to spur trade opportunities, investments and economic expansion for Southern Arizona to achieve the following:
      1. Integrating Canadian investment into our Pima County Mexico strategy by leveraging Canadian interest in Mexico and developing supply chain opportunities for Canadian companies in Southern Arizona.
      2. Increasing Canadian (conventional and medical) tourism in Pima County.
      3. Working with existing Canadian companies in Pima County to ensure quality business operations, involvement in regional corporate citizenship, retention and encourage appropriate investment and expansion.
      4. Identifying specific industry sectors in Canada that promise the most return for our region's economic development strategy and proactively target specific Canadian companies within those sectors.
    Policy 3: Prioritize the establishment of an Aerospace and Defense oriented business park associated with the Tucson International Airport (TIA) as a regional economic engine.

    Goal 4 (Policy 3) Implementation Measures:

    1. Capitalize on the attractiveness of air service to businesses for passenger, freight and operational needs.
    2. Use the nationally acclaimed aviation technology program offered by Pima Community College as a driver to attract industry to the region.
    3. Support the recommendations of the Tucson International Airport Master Plan.
    4. Attract new employers from the aerospace, defense and transportation industries.
    5. Attract suppliers and support businesses to the nearly 200 aerospace and defense-related companies in Pima County.
    6. Provide concept-ready sites and aggressively markets these to the supply chain of existing companies.
    7. Consider demand for increased freight infrastructure driven by the rapidly growing industrial base in deep-water port being developed in northern Mexico.
    8. Strengthen partnerships with the Tucson Airport Authority (TAA), Raytheon, the Arizona Air National Guard, Sun Corridor Inc. and other tenants, agencies and stakeholders.
    Policy 4: Partner with emerging technology sectors to address climate challenges and attract clean high tech industries to the region.

    Goal 4 (Policy 4) Implementation Measures:

    a. Add incentives to attract industry that creates or utilizes alternative energy sources.
    b. Support the University of Arizona and other innovative partners in addressing and protecting climate focused technologies as part of the new economy. "The new economy is about increasing quality of life, improving health, and restoring the environment."

    Policy 5: Create new incentives based on national best practices to attract jobs and industries.

    Goal 4 (Policy 5) Implementation Measures:

    1. Maintain an inventory of the region's zoned industrial land (private and publicly owned).
    2. Encourage the Pima Association of Governments Economic Development Committee to proactively engage in projects which provide both immediate and short-term benefit to the region as well as long-range planning.
    3. Identify and aggressively market the region's industrial and other appropriately zoned, concept-ready sites.
    4. Solicit input from site selectors about barriers to entry in Pima County and work aggressively to remove them.
    5. Work to gain regional support for creating a resource base and funding specifically used to attract desirable employers, grow our long-range tax base and increase contributions and funding for community priorities.
    6. Encourage and assist private land holders in developing their industrial landholders and consolidating multiple land holdings to attract companies.
    7. Encourage appropriate residential and commercial construction to serve employment center areas for the convenience of employees. Consider promoting specialized employment centers that promote synergistic development of like industries such as is occurring in Innovation Park and Port of Tucson.
    8. Identify mechanisms to incentivize the utilization of privately-owned undeveloped industrial land such as:
      1. Development agreements with property owners;
      2. Joint ventures and public private partnerships;
      3. Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs); and
      4. Other mechanisms.
    9. Identify, develop and offer public land alternatives for special size, location, and other requirements that are not available from the private sector. Also use public infrastructure and development to promote development on larger size private parcels.
    10. Fund and schedule the public infrastructure (water and sewer) and major utilities, including critical interceptor and transmission improvements, to meet the industry requirements at economically critical sites, to make industrially zoned lands concept-ready for development.
    11. Develop a Board of Supervisors policy regarding workforce training and other incentives to encourage the attraction and expansion of businesses and employment and the increase of the median wage in Pima County.
    12. Work with local school districts and support pre-K through 12th grade public education and the importance of secondary property taxes and bonding capacity of school districts toward attracting economic development.
    13. Maintain the current county policy of requiring that incentive agreements assure full, commercial property tax revenue to each of the education districts.
    14. Utilize county land, lease, training and tax incentives wisely with a long-range goal of increasing county median income levels.
    15. Establish New Aerospace and Defense Research and Business Park and other business parks to be able to negotiate and attract major new industry to the region.
    16. Work with Pima Community College and other providers to offer training to upgrade the skills of the region's current workers.
    17. Create an industry attraction incentive matrix that provides a list of available support, fees, incentives and waivers from all sources available to attract business.

    Goal 5 - Airports and Aviation

    Airports and Aviation

    Aviation, rail and freight transportation are linked. The Joint Planning Advisory Committee of the Pima Association of Governments, Maricopa Association of Governments, and Central Arizona Association of Governments, conducted a freight transportation study to identify freight commodities transported by truck, rail, and air; developed an inland port market assessment; and identified freight infrastructure improvements. This study was undertaken to develop strategies to diversify the economic base of the Sun Corridor.
    The study examined 16 regional freight focus areas throughout the State and identified those that had the greatest opportunity for expansion and development. Of these 16 focus areas, four were selected for further analysis. One of those selected was the Tucson International Airport (TIA). The TIA focus area identified important assets and opportunities for the freight industry and considered the proximity of the airport to the international border with Mexico and major infrastructure such as I-10 and I-19, as well as rail facilities.
    The study described TIA as an import distribution center, favoring this location in the Sun Corridor for development that serves a vital purpose in global supply-chain logistics. TIA is uniquely positioned in Arizona to focus on accepting imports and redirecting them to precise markets. These logistical advantages of TIA favor continued expansion of basic employment around the airport.
    Ryan Airfield is a general aviation airport located approximately 10 miles southwest of Tucson at the intersection of West Valencia Road and Ajo Way (State Route 86). Ryan occupies over 1,804 acres, and serves as a general aviation reliever airport for TIA. More than 300 aircraft are based at the field and 30 tenants ranging from aircraft maintenance shops to charters and flight instruction facilities, provide a variety of services. Ryan Airfield presents an opportunity to become a job creator. In order to become a job center, needed infrastructure must be in place.

    Goal 5: Align transportation, land use, infrastructure, and economic development goals to support Tucson International Airport as a logistics center and Ryan Airfield as a job creator
    Policy 1: Plan the Sonoran Corridor as a high-speed transportation facility connecting Interstate 19 (I-19) with Interstate 10 (I-10) in an integrated manner following land use directives.
    Policy 2: Create the Sonoran Corridor as a fully-controlled access parkway that meets the criteria for a full access freeway by:
    1. Requiring that access to the corridor is only allowed through interchange points;
    2. Setting operating speed of the corridor similar to existing freeway speeds in the urban area;
    3. Maximizing public infrastructure investments along the corridor;
    4. Ensuring that highway investments made to relocate Hughes Access Road are compatible with the Sonoran Corridor;
    5. Proposing that the Sonoran Corridor be designated as a state highway under the operational management and control of ADOT; and
    6. Securing significant local funding for development and approval to be provided by local government agencies including Pima County.
    Policy 3: Support Tucson International Airport Master Plan and the development of a second main runway.
    Policy 4: Support the current and future missions of the  ANG162nd Fighter Wing.
    Policy 5: Work with the Tucson Airport Authority, ADOT, and others to provide the infrastructure needed to best position Ryan Airfield as a sub-regional employer.
    Policy 6: Recognize the importance and value of the entire length of Valencia Road as an Economic Development corridor from Ryan Airfield to Saguaro National Park East.


    Goal 5 Implementation Measures:

    1. Work collaboratively with TIA in the development of a second runway and the implementation of its master plan.
    2. Work to bring the Sonoran Corridor to fruition.
    3. Promote efforts to position Ryan Airfield as a logistics hub.

    Goal 6 - Rail, Freight and Shipping

    The Port of Tucson’s Container Export Rail Facility is one of only six rail projects selected to receive TIGER V grant funding from the US Department of Transportation. Implementation of the Container Export Rail Facility will make the Port of Tucson the only true inland port in the southwestern United States.
    This new facility is a key component of the County’s economic development strategy. It will enable our region’s businesses to access Asian pacific seaports through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as private facilities such as American President Line’s Global Gateway South (GGS). As the region that includes the Tucson/Phoenix megapolitan area (Sun Corridor) and Sonora, Mexico continue to expand in population and jobs, this facility will provide global market access for manufacturers and commodity exporters through highly efficient direct rail connection to the piers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and GGS as well as the capacity to develop direct rail access to the east coast markets, including produce markets. The expansion of passenger rail can connect people and jobs within the Sun Corridor. ADOT is studying a passenger rail route between the Tucson and Phoenix regions. This enhancement could further tie the two economies into one and produce greater opportunity for Southern Arizona.

    Goal 6: Support Port of Tucson as a key transportation and logistics center in Southern Arizona
    Policy 1: Support rail enhancements, construction and extensions needed for the successful operation of the Port.
    Policy 2: Continue to participate in ADOT's process seeking intercity rail connectivity between Tucson, Phoenix and beyond.
    Policy 3: Support efforts to extend rail access throughout the region.
    Policy 4: Continue engagement in Innovation Frontier consortium with Arizona and New Mexico border counties and cities to build a shared strategy on the foundation of historical strengths in agriculture, mining, electronics, and aerospace and defense.
    Policy 5: Leverage the Sun Corridor to attract subsidiary and secondary industries by collaborating with communities to promote the entire region.
    Policy 6: Improve road maintenance to support our region's ability to be a key transportation and logistics center.

    Goal 6 Implementation Measures:

    1. Work collaboratively with Sun Corridor Inc., Port of Tucson, PAG, Union Pacific, ADOT and other partners to identify appropriate regional rail infrastructure expansion opportunities and position Port of Tucson as a key transportation and logistics center.
    2. Actively participate in the State planning efforts to explore the potential of an intercity passenger rail line connecting Southern Arizona with the Phoenix metro area.
    3. Collaborating with County partners to promote the region.
    4. Strengthen partnerships between Tucson and Phoenix to promote the Sun Corridor and to attract job growth to the County;
    5. Spread new employment throughout the region’s Regional Job Growth Centers in Oro Valley, Marana, Sahuarita and South Tucson; and
    6. Support and facilitate the development of critical infrastructure to enable rapid development of employment center opportunities.
    7. Actively seek financial resources to repair and rebuild roads to aid the logistics industry and improve the overall condition of our streets.

    Goal 7 - Sun Corridor Inc.

    Sun Corridor Inc.recently released their 2014 Economic Blueprint update that sets priorities to advance prosperity in Southern Arizona. The “We Win as One” Economic Blueprint is designed to increase jobs and prosperity by focusing on the following:
    • Healthy Region
    • Infrastructure
    • Talent Attraction, Development and Retention
    • Strong Business Environment

    Goal 7: Support Sun Corridor Inc.'s efforts to strengthen the regional economy
    Policy 1: Continue to support Sun Corridor Inc.'s efforts in the identification of key industry sectors and industry attraction. Encourage Sun Corridor Inc. to engage in advocacy beneficial to Sun Corridor Inc.'s  mission and purpose. Actively promote communication with Arizona Commerce Authority and with surrounding counties economic development efforts.

    Goal 7 Implementation Measures:

    1. Provide Sun Corridor Inc.  with financial support, specific objectives and deliverables.
    2. Collaborate with Sun Corridor Inc.  to develop incentive packages for desirable new employers.
    3. Encourage cross border recruitment to realize advantages of cost manufacturing in Mexico while having access to design expertise in Southern Arizona.
    4. Work with Sun Corridor Inc.  to develop concept-ready supply of industrial sites for potential clients.

    6.2 Graphic

    6.2 Tourism as an Economic Engine

    Goal 1 - Tourism

    Goal 1: Revitalize the tourism industry.

    Policy 1: Create a good first impression.

    Goal 1 (Policy 1) Implementation Measures:

    1. Support beautification and clean-up projects.
    2. Create more natural attractions that serve as destinations.
    3. Identify key corridors and major gateways in and out of the region such as Paseo de las Iglesias, El Corazon, Tucson International Airport, and regional malls that will benefit from landscaping, paving improvements, transit and redevelopment and prioritize these efforts.
    4. Support efforts to eradicate invasive, non-native species, such as Buffelgrass, that threaten the Sonoran Desert natural environment.
    5. Maintain roads and streetscapes.
    Policy 2: Increase tourism opportunities.

    Goal 1 (Policy 2) Implementation Measures:

    1. Encourage all regional jurisdictions to financially support Visit Tucson in order to increase funding available to support marketing and tourism.
    2. Increase tourism opportunities by discounting facility rental fees.
    3. Diversify sports attractions by encouraging soccer and other field sports as emerging sports.
    4. Build and repurpose existing facility infrastructure to attract amateur and youth tournaments.
    5. Support the international and domestic cycling tourism industry.
    6. Take advantage of our geography, topography and natural environment to develop Geo-Tourism opportunities.
    7. Promote the Loop and other connecting multi-use pathways as regional attractions.
    8. Create new and expand existing tourism venues including the existing Pima County attractions (i.e. Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Pima Air and Space Museum, Old Tucson, and Colossal Cave Mountain Park) through public investment.
    9. Leverage our proximity to Mexico to take advantage of expanding disposable income and demand for American goods by visitors from Mexico.
    10. Leverage our partnership with Canada Arizona Business Council (CABC) to expand visitor marketing programs with Canada.. Canada ranks second in overnight visitation to Arizona with 773,260 visits in 2013.
    11. Maintain a visitor-friendly stance that does not discriminate through policy and law.
    12. Encourage and support voluntary private sector initiatives to conduct business in a bilingual and bicultural manner.
    13. Create a consolidated gateway through the development of a new visitor center located on historical land near the Santa Cruz River for all of our region's unique resources. Promote a story of Tucson and the region that showcases its uniqueness and diversity and fosters as sense of pride and as sense of place in residents and visitors alike.
    Policy 3: Protect the natural environment as this is our greatest tourism attraction including the night skies, our sky islands, and the Sonoran Desert as well as its native species.

    Goal 1 (Policy 3) Implementation Measures:

    1. Protect and promote the Sonoran Desert as a world destination.
    2. Promote regional cycling events that attract an international community by showcasing the Sonoran Desert.
    3. Continue building bicycle facilities and promoting regional bicycle events.
    4. Protect our dark skies through light pollution abatement efforts/investments.
    5. Protect and preserve the rich natural heritage of native species and habitats in the County's Sky Islands regions.
    6. Support, maintain and expand the Pima County regional trail system.
    7. Invest in regional attractions.
    8. Promote destination resorts in the region that attract out of state visitors and the international community.
    9. Repurpose irrigated turf areas such as planned or existing golf courses and resorts as needed.
    10. Expand medical tourism by working with University Medical Center, Tucson Medical Center, Northwest Medical, Marana Health Center, El Rio, and other regional centers and physician groups. Work with Visit Tucson to develop and market visitor incentive packages for those seeking medical care within our community.
    11. Diversify sports attractions at Kino Sports Complex with Minor League Soccer (MLS) teams.
    12. Plan monthly visits to Sonora with Visit Tucson to cultivate relationships and change perception of Arizona through welcoming measures.
    13. Work with Visit Tucson and the University of Arizona to continue to collect data on the impact of Mexican and Canadian visitors in Pima County and on the impact of major events such as the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show on our regional economy.

    6.3 Graphic

    6.3 Positive Climate for Business

    Goal 1 - Business climate

    Goal 1: Create a positive climate for business and improving business.

    Policy 1: Create a positive climate for business that:
    1. Fosters and encourages private business initiative and entrepreneurship;
    2. Collaboratively works with business to reduce barriers to investment, growth and expansion of quality companies and projects;
    3. Takes a regional collaborative approach by working with other jurisdictions;
    4. Strengthens public/private partnerships and networks;
    5. Encourages public-private partnerships for infrastructure and other creative projects that improve the region including transit expansion;
    6. Supports shopping and buying locally as a region through procurement practices;
    7. Prioritizes projects, programs and efforts that support local businesses and enhance the entire region such as road and infrastructure maintenance;
    8. Promotes utilization of new communication technologies such as new wireless and fiber networks in urban and rural Pima County that invigorate business and encourage investment;
    9. Builds bridges between libraries and workforce development;
    10. Provides programs for business start-up success;
    11. Recognizes the importance of urban form in economic development;
    12. Provides accelerated permitting time-frames; and
    13. Improves automated permitting and regulatory system as new technologies emerge.
    Policy 2: Continue to advocate for good public policy that benefits businesses by:
    1. Providing business-friendly governance that promotes healthy people, healthy economy and healthy environment;
    2. Simplifying and maintaining a favorable tax structure;
    3. Supporting competitive utility fees in exchange fro reduced or alternate use of energy sources;
    4. Prioritizing road and infrastructure maintenance;
    5. Centralizing business centers to serve new and emerging young entrepreneurs; and
    6. Considering strategies to support the unique needs of Community Development Target Areas (including Colonias) and rural communities.

    Goal 1 Implementation Measures:

    1. Work collaborative with jurisdictions, Sun Corridor Inc. , the University of Arizona, Chambers of Commerce, major employers and other interested agencies and partners to strengthen the public/private partnerships needed to create a positive climate for business throughout the region.
    2. Develop a Business Resource One Stop Center and/or resources network to serve business development needs ranging from the single entrepreneur to all size business including access to capital, tax assistance, regulatory compliance, and marketing.
    3. Identify funding sources and grants available to support the unique needs of Community Development Target Areas and rural communities.

    6.4 Graphic

    6.4 Our People as an Economic Driver

    Goal 1 - Workforce development

    Goal 1: Develop our workforce to meet the business needs of our economy.

    Policy 1: Develop potential workforce to meet the business needs of the region by:
    1. Encouraging employment centers that integrate housing, jobs and retail services in a walkable and bikeable setting with access to transit;
    2. Supporting state and local efforts to assure that affordable, subsidized child care is accessible to all employment centers;
    3. Reviewing Tech Parks Arizona Global Advantage and other best practices to promote business park development and leverage production capacity in Mexico;
    4. Encouraging the development of mixed-use activity centers as tools for economic development, where appropriate;
    5. Examining livable wages and setting a standard for business incentives to meet that bar;
    6. Acknowledging the poverty in the region, identifying its causal roots, and eliminating barriers to growing a healthy community with a productive workforce; and
    7. Investing in early childhood education, daycare and other educational opportunities to give our workforce a head-start.
    Policy 2: Invest in workforce development with established targeted, measurable outcomes, to ensure a highly qualified talent pool for new and existing jobs at sustainable wage levels by:
    1. Providing job training that recruits and builds a workforce from high school forward leveraging the program capacity of Pima Community College and other providers;
    2. Working with Pima Community College, the University of Arizona, JTED, and the high schools to improve relevancy and quality of occupational education and build community/industry support for targeted occupational education programs, renovation of high-tech equipment and facilities;
    3. Working with regional business in all sectors to establish and fund year-round job internships for high school, undergraduate and graduate students;
    4. Constructing special outreach and investment in disadvantaged populations that are underrepresented in the workforce;
    5. Diversifying the region’s economic portfolio to avoid reliance on growth to spur the economy and to minimize labor fluctuations;
    6. Leveraging the presence of well over 100,000 former military personnel in Pima County to take advantage of their inherent skills, discipline, and desire to live in the region to enhance the available workforce for expanding employment centers;
    7. Designing and providing contextualized basic education and basic computer skills for adults and late teens to overcome educational deficiencies and prepare them for skilled labor positions; and
    8. Promoting vocational education over a broad region (Southern Arizona and New Mexico) utilizing and requiring collaboration between multiple public colleges and universities where capital intensive and expensive educational curricula (advanced manufacturing, robotics, advanced machining, nanotechnology, etc.) are not competitively duplicated or replicated unnecessarily, but are developed collaboratively to minimize cost and maximize investment on expensive equipment.
    9. Improving applicant confidence, employment opportunities and job satisfaction by establishing and making available a full spectrum of computer technology education for residents and employees in Pima County;
    10. Promoting and encouraging lifelong learning and educational attainment by supporting literacy programs, book festivals, community workshops, and educational aid.

    Goal 1 (Policies 1 and 2) Implementation Measures:

    1. Pima County’s Workforce Training Program shall:
      1. Engage businesses as co-sponsors based on their immediate workforce needs and long-term interests;
      2. Provide competencies that match jobs;
      3. Align with credit bearing coursework and transfer to professional degrees;
      4. Provide portable credential or certifications that enhance trainee’s employability; and
      5. Offer supportive services to trainees to aid with childcare, transit, or job search.
    2. Continue to support a strong regional One-Stop workforce system that facilitates coordination of workforce services provided by multiple state, local and private entities, and support grant proposals by other agencies that want to collaborate.
    3. Leverage the Pima County Library system to improve the overall quality of skills and abilities in the workforce, providing access to the internet, resources, and sponsorship of community events.

    Repair or Replace the Roads in Pima County

    6.5 Repair and Restore our Streets and Highways

    Transportation cost is a key factor in economic competitiveness. All products, goods, and services have embedded in them a component of transportation cost. If that cost is higher in one region than another, the region with the lower transportation cost becomes more competitive.

    Our nation, as well as our state, has not invested in transportation system maintenance or expansion. In fact, the maintenance of our transportation system- whether it be ports, airports, or surface transportation highway- has deteriorated over the past two decades. The Arizona Legislature has failed to address the issue of transportation financing for the last 24 years, during which time inflation has cut the purchasing power o the 1991 transportation tax revenues in half. A 40 percent increase in fuel economy has further reduced the purchasing power of the 1991 transportation tax revenues. (Pima County Economic Development Plan, Update 2015-2017).

    Other states and nations are becoming more competitive while Arizona is falling far behind in competitiveness in transportation system investment. To solve this transportation deficiency to enhance our economic competitive position with our competitors; steps  must be taken to coordinate international transportation investments, such as I-11, in order to maximize the economic expansion benefits to the region from increased, targeted transportation investments must be taken. (Pima County Economic Development Plan, Update 2015-2017).

    Goal 1: Repair and restore our streets and highways
    Policy 1: Establish short-term funding for road repairs such as General Fund allocations from the County or General Obligation bonds.
    Policy 2: Advocate for long-term financial solutions such as an increase in the statewide gas tax to provide sufficient funding to bring the entire surface transportation network to adequate standards.
    Policy 3: Adequately fund and maintain a system network of mobility related to all modes of transportation.

    Goal 1 Implementation measures:

    1. identify short-term funds for road repairs.
    2. Continue to advocate for statewide solutions for repair funding.
    3. Identify long-term funds to maintain a multimodal transportation network.

    6.5 Graphic

    6.6 Art Districts as Tools for Economic Development

    Art districts can also be a successful tool for revitalization, redevelopment, economic development, and the establishment of healthy communities. They can be located in urban areas, in proximity to government services or in more remote communities such as the community of Ajo, Arizona. Art districts help in making a community a destination.

    Goal 1 - Creative Economy

    Goal 1: Capitalize on the market potential of the region’s Creative Economy to grow jobs and wealth.

    Policy 1: Continue to fund and support the arts as an indirect economic driver in the County and as a key component of healthy communities.

    Goal 2 - Entertainment

    Goal 2: Capitalize on the market potential of the region as a destination by supporting entertainment for residents and visitors.

    Policy 1: Continue to support regional entertainment events and venues such as the gem show, the music scene, festivals, and other community events.
    Policy 2: Support the digital, media, performing arts and film industries which utilizes existing community attributes: weather, population diversity, variety of architecture, urban, rural and desert settings.

    Goal 3 - Art

    Goal 3: Support art districts as a tool for economic redevelopment and revitalization.

    Policy 1: Identify opportunities for the support of existing art districts and art communities and the establishment of new ones as a part of the County’s economic development strategy that:
    1. Promote areas such as the community of Ajo with a large artist population as regional civic and cultural districts;
    2. Identify areas with potential for the formation of art districts;
    3. Incorporate art programs in libraries and other public facilities;
    4. Assess vacant or other under-utilized buildings that may serve creative uses and spur economic development;
    5. Identify the boundaries and activities appropriate for art districts including:
      1. Live/work opportunities for artists;
      2. Communal gallery space;
      3. Restaurants and outdoor cafes;
      4. Outdoor gathering spaces including courtyards, plazas, and amphitheaters to host a variety of community events such as art festivals, performances, farmers markets, healthy foods, and music venues; and
      5. Specialty shops and bed and breakfast hospitality.

    Goal 1-3 Implementation Measures:

    1. Identify funds and work with the community of Ajo to prepare a community plan that:
      1. Establishes the area as the County’s major art district; and
      2. Responds to the needs of Ajo’s residents and businesses.
    2. Work with other areas in the County that may benefit from creating an Art District as a tool for economic development.
    3. Include plazas and courtyards in the design of new public buildings to allow space for art, music festivals and other events that celebrate the arts and culture of our region.

    6.7 Graphic

    6.7 Construction as a Stimulus of our Economy

    For decades, the construction industry has been a sizable sector of our local economy. It has provided thousands of direct jobs, generated sales of materials and supplies, and has served as a basis for economic stimulus during the Great Recession. The job loss in this sector was the greatest of all sectors in the region over the last ten years. Economic experts, including those at the University of Arizona, agree that the recovery of the construction industry is key to Pima County fully emerging from the economic recession. (Pima County Economic Development Plan, Update 2015-2017). Policies and action items are needed to support the construction industry and promote planned development and growth vital to stimulating other sectors of the economy such as manufacturing.

    Goal 1: Support efforts to return the Construction Industry to sustainable levels of employment and construction activity

    • Policy 1:Support full employment of community members that are skilled in construction trades and maintain programs aimed at construction trade training.
    • Policy 2:Prioritize construction of infrastructure and public facilities as an essential component to economic development and construction employment.
    • Policy 3:Within current legal parameters, promote procurement policies to contract locally for construction projects including design and engineering components..
    • Policy 4:Work collaboratively with residential and commercial construction industry representatives to improve permitting processes, infrastructure planning processes, including specifications, standards and materials that innovate, reduce costs and shorten timeframes.

    Goal 1 Implementation Measures

    1. Review procurement practices and procedures and change as appropriate to conform to state legal practices
    2. Monitor job training needs in the construction sector
    3. Continue to attract federal funding and other investments for public construction projects
    4. Continue working with construction trade representatives to review standards, codes and guidelines used in the regulatory processes.
    5. Work with industry leaders to encourage the retrofitting and rehabilitation of our housing stock to increase energy efficiency.
    6. Support and encourage new and innovative construction practices that conserve resources, add to energy conservation, and provide unique affordable housing options.

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    Economic Development

    Heath S. Vescovi-Chiordi, 

    Patrick Cavanaugh,
    Deputy Director

    Kelle Maslyn,
    Assistant Director

    (520) 724-8450
    201 N. Stone Ave., 2nd Floor
    Tucson, AZ 85701

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