It was on April 1 of this year that the new Apache Sky Casino began operations in Dudleyville. It began in prefabricated buildings, but the preparation of the area bespeaks a much larger facility in the future. The start was humble, but the ambition is large. The vision is similar to that of the Apache Gold Casino outside Globe, but I think the Apache Sky will someday eclipse the Globe area casino. Tucson’s growth has lately been on its north side, with Catalina, Oro Valley, and the new housing developments. Meanwhile, the Valley of the Sun is stretching to the East as well as to the West, and the eastern developments there including the new highway to Superior make the Copper Basin, half-way from Tucson and Phoenix, a prominent “undiscovered” part of Arizona.
You may think that I am overly optimistic, but Pinal County leads Arizona in recovery from the Great Recession with a 300% rate for job recoveries. Yeah, I know that we’re not seeing much of a recovery right here, but copper prices are improving and the enhancements at the Hayden smelter have brought many people to live here, albeit temporarily.
It was a good sign when the San Carlos Apache Tribe shared some of its growth with financial grants to the towns of Globe and Kearny. In November they awarded the Town of Kearny $11,588.82 to help pay for its new ambulance, and Globe received a similar amount for its work. Tribal grants from casino funds are available to any place in Arizona, but the San Carlos Tribe chose to help its neighbors. The tribe is also a significant employer in the Copper Basin, and its 24-hour operation should continue to grow over the years. All of this has been accomplished in less than a year.
Remember, Sedona and Payson and the Verde Valley were “undiscovered” not so many years ago. Their rapid growth had some down sides, but all of them are now on an even keel for a good future. I think the same thing will occur in the Copper Basin. I also think that we can anticipate these developments here and play a role in them, or we can sit back and let outside developers take over. We have a choice.
The Christmas decorations are now on every street. Seasonal parties and events are taking place all over the Copper Basin. This Saturday, the 16th, the annual San Pedro Valley Lions Club light parade will take place beginning at 6 p.m. at the Little League field and ending at the Lions Club building on Main St. in Mammoth.
Best of all, our local churches know the “reason for the season” and are planning to welcome worshipers this Christmas.
I wish you the blessings of Christmas. There’s an expression, “Think globally and act locally.” Let your highest aspirations be expressed here and now, with your family, friends, and community.