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Report envisions growing county’s future

July 02, 2007

Arizona’s Pinal County is projected to soon have a population as large as Pima County’s is now. What will Pinal be like in the future? Will it be a distinguishable destination or a McMega drive through?

That is the basic question addressed in a new report about Pinal County’s future by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University. The Pinal County Board of Supervisors commissioned the study by Morrison Institute to provide a springboard for public dialogue and the creation of a new comprehensive plan, which will feature a county-wide vision and direction for the coming years.

“’The Future at Pinal’ sets the stage for the most significant planning process Pinal County has ever done. Morrison Institute’s report describes our challenges and presents significant ideas to deal with them. We appreciate their work at this critical time in our history,” said Terry Doolittle, Pinal County manager.

“The Future at Pinal: Making Choices Making Places” includes lessons Pinal can consider in view of what Maricopa and Pima counties have experienced, 6 “placemaking” goals, and 17 “cool tools” that could be used to improve prosperity and quality of life.

“Everyone in Arizona is watching Pinal as it transitions from a rural past to an urban future. Because it is in the middle of the ‘Sun Corridor’ megapolitan region, Pinal’s choices on livability and competitiveness will have impacts far beyond the county itself. Pinal has an opportunity to provide radically different, and better, models for Arizona’s fast-growth communities,” said Rob Melnick, Morrison Institute for Public Policy director.

“The Future at Pinal: Making Choices Making Places” identifies 6 goals for a vibrant future:

• Distinguish Pinal from Maricopa County and Pima County.

• Protect miles of desert and open land.

• Provide choices for transportation and mobility.

• Support unique, “fair share” communities.

• Create and attract “career pay – career path” jobs.

• Develop Pinal’s talent pool.

Grady Gammage, Jr., report co-author and Morrison Institute senior fellow noted: “The most important message in “The Future at Pinal” is that critical choices must be made now to avoid a future as just bedroom communities for metro Phoenix and Tucson. The report’s cool tools such as the Pinal Consensus Council and a ‘tax treaty’ push everyone to think creatively about livable communities.”

On Tuesday, July 3, “The Future at Pinal” will be presented for the first time at a significant public event sponsored by the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, Morrison Institute for Public Policy, and Partners for Strategic Action, Inc. The event will be held from 9 - 11 a.m. at The Property, 1251 West Gila Bend Highway, Casa Grande.

Morrison Institute for Public Policy is an Arizona State University resource for objective public policy research and analysis. A part of the School of Public Affairs in the College of Public Programs, Morrison Institute brings university scholarship and public policy development together for the benefit of all Arizonans.

“The Future at Pinal: Making Choices Making Places” is available online at