Myriad events held in Apache Junction was the focus of the recent State of the City, hosted by Mayor Jeff Serdy at the Apache Junction Performing Arts Center, 2525 S. Ironwood Drive.
It included a video of councilmembers rattling off the number of activities held annually --- from the Lost Dutchman Marathon to the annual rodeo and festivals --- intermixed with slides.
“I knew about the Lost Dutchman Days, I knew about the rodeo, I know about the Lost Dutchman Marathon, but wow, there’s just a whole lot going on. Very impressive,” Andy Tomko, a winter resident to Apache Junction, said after the State of the City.
He and his wife, Linda, are in the Apache Junction Citizen Leadership Institute, which provides a chance for participants to learn how municipal government works and how to engage in the community.
“We’re trying to learn more about Apache Junction and Al Bravo, who is running the CLI, informed us about tonight and, although it is not mandatory, we felt that this would be a good way of finding out what’s going on in our beloved AJ,” Mr. Tomko said.
Mayor Serdy told of a decision made years ago by Apache Junction and Queen Creek leaders that the two communities would grow toward each other, separated by the proposed extension of State Route 24.
The Arizona State Selection Board in July approving the annexation of 6,687 acres of State Trust land into the City of Apache Junction was one of the accomplishments in 2019, Al Bravo, the city’s public information officer, said in a video at the event.
The vacant property is south of Elliot Road, west of the Central Arizona Project canal and north of the future State Route 24 alignment.
The south Apache Junction area from Baseline Avenue to SR24 is to be a master-planned community with a maximum of 20 dwelling units per acre. It is envisioned with a range of residential densities, commercial spaces, open space and industrial uses, according to 2020 General Plan documents.
“In talking about the annexation of 6,600 acres, I had no idea it was going to be that much,” Mrs. Tomko said.
“We heard more about the new (SR) 24 that is going in, coming into Ironwood, which personally would be a big help for us because we live just off Ironwood and Broadway. So it will be nice having that come a little bit further south. It was very informative. I really enjoyed it,” she said. “Apache Junction is a special place. It really is.”
The plan revealed in 2019 for the extension of SR24 from Ellsworth Road to Ironwood Drive was listed by Mr. Bravo in the video as an accomplishment.
The Arizona Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration, is designing a 5-mile interim phase II section, with construction anticipated to begin in Fall 2020.
The Gateway Freeway could extend east to near Gold Canyon, where it would meet a proposed North-South Corridor. The latter is a 50-mile highway in Pinal County that would stretch from U.S. Highway 60 in Apache Junction to Interstate 10 in Eloy.
Apache Junction resident Darryl Cross said he likes to attend all State of the City addresses to keep up on what is new in the community.
“I want to know what is happening in my community and find out where we’re heading in the future and this was a perfect opportunity tonight to learn about the (SR) 24 and the annexations,” he said,
Apache Junction resident Nola Perkins said she attended the event to find out what has been going in the city.
“I kind of keep up with things in the newspaper. It was good,” she said.
Also included in the State of the City were remarks by Dr. Krista Anderson, superintendent of the Apache Junction Unified School District.