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ACC approves water resources deal for inland port megaproject
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COOLIDGE — Global Water Resources has received permits from the Arizona Corporation Commission to provide water service for the potentially massive Inland Port Arizona project set to be constructed in Coolidge just south of State Route 287.

The project is part of Coolidge’s 30-square-mile southern planning area, including the forthcoming Nikola Corporation manufacturing plant. Coolidge and Saint Holdings, which is developing the property, had agreed on Global Water as a water services provider earlier in the year. The current agreement approved by the utility panel Dec. 17 comprises 2,200 of the 2,700 acres that the port project represents.

“This mega site represents our first industrial service area,” said Ron Fleming, chief executive officer for Global Water. “We expect its development to stimulate commercial and residential growth in the surrounding area where we can also provide essential water services.”

“Global Water has demonstrated to be a strong water resource management partner that will help us with the development of IPAZ’s related infrastructure as the area continues to grow and expand,” said Saint Holdings President Jackob Andersen.

Global Water is the primary water and wastewater provider for Maricopa.

Andersen said the company expects construction projects for industrial manufacturing and data centers to begin next year.

The inland port is part of a major development tied into the planned north-south route that would connect Tucson to the East Valley and help ease congestion from Interstate 10.

According to Coolidge City Manager Rick Miller, even under an optimistic scenario, getting a Global Water wastewater plant up and running will still take over a year. In the interim, Nikola has an arrangement with Coolidge to deal with any wastewater from its operations.

“We’re very excited to work with GWR,” Miller said. “They are a proven utility doing what they need to do to serve the area, and hopefully can start some infrastructure to support that entire corridor.”

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Coolidge Chamber of Commerce skips dinner and hands out awards
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COOLIDGE — In lieu of its annual dinner banquet, the Coolidge Chamber of Commerce went around town last week handing out awards personally to individuals and businesses that the organization felt made an impact on the community this year.

Each winner received a glass trophy, and the youth honoree and teachers each received a $100 check.

“There are just so many good people in our community trying to make things happen,” chamber Executive Director Lynn Parsons said. “It’s such a difficult time, but there’s still a lot of good going on.”

Many of the winners were selected because of their perseverance and ability to overcome challenges due to COVID-19. Several of the individuals had helped with school or community programs that focused on positive thinking. The work by CUSD teacher of the year Christi Jones, who established a 7 Mindsets curriculum for social and emotional learning, took on special significance this year.

Among students, youth award winner and Coolidge High School junior Hope Carter worked with the anti-bullying organization Be Strong. The chamber described her as “bringing positivity to those going through tough times.” Carter also worked with the Coolidge Parks and Recreation team's after-school programs.

“She always has a smile on her face and brightens everyone’s day,” chamber Executive Assistant Amy Norwalk said. “She is always willing to help someone in need no matter the circumstances. The kids really love her.”

CAVIT teacher of the year Amanda Diesing, who teaches cosmetology, said that it was challenging to find ways to reach students when their hands-on program couldn’t meet in person.

“It was tough to get them engaged being online,” Diesing said. “It’s very rewarding when students have that aha moment in the classroom. But we got through it.”

Diesing said that guest speakers and new techniques, including peer-on-peer communication, helped as well as the move back to hybrid learning, which includes part-time work on campus.

Two of the city’s newest businesses, the Pita Patio Grill and Xpress Car Wash, were recognized as important additions to the local community, while longtime staple Shope’s IGA was credited with providing economic stability. Owner Tom Shope said he was proud that the team was able to provide customers with cleaning and paper supplies even during the early pandemic rush.

“I am proud of the staff at our store for their hard work and dedication throughout this difficult year with COVID,” said car wash co-owner Mike Mennenga, who, along with his father, also owns the Discovery Market and Chevron on Arizona Boulevard. “We haven’t shut down a day because of it. Not one team member has wavered, and I am honored to work alongside them.”

The winners were nominated by other members of the community, which then went before the chamber board to review and select. The 12 award winners are:

  • Small Business: Discovery Market/Chevron
  • Large Business: Shope’s IGA
  • Nonprofit: Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology
  • Good Neighbor: Carol Daniels-Rooney
  • Community Partner: Pita Patio Grill
  • High “5” Youth: Hope Carter
  • CUSD Teacher: Christi Jones
  • CUSD Support Staff: Blasa Ornelas
  • Imagine Prep Coolidge Teacher: Chris King
  • Imagine Prep Support Staff: Joslyn King
  • CAVIT Teacher: Amanda Diesing
  • CAVIT Support Staff: Stephanie Golden