Welcoming the visitors to our town
by Robert “Bob” Jackson, Mayor, Casa Grande
Whenever I travel on vacation to new areas I always like to drive around and look at the community I am visiting and talk to the residents and workers I encounter during my stay. Think about how Casa Grande looks and feels to someone who doesn’t live here.
I moved here in 1991 from Reno, Nevada and clearly remember some of my first impressions. My wife and I immediately felt at home because of the people we met including our new neighbors, the clerks at the grocery store or the service people we encountered as we activated utility accounts. The City had a population of about 18,000 with limited shopping and recreational opportunities (especially compared to our previous home).
While the community amenities have improved tremendously in the past 20 plus years, I think the people remain friendly, willing to help and proud to live here. We could argue there are always exceptions to the quality of our citizens but for the most part I think we do a good job of making visitors and new families feel welcome.
Impressions of the town are a little different. Depending on the road we arrive on, the impressions are different. For instance, coming in on Pinal you drive by the Villago Lake and subdivision and Fry’s Market Place, not a bad first impression. On Florence Blvd you see the Mall, some new commercial businesses and a community that seems to be progressing into the future. Enter on Jimmie Kerr Blvd and the impression is very different. One of our future challenges is to make all of our community entries showcase our City.
As we have grown the amenities have increased and have helped to increase our winter visitor population. Many of the visitors to Casa Grande come from colder climates and they like the clean air, warm winter days and the many recreational activities available. We have several wonderful golf courses that can be played at a reasonable price, hiking trails including the new ones on Casa Grande Mountain, shopping, and movie theatres for their enjoyment.
We have done a lot of work on the downtown over the past five or so years and it is looking much better. Our MainStreet program has developed a number of activities to bring people together and is making the area one to be proud of as a community. Do we need to do more? We need to always be improving and updating all areas of the community.
Casa Grande can also take pride in the number of special events we have that help create an identity for our City and provide residents and visitors amble opportunity to get our and enjoy the weather. The question of how we look to first time visitors is an individual decision but each of us can do our part to make sure that every visitor has the best experience possible in dealing with our citizens.
Let’s all take the extra time to thank all of the people that come into Casa Grande to visit our town, who knows they may become your neighbor.