Good things continue to move forward here in our city and this column offers a way to highlight some of the work our City Council and hard-working city employees are doing.

The City Council approved a new pilot program for tourism which will start this year with free tours on a shuttle to be led by long-time resident Ginny Jordan. The Port of Entry (POE) modernization project continues to receive support and momentum. At a recent ADOT state transportation board meeting held in City Hall, the ADOT Director mentioned the strong economic impact the POE will have and the need for highway improvements on Highway 80 and 191 as commercial trucks carry goods on those routes. The POE also continues to move through the federal process with momentum. Some city councilmembers and county officials recently held a conference call with the GSA (General Services Administration) about infrastructure and needs of the western commercial entry.

We are in the beginning stages of planning a Port of Entry Summit to be held at Cochise Community College within the next month or so, inviting our Congresswoman Kirkpatrick, state and Cochise County elected leaders and our other regional partners to the working group table. Our goal is to work on our next steps to prepare for this economy-strengthening federal construction project that will be coming to our region. There will be jobs generated from the outset with engineering, construction and infrastructure improvements. Long-term benefit to our city will come through growth of the businesses who will choose the port and its modern capabilities. This growth and energy needs focus and a plan to bring the best benefits and outcomes to our community.

We have been reaching out to our educational partners at Douglas High School, Cochise Community College the University of Arizona and other institutions, exploring ways we can serve each other through collaboration to provide greater access and service for you-stay tuned. Safety is paramount to us and you should know that ADEQ recently inspected our drinking water and system facilities, and we passed with flying colors; a shout-out goes to Elberto “Eli” Acosta, Marco Buelna, David Gonzales, Luis Valenzuela and all who assisted in this effort. Additionally, our public safety groups, police and fire employees, recently completed a tabletop exercise with the Cochise County Office of Emergency Services to give our first responders practice before they need to assist our public. IT Director, Joel Camacho, and City Clerk, Brenda Aguilar, are working to get our agenda management into the 21st century, recently selecting a database-technology that will streamline our city council agenda process going paperless. One possible component of this system may include a more user-friendly way for the public to watch videos of the council meetings without having to go to YouTube.

Finally, Douglas continues to generate national and global attention through recent positive media reports in the US News & World Civic Report, AZ Capitol Times, National Geographic Magazine and YesMagazine.

You have much to be proud of!

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