Apache Junction, Gold Canyon residents coming together to find a common bond

A committee of Apache Junction and Gold Canyon residents is to meet this fall on common interests and challenges.

Working together now and in the future was part of a discussion Apache Junction Mayor Jeff Serdy had at a recent meeting he hosted in Gold Canyon.

Apache Junction Mayor Jeff Serdy hosted a recent meeting at the Gold Canyon Community Church, 5810 S. Alameda Road, to better understand what synergies exist between the two communities. (Independent Newsmedia/Richard H. Dyer)

More than 200 people attended the meeting in the Gold Canyon Community Church, 5810 S. Alameda Road, which is in unincorporated Pinal County.

The majority appeared to agree with Mayor Serdy that to consider regional issues, such as where north-south and east-west roads should be constructed in adjacent State Trust Land, a committee of homeowners associations, groups and Gold Canyon and Apache Junction representatives should be formed.

“It got out there. Things were spoken about that hadn’t been spoken about before and discussed before,” he said in an interview after the meeting.

“People listened and we have an agreement to – in the fall – we’re going to meet with representatives and keep the lines of communication open,” he said.

Topics Mayor Serdy brought up in the meeting included:

  • 720 homes being built in Gold Canyon and the resulting extra cars on the roads.
  • how a previously planned bypass road near Gold Canyon is likely to not be constructed.
  • the need for the north-south interconnect planned from U.S. Highway 60 to Picacho to be constructed close to Silly Mountain instead of near Idaho or Ironwood roads.
  • the benefits to Gold Canyon if residents had a partnership of like interests with Apache Junction.
  • how Apache Junction has a representative on the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority and can help if there are airplane-noise concerns.
  • how once Lost Dutchman Heights is constructed on State Trust Land south of Apache Junction, sewer lines could be brought close to Gold Canyon.
  • if Gold Canyon and Apache Junction were together as one entity, it would be 50,000-people strong and would receive additional state funding and clout.

“There are challenges coming in the future and we need to talk to them together. Putting your head in the sand does not make them go away,” Mayor Serdy said.

A resident of Sierra Vista Phase No. 1 in Gold Canyon said after the meeting that she liked that the discussion was held.

“I am very interested in having another meeting in October as he suggested to discuss … cooperation. I think that would be great,” Ayn Seegers, a 17-year resident of Gold Canyon, said.

The needs of Apache Junction and Gold Canyon residents are similar, Gold Canyon resident John Enright said.

“We want better restaurants. We want better highways. We want more business,” he said at the mayor’s meeting.

He recalled how residents of Apache Junction and Gold Canyon came together to put on a successful Day of the Cowboy event.

“Think of cooperation, all of the things we can do together and make this whole area a better place. We had an organization out here, a business association,” he said.

“We put on the Day of the Cowboy and we worked in cooperation with Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Florence, Superior, Queen Valley and we brought 125,000 people out here in the summer. We made almost $200,000 in revenue for the businesses out here in the slowest time of year. These are things that can be done if we want to work together,” Mr. Enright said.

It doesn’t make a difference if residents live in a city or an unincorporated area, their goals are usually the same, Deborah Wolek, who lives east of Mountain View Road in unincorporated Pinal County, said. She is a former economic-development executive from Oklahoma.

She said residents all have concerns about safety; security; stable property values; reasonable real estate taxes and sales taxes; places to go for entertainment that are reasonable and bring residents together with others of their same ilk; green spaces such as fenced dog parks, people walking trails, equine trails, four-wheel areas (with respect for each others likes); beautiful entry through and in the community such as landscaped medians and clean roadsides; and convenient shopping within the community as well as medical facilities.

“How can we unincorporated benefit from the city? That depends on the reasoning behind why someone would only choose to live in an unincorporated area vs. those people who buy in unincorporated areas without really knowing they did,” she said in an e-mailed response to questions.

“Pinal county has undertaken road paving which is a benefit to property values and dust mitigation. I happen to live on one of the few unpaved streets, which really doesn’t please me. All our neighbors must agree before our road gets paved,” Ms. Wolek said.

“Usually if you know your area is unincorporated one thinks they have less ‘governing restrictions/zoning’ – you can park your RV on your property, put up out buildings, etc., all without meeting city codes. Sometimes this is a good thing, other times if you are in a neat, clean high-dollar home and the neighbor moves in without the same caring attitude you can have a problem on your hands. That’s something you learn to live with,” she said.

Superstition region

Mayor Serdy said it is easier for people in the West Valley to think of the region of Apache Junction, Gold Canyon and Lost Dutchman Heights as the Superstition region.

“I see the Superstition region with old-town AJ, Gold Canyon, the foothills and Lost Dutchman Heights. And eventually that just rolls off of your tongue – Superstition region – because, remember, nobody knows where we are, but they know where the Superstitions is,” he said.

Ms. Wolek said new homes are being developed in her area.

“We looked for the extra acreage so we could have elbow room but that’s because we came from a ranch and the only time you saw people was when the mail carrier drove by or you went out of your way to visit your neighbors,” she said.

“If you live in a city you are limited by land-use restrictions,” Ms. Wolek said. “A few of the homeowners around us are equine owners so we are more likely to all have similar interests.”

Editor Richard H. Dyer can be contacted at rdyer@newszap.com.

Editor Richard Dyer can be reached at rdyer@newszap.com

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