On a recent morning, I drove south on Ironwood Drive from U.S. Highway 60 on the State Trust land route between the City of Apache Junction and the Town of Queen Creek.
Because of the recent annexation of State Trust land by the Town of Queen Creek south of the State Route 24 corridor and the approval by the Arizona State Selection Board for Apache Junction to annex south to SR24, the two municipalities will have a shared border.
Be sure to read my article on the cover of this issue, which has comments from town and city officials and also a resident of Encanterra, which is in the process of being annexed into Queen Creek.
SR24, which now ends at Ellsworth Road, is to be constructed a little south of Ray Road and head southeast and then east to Ironwood Drive and then eventually to near Gold Canyon.
I snapped photos of the Apache Junction landfill in the distance with the Superstitions Mountains behind it. I drove past the East Valley Aviators remote-control airplanes Superstition Field entrance, then to where SR24 is to meander by, then to the Arizona Speedway tracks, which are to be in the Queen Creek area.
I paused at Germann Road, which is where the State Trust land property starts, and looked back at the scrub brush, trying to envision a sea of homes and businesses.
I snapped photos where the Town of Queen Creek is to pave Meridian Road north of Pima Road to meet SR24. The town and Pinal County are to put in a new three-lane roadway, bike lanes and drainage from Germann Road to SR24. Improvements are anticipated to be complete when the SR24 extension opens in 2022.
On my drive back around through Queen Creek and into Mesa, looking to get close to Meridian Road, I came across the Zimmerman Dairy, which I wrote about in March 2012. The dairy farm in Pinal County --- then outside Queen Creek --- had marked a year of generating electricity with solar panels and was visited by U.S. Department of Agriculture officials. Videos I took are at facebook.com/QueenCreekSanTanValleyIndependent.
Next was a quick drive west and then onto Ellsworth Road, then past the beginning of SR24. My favorite memory there was walking on the brand new freeway as the Arizona Department of Transportation, state --- including Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Mesa and other regional officials marked the opening in April 2014. There were people riding their bicycles up and down the freeway.
I then meandered around Eastmark in Mesa and rook Ray Road to where it ends at Meridian, looking at the expanse beyond the paved road to the north and a dirt road to the south.
A lot has changed in the 32 years I have been writing about the East Valley, but the annexation of State Trust lands may be the biggest regional effort to bring jobs to the region.
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