by Jon Thompson, Mayor, City of Coolidge
This month I’d like to take an opportunity to talk about the 2020 Census and how important it is to the community.
The Census takes a count of cities and towns and uses that data to distribute federal funds to programs used in that community. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make sure the questionnaire is completed to ensure those dollars are put back in the community.
I want to highlight some important programs where Coolidge benefits from federal funding. It’s estimated each person counted in Arizona receives $3,000 a year in services. Over 10 years in Census counts, that’s $30,000 per person!
Roadways are important infrastructure that everyone uses to get around. Whether that’s by auto, bike or simply walking around, our citizens have rated roads a top priority. Coolidge receives money to help rebuild and maintain the miles of roads around the City.
Some of the projects completed in our downtown area feature new roadway, sidewalks and other amenities such as benches to provide a safe and updated look. These include Central Avenue as well as new roadway surrounding San Carlos Park. This enhances the downtown area and showcases the area’s vibrant shopping, eateries and other businesses.
We’re also maintaining much-needed roadway across the City. Census figures help determine how much funding Coolidge receives to help our roads. With this in mind, our Public Works department has been working on programs to actively maintain newer roads while completely rebuilding older ones in our downtown area. Construction is in the process along Main Street to chip seal aging roadway and help bring a renewed feeling to the neighborhood. All of this work wouldn’t be possible without monies received by our federal, state and local partners.
Coolidge has been a leader with a phenomenal transit system that started with a van back in the ‘90s. In the last few years, the Cotton Express has expanded by offering service across multiple cities in Pinal County with the CART buses including Eloy, Florence and Casa Grande.
The CART in recent years has been a major way to transport workers across Pinal County. This is especially true with stops at County complexes, the Greyhound bus stop in Eloy, and Central Arizona College. Since the transit system receives federal funding, the community is able to have a safe, reliable and effective means of travel to popular stops.
Our housing rehabilitation program helps low-income residents make repairs to their property and in some cases, rebuilds their entire house. This program has helped many families who need to replace their air conditioner, heating system, water heater and more. It also assists those in need of major repairs to their home. These grants improve items like plumbing, electrical and structural problems that could render the home uninhabitable.
Each year the program aims to help as many as possible. The funding is based on population counts and Coolidge is able to assist about nine families a year. If our population count increases, we hope the program can expand and help additional residents with their needs.
Coolidge is proud to have such a strong base of educational choices between public and charter schools. Each year, schools receive federal monies for a variety of programs that helps students succeed. These include the national school lunch and breakfast programs, special education grants, career and technical education grants, the Title IV-E foster care program, Section 8 housing assistance, Head Start programs and more.
All these programs are funded in part by federal allocations that are determined by population counts. Many Coolidge residents have benefitted directly from these programs, which ultimately help students grow and prosper.
In closing, you can see how the small list of programs above illustrates how important the Census is to our community. Please take a moment to fill out the Census 2020 questionnaire. In most cases it will take just 10 minutes. Those counts are very important to everyone who lives, works and plays here!