BISBEE — Cochise County is vast, the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined, and opportunities abound here as interest in the county as a place to do business and invest increases each year.
Investment maintains momentum by providing growth and development opportunities due to low taxation, economical commercial space and acreage, affordable cost of living and a diversity of residential real estate for every taste and budget.
Transportation access is second to none with convenient access to railways and Interstate 10, Tucson International Airport close by and many smaller regional airports across the county.
Our motivated, educated and often bilingual workforce are served well by award-winning Cochise College, a two-year institution that serves residents from two campuses and four centers, and University of Arizona campuses in Douglas and Sierra Vista.
For outdoor enthusiasts, the county enjoys a sunny and mild climate and a wealth of outdoor activities and destinations within a stunning high desert landscape, from hiking and mountain biking to vineyards and community festivals.
In Cochise County, economic development is a conscious, organized effort to improve the local economy. We are focused on proactive efforts for the community with measurable benefits beyond the short term and cost effective investments that benefit our population. To be successful, the focus is on leveraging existing assets and investments.
An abundance of land, sunshine and wind provides opportunities for investment in alternative energy from solar and wind turbines to supply power to a growing and energy-thirsty Southeast Arizona. The economic impact is substantial. Hundreds of millions of dollars in capital investments from alternative energy have a future economic and fiscal impact to provide millions in direct construction impact, creating construction and related jobs and millions in wages over months and sometimes years of construction. In addition, when completed, the significant tax revenue benefits the county and other entities. Over the 40-year life of most solar projects, millions of dollars contribute to the local tax base funding the county and school districts – without an increase in the need for services a conventional development would require.
Sharing a border with Mexico is a huge benefit with our flourishing bi-national communities and attendant opportunities for trade and collaboration as Mexico is Arizona's No. 1 trading partner. The new commercial port of entry located west of Douglas is a game changer for economic development and prosperity.
A $400 million investment from the federal government will create a new commercial port and modernization of the existing Douglas port will increase trade and investment activities and improve border security.
On the other side of the border in Douglas is Agua Prieta, a thriving community with a skilled workforce and home to several manufacturers including Levolor, Commercial Vehicle Group, Takata, Velcro, Standex-Meder Electronics and Alystyle Apparel & Activewear.
In the post-pandemic economy, companies that traditionally rely on manufacturing in China are looking to reduce costs and improve access to U.S. markets by relocating operations across our international border to Sonora.
The County Board of Supervisors is dedicated to improving Cochise County's regional airports. With two public-use airports, Cochise County Airport in Willcox and Bisbee-Douglas International Airport, the county is partnering with private industry with interest in investing and improving the airports to support local industry and businesses and attract additional investment. Bisbee-Douglas International is strategically located just north of Douglas to support the expected increase in trade when the new commercial port is open.
One of our best-kept secrets is the Willcox wine country. Soil conditions, quality water and climate create a fruit so good that most people are unaware that 75% of the grapes in Arizona wine come from Cochise County.
Since medical and recreational marijuana became legal in Arizona, the industry has found an opportunity. Marijuana is a low-water usage plant and when grown indoors, over 90% of the water the plant does not use is recycled. As a highly regulated industry, the capital investment of the marijuana industry is significant and employs thousands of people.
Agri-tourism also is significant to Cochise County and presents an exciting opportunity. The county is reviewing existing codes that may be a barrier to encouraging more agri-tourism that draws people to enjoy our rural and beautiful landscapes while purchasing and enjoying locally grown food.
How do we make economic development happen? We focus on the investor as the source of desired revenue-producing tax base and employment growth. The product is Cochise County, where the investor puts their money and result-oriented management into the leadership that creates incredible collaborations to create the expected return for the investor.
Cochise County is vast, and a little out of the way, but progress and momentum are on our side — let's keep it going!