Explore Class 2 Visits Buckeye!

June 2, 2023

One of the most valuable elements of the Explore program is that it allows participants to create their own narrative for places that exist just a short distance from where most people live. Buckeye is an amazing example of a rapidly developing city with infrastructure that a lot of Arizonans may not be knowledgeable about. In Buckeye, community leaders are diving into economic development through means of innovation and sustainability.

The Explore excursion to Buckeye was another eye opening experience of what is happening in a city just outside of Phoenix. The drive and passion that shows up in every conversation with Buckeye leadership is evident. 

Our trip started with a discussion with former Mayor Jackie Meck and Councilman Tony Youngker, who were able to provide some insight into the history of the area and the way that Buckeye has annexed land to grow in size over the years. 

We then joined Sophia at Screws & Sparkles, a local business that supports makers and artists, and has seen significant success in their downtown location. 

Ken Galica then joined us to talk about the Downtown Buckeye plan, and the shared vision of business owners, community members, and City officials for how to make the area a destination for visitors. 

We learned from Steve Bebee, Superintendent of Buckeye Union High School District, who shared how the education system and schools are adjusting to keep up with the rapid population growth in the area.

Our next stop was Grand View Dairy Farm, where Nick Vanderway guided the Explore class through a tour and shared his thoughts on how the growth will affect farmers like him. We also witnessed the birth of a calf during our visit, which was an incredible experience that we could not have planned for! 

We ended our day in Verrado, where we were so excited to learn from current Mayor Eric Orsborn, Director of Economic Development, Suzie Boyles, and from Todd Hornback, CEO of CoHere. They shared with us the vision for Buckeye’s future, and the current investment and business opportunities surfacing from the city’s growth. 

Finally, Les Meyers from the White Tank Mountain Conservancy took us on a journey through the unique way in which developers are partnering with them to ensure they are preserving and supporting the existing wildlife. 

Learning about Buckeye is an essential part of deepening our understanding of Arizona as a whole, as this unique place has experienced rapid change in just a couple of decades and is a great example of individuals with diverse experiences coming together to help support a community.

For more photos, please visit our Facebook album.

Special thanks to all of our community partners who made the trip such an incredible experience.

Nick VanderwayGrand View Dairy Farms
Sophia MartinezSmall Business Owner – Screws & Sparkles
Suzie BoylesBuckeye Economic Development
Jackie MeckFormer Mayor of Buckeye
Mayor Eric OsbornMayor of Buckeye
Les MeyeresExecutive Director of White Tank Mountains Conservancy
Seema PhullKore Power
Steven BeebeeSuperintendant – Buckeye Union High School
Todd HornbackWhite Tank Mountains Conservancy
Ken GlaciaBuckeye City Planner
Ashley MazariegosCity of Buckeye Economic Development
Councilmember Tony YoungkerCity of Buckeye Councilmember
Nicole RobertsCity of Buckeye Economic Development

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