Bryan Martyn and Art Sanders: As Queen Creek pursues the request from Banner Health to annex the new Banner Ironwood Medical Center property, concerns have surfaced that this annexation will take away from Pinal County and its residents to benefit Queen Creek and its residents. Together, we are writing to assure all area residents that regardless of any annexation, this hospital will be a tremendous benefit to everyone.
As Queen Creek pursues the request from Banner Health to annex the new Banner Ironwood Medical Center property, concerns have surfaced that this annexation will take away from Pinal County and its residents to benefit Queen Creek and its residents.
Together, we are writing to assure all area residents that regardless of any annexation, this hospital will be a tremendous benefit to everyone.
In 1996, before Banner was even looking for property, Queen Creek identified this area on Gantzel Road south of Combs Road for future annexation. This area has been included in Queen Creek's planning area since that time and was part of the 1996 voter-approved general plan. When plans for future annexations are discussed, the town refers to the adopted planning area boundaries. Banner decided to build a new hospital on that land.
Desiring the enhanced levels of service that the town can immediately provide through its fire department, including the extensive benefits of the Phoenix area's automatic aid response system and contract with Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Banner approached Queen Creek more than a year ago requesting annexation. The area has always been intended to be annexed by Queen Creek, and Banner has been requesting it as well.
Annexation into Queen Creek does not remove the hospital from Pinal County. The fact is, Banner desired to be located within an incorporated municipality, and there is no other existing city or town in a position to annex the property. State law specifically gives the greatest leverage to property owners when considering annexation - not municipalities.
The town will not benefit significantly from sales taxes from the hospital, as Banner is a nonprofit organization and is exempt from many tax classifications. The regional benefits that this hospital will bring are significant and transcend any particular jurisdictional boundary line. All area residents will be able to take advantage of the medical services offered by Banner regardless of which county they live in. Having a local hospital means that area residents can get treatment. In extreme emergencies, when minutes are crucial, a hospital will now be close by.
Not only will the region benefit from this medical care, the Banner Ironwood Medical Center will provide high-wage jobs for the area. Initial data from Banner Health suggest the hospital will employ approximately 300 people when its doors open and approximately 4,000 people at the full build-out of the campus. This not only brings jobs to the region, but offers reverse-commute opportunities for local residents, which in turn increases quality of life. This hospital will also be a catalyst for additional health and wellness types of businesses in the region.
Together we welcome and support Banner, providing much-needed medical services and high-quality jobs for our region. A full-service hospital in the community is important to our quality of life. Residents will not have to leave their home community to receive medical services.
Bryan Martyn is Pinal County District 2 supervisor. Art Sanders is mayor of Queen Creek.