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Arizona town makes comeback with help of federal dollars

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(Arizona News Connection) Federal investments have given one Arizona community the opportunity to slowly rebuild itself and invest in new areas.

The historic town of Superior, Arizona, in Pinal County, has been known for mining but through the years has experienced economic hardship as mining operations have come and gone. But now, things are beginning to change.

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Mila Besich, the town's mayor, credited funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. She said it is being used for to pay for big revitalization and infrastructure projects.

"We know that growth will be happening for us at some point," Besich observed. "Having this opportunity to really prepare for that, and prepare mindfully, is really important."

She added rescue plan funds have helped Superior in a variety of ways from establishing a multigenerational center and a workforce training program, to renovating the town's wastewater treatment plant and improving the food bank serving 15 percent of the local population. She contended the investments will help ensure the livelihood of rural communities like hers.

Besich emphasized Superior has had to take its renaissance into its own hands, which also includes the potential economic stimulation of the The Resolution Copper Project now in the works. If approved, it would supply copper for the clean energy and semiconductor industries, as well as bring jobs to the region.

"In addition to going through that large federal permitting process with this mine, we also were able to use our ARPA dollars and infrastructure dollars to really work on bigger projects," Besich stressed.

Besich acknowledged most cities and towns struggle to grow the budgets they need to build out infrastructure, which she called "incredibly important" for future generations. She added when federal dollars can be used in rural areas for infrastructure and community spaces, they make meaningful differences.