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McDowell Mountain Pump Track among county programs honored
Local winners to be honored Thursday by Board of Supervisors
Let’s face it, the younger generation is just not into ping pong and sandlot baseball. They’re seeking the adrenalin rush and thrill that mountain biking offers and that’s exactly what they’ll find at McDowell Mountain Regional Park’s new pump track! A pump track provides cyclists with a continuous loop with dirt mounds, bank curves, berms, bumps and grooves that both test and train their skills for all kinds of racing. It’s part BMX and part mountain biking.
How the Maricopa County Parks Department built the facility – the first public pump track in Arizona - reveals an even more daunting challenge. The Parks Department currently has a very limited budget for capital improvement projects. But Park Supervisor Rand Hubbell understood the potential of a pump track to attract more visitors to the park in northeast Maricopa County. A cyclist had even suggested it.
There were preciously few resources to build the track until 86-yards of dirt was delivered to a parking lot, right where the pump track is fashioned, for the popular “Muddy Buddy” run and ride series. Muddy Buddy is all about teams of two having fun as they traverse a seven mile off-road course, overcome obstacles and conclude their efforts by forging through a gigantic mud bog. The park maintenance crew and volunteers from the Mountain Bike Association moved the dirt and created the mounds. The new pump track is quickly gaining new fans every day!
The pump track project was one of 24 Maricopa County winners of the annual Achievement Awards of the National Association of Counties. The winners will be honored Thursday morning at 9 a.m. at the Board of Supervisor’s Auditorium, 205 West Jefferson.
Among the winners this year is West McDowell Justice Court Judge Rachel Carrillo, who developed a video connection for hospitalized domestic abuse victims who can seek and secure Orders of Protection without leaving the hospital or confronting their abusers. “This program will literally save lives,” commented Andy Kunasek, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
Longtime Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell’s office won three honors, including its interactive remote recording kiosk which allow residents in Phoenix suburbs to record documents from kiosks in Fountain Hills and Surprise. The kiosk program was judged the nation’s best in its category. Purcell’s in-house development team also produced a computer program that allows clerks to capture hundreds of different document titles and classify them into correct category. The recorder’s office handles thousands of different documents every day.
Other NACO achievement awards were announced:
- Probation Re-entry Initiative, a supervised reentry model in collaboration with state Department of Corrections and community-based service agencies to reduce recidivism among the 100 prison inmates released per month.
- Eco-Employee Program, honored for a special NACO designation, recognizing one county employee for demonstrating an outstanding commitment to sustainability, recycling, conservation, energy conservation and lifestyle.
- The construction of the LEED-platinum-certified White Tank Branch Library & Nature Center.
- CheeREADERS, Perry Library in Gilbert recruits high school athletes and cheerleaders to volunteer and mentor young children in reading.
- “Inside the Box” Newspaper. Fountain Hills Library offers eight-week writing workshop for children 9 – 12. “Inside the Box” is a one-page newspaper produced by the youngsters and is published as an insert in The Fountain Hills Times.
- “Nothing but Net,” using GIS technology to update Federal Emergency Management Agency flood rate maps.
- Juvenile Court Guide Program. Helping the public navigate the Juvenile Court system.
- Juvenile Court Community Services Unit, a one-stop shop for the public for information and referral services.
- Victim Restitution Project, an alliance between the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and the Clerk of the Superior Court to use MCAO investigators to locate victims who are due restitution.
- Remote Interpreter Program. Allowing for interpreters to reach over 25 courtrooms from a remote location.
- Safety, Nutrition, Activity and Care for Kids (SNACK). A collaborative program with child care facilities in Northwest Valley to provide information on health and nutrition to parents, caregivers and teachers.
- Head Start “Zero to-Five” program. “Para Las Familias” serves nearly 600 parents with education on communication, relationships, stress and parenting.
- Fixed Asset Tracking System, to monitor and track assets purchased by the recorder’s office. These include laptops to voter-tabulation machines.
- Managing for Results Information System. Links strategic plans, budgets with performance measurements to assess the delivery of county services.
- “Continuity of Care” program to ensure mentally ill individuals within the criminal justice system receive necessary treatment.
- Backlog FARE, collaboration between Administrative Office of the Courts, Justice Courts, Motor Vehicle Department and State courts. Utilizing electronic transmission of data, agencies make sure obligations are met. The program has resulted in hundreds of thousands of additional collected dollars each month.
- KISS, Kids & Infants Seated Safety program, delivering parents and caregivers information at community car seat checks and distribution events,
- Improving Safety through apprehension of drug-related offenders. Special program of Adult Probation Department to apprehend individuals with drug-related probation warrants.
- Restitution Enforcement Court.