SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ - A few years ago, it was just a tiny stop along Hunt Highway. So small, it didn't even have a name.
Now the northern section of Pinal County is known as San Tan Valley, which has burst into a large community with more than 80,000 people.
"This community is absolutely ready to step up to the grown-up table," said resident Randy Lockner.
Lockner is behind a push to incorporate San Tan Valley into its own city. If he and his political action committee succeeds, it will be the largest city in Pinal County and the ninth biggest in Arizona.
The idea to organize San Tan Valley isn't entirely new.
The area has seen explosive growth in the past few years, especially during the housing boom. Pinal County officials have also studied the area and put together several reports outlining what a San Tan Valley city could look like.
In those projections, it created a budget that would rely on roughly $210 from every household in the area.
Lockner hopes to get the issue on the November ballot.
His group already has about 2,000 signatures of the 3,000 needed to give to the county board of supervisors.
However, even if they get the signatures, they still need approval from neighboring cities and towns.
In state law, it requires a community to get a thumbs-up from any municipality within six miles of the proposed borders. That means Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek and Florence will have to say yes.
So far, Lockner said Mesa is openly supporting San Tan Valley.
But some officials in other places are balking at the idea. Some municipalities stand to lose millions of dollars in state shared revenue if San Tan Valley becomes a city.
Resident here have been paying into the state's pot for as long as they've lived here. Now, they want a share of that pie, Lockner said.
"They do not have the intention to annex us," he said. "They do not believe it is viable for them."
Lockner said he will continue to meet with officials from those cities to work out the details. If they don't budge, it could kill incorporation this year.
However, residents in this area seem committed and say it's just a matter of time.
"It will happen eventually, that's a fact," Lockner said. "It's not a question of if but when."
To learn more about the issue visit SanTanValleyNow.com .
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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