Set between Tucson and Phoenix, Pinal County has long been seen as the place where the two cities would merge into a bright future, a key to the Sun Corridor. But the housing bust has turned Pinal into ground zero for the housing crisis with the highest foreclosure rate in the state and one of the highest in the nation.
Instead of reflecting promise, Pinal now reflects the state’s present-day challenges — namely few jobs, high unemployment and an economy over-reliant on housing construction.
How Pinal recovers from the housing crisis — if ever — will set the tone for the Arizona of the future and whether the state’s two leading cities merge.
For Pinal’s leaders, recovery means luring more growth.
While hyper-growth fueled Pinal’s housing mess, growth, Pinal officials say, will lead the county out of it.
In this two-part investigation, the Arizona Daily Star brings readers inside Pinal County, the heart of the state’s housing crisis.