SAN LUIS

Yuma Sun - Visiting In Yuma - - NEWS -

San Luis has been an in­cor­po­rated mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Ari­zona since 1979, but its his­tory goes back to 1930.That year, the United States opened a port of en­try across from San Luis Rio Colorado, Son., to serve trav­el­ers be­tween the United States and Mex­ico.

For the next sev­eral decades, the pop­u­la­tion hov­ered at a cou­ple of hun­dred to sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple, most of whom were farm la­bor­ers and their fam­i­lies.

The city’s com­mer­cial cen­ter was lo­cated in a two-block area im­me­di­ately north of the Mex­i­can bor­der.Then in 1961, Jose Ur­tuzuastegui opened what was the city’s first gaso­line sta­tion in that area, the Fly­ing A. Chevron es­tab­lished the sec­ond ser­vice sta­tion in 1965, and in so do­ing, it be­came the first ma­jor busi­ness chain to come to San Luis.

More busi­ness chains came in the suc­ceed­ing years, and their out­lets plus lo­cally owned busi­nesses served a grow­ing clien­tele from neigh­bor­ing Mex­ico.Trade with Mex­i­can shop­pers joined agri­cul­ture as the com­mu­nity’s two prin­ci­pal in­dus­tries.

As an un­in­cor­po­rated com­mu­nity, San Luis had re­ceived pub­lic ser­vices from Yuma County, but by the late 1970s, a group of res­i­dents and mer­chants had grown dis­sat­is­fied with the level of ser­vices they were re­ceiv­ing from the county.

That dis­con­tent led them to or­ga­nize as the San Luis Com­mit­tee for Progress, which then launched a pe­ti­tion drive call­ing on the county board of su­per­vi­sors to in­cor­po­rate their com­mu­nity as a mu­nic­i­pal­ity.As a city,San Luis could levy a sales tax, rais­ing the rev­enue needed to fund many of the ser­vices de­manded by res­i­dents.

In 1979, su­per­vi­sors granted the pe­ti­tion, mak­ing San Luis the county’s fourth largest mu­nic­i­pal­ity that would be gov­erned by a seven-mem­ber coun­cil.

At the time of in­cor­po­ra­tion,San Luis had about 2,000 res­i­dents, but its growth surged in the next sev­eral decades.To­day the pop­u­la­tion is more than 32,000.

While agri­cul­ture re­mains the prin­ci­pal in­dus­try, ma­jor em­ploy­ers in­clude the City of San Luis,ACT call cen­ter,Gads­den El­e­men­tary School Dis­trict,Ari­zona State Prison, and a city-owned de­ten­tion cen­ter that houses pris­on­ers for the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

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