Valley Telecom breaks ground on Thatcher expansion

The first shovels of dirt are turned Monday in Valley Telecom's expansion in Thatcher. Pictured are, from left, Valley Telecom Operations Manager Heath Bowen; Doug Gardner, representing the Graham County Chamber of Commerce; Troy Judd, Valley Telecom CFO; David Owen, with Mears Group; and Graham County Supervisor John Howard. - David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

THATCHER — Officials from the Town of Thatcher, Graham County and the Chamber of Commerce joined together for a ceremonial groundbreaking, signifying the start of Valley Telecom’s expansion into Thatcher.

The expansion has been years in the making, first with gathering data about the needs of residents and businesses in the community.

“The last several years we really started talking more seriously about Thatcher, and the conversation kept evolving,” said Valley Telecom CFO Troy Judd.

Troy Judd, chief financial officer for Valley Telecom, welcomes visitors to the ceremonial groundbreaking for Valley Telecom’s expansion into Thatcher on Monday. – David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Graham County Supervisor John Howard, whose district includes Thatcher, said the expansion of internet service will be an economic boon.

“It’s a tremendous asset,” Howard said. “If you start bringing it to smaller communities like this, it’s going to incentivize more people to come to Thatcher to create businesses with the technology we offer.”

Graham County Supervisor John Howard, center, talks about the economic opportunities Valley Telecom’s expansion into Thatcher represents. – David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

Work will begin immediately and be completed in phases, with work first starting on the western side of Thatcher, along U.S. Highway 70, followed by the north-central portion of town. The final phase will cover Daley Estates and all areas should be completed by mid-March 2022.

Work has been contracted to the Mears Group, which continues to hire local crew members via Arizona @ Work.