Community Profile | Yuma County

Western Arizona Economic Development District

Yuma County

Background

Yuma County was one of the original four counties designated by the first Territorial Legislature. Until 1983, when voters decided to split it into La Paz County in the north and a new Yuma County in the south, it maintained its original boundaries.

In 1540, just 48 years after Columbus arrived in America, 18 years after the conquest of Mexico by Cortéz, and 67 years before Jamestown's settlement, Hernando de Alarcón visited the site of what is now the city of Yuma. He was the first European to set foot in the area and recognize the Colorado River's best natural crossing.

From the 1850s through the 1870s, steamboats on the Colorado River transported passengers and goods to mines, ranches, and military outposts in the area, serving the ports of Yuma, Laguna, Castle Dome, Norton's Landing, Ehrenberg, Aubry, Ft. Mohave and Hardyville.

For many years, Yuma served as the gateway to the new western territory of California. In 1870, the Southern Pacific Railroad bridged the river, and Yuma became a hub for the railroad and was selected as the county seat.

Much of Yuma County's 5,519 square miles is desert land accented by rugged mountains. However, the valley regions contain an abundance of arable land, which is irrigated with Colorado River water. Agriculture, tourism, military, and government are the county's principal industries. During the winter months, the population grows considerably with part-time residents.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management accounts for 14 percent of land ownership; Indian reservations, less than 0.5 percent; the state of Arizona, 5 percent; individual or corporate, 11 percent; and other public lands, 70 percent, including the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Local Resources

Yuma County Economic Development

Julio "Alejandro" Figueroa,
Economic Development & Intergovermental Affairs Director
Yuma County Administration Building
198 S. Main Street
Yuma, AZ 85364
Phone: 928-373-1093
Email: Alejandro Figueroa
Website: Yuma County Economic Development

Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation

Julie Engel,
President & CEO
899 E. Plaza Circle, Ste. 2
Yuma, AZ 85366
Phone: 928-782-7774
Email: Julie Engel
Website: Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation

Yuma County Chamber of Commerce

Kimberly Kahl,
Executive Director
180 W. 1st St., Suite A
Yuma, AZ 85364
Phone: 928-782-2567
Email: Yuma County Chamber of Commerce
Website: Yuma County Chamber

City of San Luis

Jenny Torres,
Economic Development Manager
1090 E. Union Street
San Luis, AZ 85349
Phone: 928-341-8584
Email: Jenny Torres
Website: City of San Luis

City of Somerton

Hector Tapia,
Economic Development Director
143 N. State Ave.
P.O. Box 638
Somerton, AZ 85350
Phone: 928-722-7330
Email: Hector Tapia
Website: City of Somerton

City of Yuma

Jeff Burt,
Economic Development Administrator
One City Plaza
Yuma, AZ 85366
Phone: 928-373-5017
Email: Jeff Burt
Website: City of Yuma

Town of Wellton

Larry Killman,
Town Manager
28634 Oakland Ave.
Wellton, AZ 85356
Phone: 928-785-3348
Email: Larry Killman
Website: Town of Wellton

Local First Arizona

Kimber Lanning,
Chief Executive Officer
407 E. Roosevelt St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: 602-956-0909
Email: Local First Arizona
Website: Local First Arizona

Arizona Commerce Authority

100 N. 7th Ave., Suite 400
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone: 602-845-1200
Email: Arizona Commerce Authority Information
Website: Arizona Commerce Authority Home Page

Last Updated by University of Arizona - Yuma (CAST): 04/21/2021

Return to TOC