Tue, Aug. 20

<CENTER><B>Letters to the Editor</B></CENTER>

Economic development should be top priority


I would like to congratulate Howard Parrish on his victory in the Camp Verde recall election against Eric Eberhard. Now it is time to deal with town manager John Roberts.

To prevent a potential lawsuit against the town, I did support the decision of the town council to reinstate Roberts at a recent council meeting. The issue has to be dealt with differently.

One message from the public present at that same council meeting rang loud and clear.

That message was, "where is the economic development?" Roberts and I have butted heads many times on this subject.

Regarding tourism, I recommended to Roberts that we encourage development of an antique district in our downtown. Five or six stores would attract many more tourists. I even developed a database of over 150 antique stores in Arizona from which mailing labels can be printed.

Regarding large-scale economic development, I researched all the major retailers including Wal-Mart, Costco, Home Depot, Lowes and many more including Westcor (the major shopping center developer). I developed a listing of the decision makers at each of these firms.

After getting nowhere with Roberts regarding major economic development, I purchased 10 copies of the new Verde Valley tourism video and CD-ROM. I also ran copies of the town's new Retail Market Analysis Report. I first shared the video and CD-ROM with each member of the town council and Roberts. I then sent these items to each of the major retailers and to Westcor.

Citizens should not have to do all this work for free. Town staff should perform this work – with leadership from the town manager. I hope that the new majority on the town council will make economic development a very high priority.

H. Leon Raper

Camp Verde