Big Park Council Corner

Thomas Graham

Thomas Graham

Starting this month, The Villager will feature our community’s Big Park Regional Coordinating Council.

Our Council is like a grassroots monthly Town Hall that tackles community issues. It’s a place where one’s voice can be heard with a question, a complaint or an idea that may impact the community. As an award-winning model of unincorporated government, it provides a remarkable forum for determining our own unique goals that citizens in most unincorporated communities don’t have. Importantly, it is because of the Council that our community decisions are so highly respected at the County level.

Our first initiative will be spotlighting Council Members with a feature “Meet Your Big Park Council Rep.” In the future, we’ll also explore the Council’s committees, history, the organizations that report to Council and more.

The Council’s mission is to promote the best interests of the Big Park/Village of Oak Creek Community and provide the input and recommendations to help the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors make good decisions about our community. There are 28 members on the Council, elected or appointed by their Residential, Business or Educational Association. You do not have to be a Council Member to be on a Council Committee: Committees are Planning & Zoning, Transportation & Recreation/Youth. Learn more at bigparkcounil.org

You are invited to attend Big Park Council Meetings on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 9am in the Sedona Fire Station #3, 125 Slide Rock Rd., next to the Post Office.

Meet Your Big Park Council Representative -- Thomas Graham, President

Select which Big Park Council Member classification (defined below) is applicable to you: RAM BOA EIM: * RAM

What is the name of your RAM, BOA or EIM: * Oak Creek Country Club Estates III

Number of Residents / Homes / Units: * 64 separate parcels

What does the number from the above field quantify: * Units

What is the character of your HOA/ROA/BOA: Rural, Dense, Single Family Homes, Townhomes, Apartments, Commercial, Mixed? What would you say makes it unique? * OCCCE III is mostly single family homes. The lots in OCCCE III are mostly about one acre which creates a sense of space and privacy. Most of the pacels are located between the Sedona Golf Resort golfcourse and the Coconino National Forest.

CURRENT Council Officers, Committee Chairs and members, Project Chairs and members, please describe your title and responsibilities. If you are a PAST Officer or Committee/Project Chair/member, please specify your title(s) and how many year(s) you’ve served. What have been your most interesting challenges and successes with the Council? * I am the current Council President. I have been a Big Park Council Representative for about 12 years during which time I have served as Vice President and Secretary and also served, and chaired, several committees of the Council. It was one of my goals to bridge the divisive attitude that existed for several years and, working with many people who also wanted to unite the Council, that division has been alleviated to a great extent.

Choose one that best describes you: * Working full time

How many years have you lived in the Big Park/Village of Oak Creek area and from where did you come? What do you like best and least about living here? * My wife, Jennifer, and I moved to the Village in 2004. We had vacationed many times here beginning in 1989 and purchased property. We moved here to help manage the construction of our 23-room inn, Las Posadas of Sedona Boutique Inn. Our son manages the Inn and also lives in the Village with his wife, Susana, and their two children. Jennifer continued her career in real estate in AZ which she had pursued in Minnesota for many years. We moved to the Village from the Minneapolis area. We enjoy the beauty of this area and its climate and the small town atmosphere - we do not miss the Minnesota winters but sometimes miss living in a larger metropolitan area.

What are your favorite pastimes, interests and/or community involvements? * My favorite activities are cooking, golfing & remodeling the inside/outside of our home and its landscaping. I am very active in numerous community nonprofits. I am also still very active in my private practice of law that has occupied the majority of my time for the past 46 years. I also serve on the Yavapai County Board of Adjustment & Appeals and was re-appointed by the Board of Supervisors for another term just this past June.

What is one of your proudest accomplishments and/or one of your most memorable experiences? *

I have been blessed with recognition of my volunteer efforts and my law practice. Volunteer recognition has come from Keep Sedona Beautiful, Big Park Council, All-American Road Committee and the "Unsung Hero Award" from Chip Davis, our former County Supervisor. My law partners honored me by putting my name first in our law firm name. A memorable experience was a private visit to the White House and a private conference with the Vice President of the U.S. in his office.

What has been your favorite or most valued work experience? Has the Council provided an opportunity for you to use your expertise? * The most valued work experiences were solving problems for my clients that alleviated their worries in their personal and/or their work lives. Working with clients on their estate planning was particularly rewarding as when everything was signed & sealed, I could see the burden lifting from their shoulders knowing that their heirs had a workable plan in place.

I like to think that my legal expertise has also been a benefit to the Council.

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