Thu, Jan. 23

Council seeks positive working relationships with all VOC neighbors

Tom Graham, President, Big Park Regional Coordination Council

Tom Graham, President, Big Park Regional Coordination Council

Transition is always accompanied by uncertainty, but information widely available gives us a sense of confidence when change occurs.

Establishing clear lines of communication with the community and our government leaders is the council’s first priority. The council is the truest form of American grassroots politics, untainted by money and fostered only by a strong sense of volunteerism among good neighbors.

Since 2007 when I got involved in the council, it has grown from 19 to 28 members. We are grateful for the strong commitments made to our community by these business, educational and residential associations. Residential neighborhoods, regardless of status, are welcome to come to a council meeting and find out about joining us. It’s a great way to be sure your voice is heard and learn what’s happening in the community.

I would like to speak of our community’s future this month. In the Verde Valley, there are four other organized unincorporated communities: Cornville Community Association (4800); Beaver Creek Association (4300); Bridgeport Community Association (1,000); Verde Village Property Owners Association (16,000) and Big Park (6,200). Total is 32,000-plus people in Verde Valley unincorporated communities.

The council, with support of our county supervisors, has fostered strong ties between these groups. Positive working relationships with all our neighbors, including mayors, unincorporated community leaders, the Forest Service and the Yavapai-Apache Nation are critical to moving forward together in a way that makes good neighborly sense.

There are challenges facing our own Village with growth and change: traffic solutions on 179, renovation of the Outlet Mall (which will not be the only project on that scale), efforts to create a local school with the closure of Big Park School, as well as the decadal census in 2020. Yavapai County’s population already triggered a change from three to five supervisors, requiring supervisor re-districting. That is having a huge impact on the governance of Yavapai County. We need to know and understand the residents of the Verde Valley cities and unincorporated areas as neighbors, not as foreigners.

Only you and I can get in front of these issues. The council isn’t presently advocating any scenarios on those major issues, but we are advocating that we engage and learn what it means for our community. Stay tuned for more information about how these issues will be discussed and decided by the council with your help.

Marty Aronson, one of the principals of Sedona Vista Village, will make a presentation to the Council on June 14.

My commitment to the council has been rewarding and most of the time has been fun. I have formed new friendships and become a better citizen. I recommend to all council representatives and alternates service on the council beyond just attending the monthly meetings. We are looking forward to your participation in our Community dialogue. The council meets on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 9 a.m. in the Sedona Fire station training room located at 125 Slide Rock.

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