Thu, April 02

Riverfront Park master plan off to solid start

The good news is that participatory government is alive and well in Cottonwood.

At least as it applies to the future amenities at Riverfront Park.

About 80 people showed up to a study session on Riverfront Park master planning last week, which is like filling up the Chase Field ballpark in terms of Cottonwood government meeting attendance.

The full house is not that much of a surprise. A month ago, the Verde Independent conducted a reader poll asking readers to select their three top priorities for recreation uses at the park. The poll received 2,774 votes, the most ever in our 19 years of online news service.

Those in attendance represented lobbying interests for almost every conceivable use – present and future – at Riverfront Park.

We’re far from done with the process, much less redefining the look and offerings at the park.

And what’s important for all involved in the process at this stage is to remember we are walking the delicate tightrope of wants, needs and what the city can afford.

In other words, everyone is not going to get what they want.

And, there is going to be a waiting list.

City Manager Ron Corbin said there is no funding budgeted for Fiscal 2020 to begin any of the more lengthy and expensive projects, nor is there likely to be any in FY 2021.

Corbin said the city is willing to work with folks who know of sport-specific or industry-specific grants, or through the establishment of partnerships, to move forward on the park masterplan.

Until such funding is available, we’re seeing the kind of community process to determine park priorities that many communities dream about. The priorities are being driving by the community, in great numbers.

It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but we are getting there.

Remember: needs, wants and what can the city afford.

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