5/14/2013 3:10:00 PM Verde Valley pulls together for SR 260 completion
Cottonwood’s Andy Groseta told the board finishing the 260 project is the “most important factor to stimulate economic development.” He also urged the board to complete the work in a single project in 2015.
FLAGSTAFF -- A diverse group of Verde Valley residents, that including politicians, land owners, business people and residents gathered in Flagstaff Friday for a chance to campaign for the improvement of the Camp Verde area segment of State Route 260.
The Arizona State Road Board was holding its third and final public hearing at Flagstaff City Hall for state's five-year Transportation Plan. Because road money is so thin, the board is also sampling public comment for three possible scenarios for how citizens want to spend the money. Scenario A focuses on pavement preservation, B focuses on major projects and C is a combination of both.
Felipe Zubia, a consultant and a former Transportation Board member, hired to coordinate the lobbying effort, suggested that Verde speakers address their comments to Scenario B and tell the board that extending the SR 260 improvements would better serve mobility, safety and economic development.
Nearly two dozen Verde Valley representatives spoke to urge the board to support Scenario B and to also add additional funds to fully widen SR 260, clearly keeping the issue before the board.
Bill Feldmeier, another former Board Member and now a Camp Verde resident, said Scenario B would address many of the Board's pressing major highway issues as well as the SR 260.
Rancher Andy Groseta told the board finishing the 260 project is the "most important factor to stimulate economic development." He also urged the board to complete the work in a single project in 2015.
Camp Verde Mayor-elect Charlie German described the two-lane section of 260 near Camp Verde as "a tourniquet squeezing" the economic development, mobility and safety of the roadway.
Mary Chicoine, of the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization, told the board the infrastructure is critical to an area rapidly growing after it was named one of the top 10 destinations and a wine-growing hotspot.
Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens and Cottonwood Economic Development Director Casey Rooney also added to the support for the improvement.
Afterward consultant Zubia applauded the joint effort to influence the board, with a showing of unity across the Verde Valley.
While safety improvements have upgraded sections of the roadway, the four-lane improvement remains in the area from Thousand Trails to Cottonwood. Now led by Camp Verde officials, a campaign is under way to win dollars to upgrade the final section to Interstate 17.
Seven million dollars have already been committed to design and construction of the extension, but the Prescott area ADOT supervisor has estimated more money will be necessary to fully complete the project.
Zubia, Camp Verde Town Manager Russ Martin and others showed new board member Deana Beaver representing the Verde Valley through the project after the Friday meeting. They urged a continued effort to show support for the improvement in ADOT's online comment area.
Other area projects that drew public comment included an improvement to the SR 179 interchange and an upgrade to the Prescott area SR 89.