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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions November 24, 2015

6/25/2013 11:22:00 AM
Letter:Yes, Old Town Cottonwood has changed .... for the better


This is in response to Detta Cavanagh-Marshall's June 20th Letter "Downtown Cottonwood Doesn't Need Modernizing."

Detta, M.U.H.S. Class of '72 ... I'm sure you rolled back into town after many years away and saw many things have changed since you stopped living here. Heck, lots has changed in Old Town just recently in the past 5-10 years. That's what happens, no matter where anyone lives. Things change, but also ... a lot stays the same.

Old Town Cottonwood in particular has strived to preserve the history of the town's structures and develop the buildings that already exist rather than tear them down and build new places. The Jail is still preserved and now being visited/used more than it has been for years. The new restaurant soon to open across the street preserves the original shape of the old auto repair garage/Buick dealer that was once there long ago (and since occupied by a random assortment of failed businesses). Why can't it still be a Buick dealer? Things change.

The Old Town Theater was a burnt shell after a fire in the late 1990s and rather than being leveled, it was saved and converted to a new use, with memory of the ol' movie theater still highlighted in the Tavern Grille menu, and on the walls. The Ledbetter Law firm took over a faded, old, transient motor-court and revitalized it for their legal offices. They took the old Shep's Liquor sign, and rewired, repainted, refurbished it with new neon to welcome folks to Old Town with cool vintage style.

I grew up in Chicago, and every time I return to visit I notice the many things are different than how I remember them. But, what's more remarkable is the classic things that survive and stay the same. I'm no longer invested in Chicago as my home, so I have no say in how it's run and who is running it. We are invested in the Verde Valley, which has been our home for 16 years. We participate in this community now. Though you grew up here, you moved elsewhere and are no longer invested in the Verde Valley. A knee jerk opinion made from a quick visit through town is an unfair assessment of the great vibrancy Old Town has developed over the past decade. Sure, it has changed....For the better. Back in the early days, Old Town was the original heart of the community, a hub of activity. For many years, lights were dim and cobwebs and tumbleweeds were plentiful in Old Town, but its spirit is now returning to be the heart of the community once again.

I give kudos to all the Old Town merchants, both locally born and transplanted from other places, for investing your time, energy, vision and dollars into Old Town. You've made it an interesting, lively place and bring fun, good energy and income to the area, while preserving historic significance.

Ellen Jo Roberts


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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Article comment by: Rie H

"Though you grew up here, you moved elsewhere and are no longer invested in the Verde Valley."

That flippant remark was OUT OF LINE and incorrect. She said she was moving back. Same with me.
Both Detta and I have family who still own real estate and live there (LIFE LONG), just as their families before them.

It wasn't kewl at all to ASSUME she was "no longer invested" in the area and come across as if you rule the roost because YOU live in the area now.

You seem to come across with the idea that you think you’re better than anyone else. I could have read wrong, and if I did I am sorry, but it was just REALLY RUDE in my opinion.

Add to that, there or not, do our hearts ever really leave?

Think before you assume.

Mr. White, I completely understand how you meant what you wrote. Nothing can stay just as it used to be, and progress can be a good thing.

I think what we miss is the era that once was as much as we love the sleepy little town we used to know where everyone knew everyone else. My plans to return to the area are in place, but if I had a choice, I would be returning to the 60's!! Those times/memories are “home” to me as much as the area itself.

Alas, life evolves and we must evolve with it for the most part, but we have EVERY RIGHT TO MISS what once was, and to wish to keep history and the look and feel of the town intact when OUR ANCESTORS put their blood, sweat and tears into helping it become what it is and STILL DO.

WE ALSO HAVE EVERY RIGHT to NOT ALLOW someone (ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY ARE NOT FROM THE VERDE VALLEY ERA WE ONCE KNEW AND LOVED AND HAVE NO IDEA WHO WE ARE OR WHAT WE ARE ABOUT) to come along with their attitudes and put us down and assume we are "no longer invested". HOW DARE THEY.

I can welcome change and new people and love my neighbor, but I WILL ALWAYS stand up and speak out if I see something wrong.

I think Ellen Jo owes Detta AN APOLOGY.

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013
Article comment by: Diana Foltz

Thanks, Ellen, for so clearly communicating the heart of this community! Great experiencing the healthy change that does a good job balancing the past, present and future.

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Article comment by: dale ruff

Recently, while in Cottonwood, I stopped at the huge (nearly empty of people) Ace near oldtown. I told a workers there I was from California, and he cautioned me not to mention that.

Why not? Most Arizonans are from elsewhere?

He told me Californians want to change things. I asked for an example: he told me the huge Home Depot was an example of how change was ruining Cottonwood and told me he doesn't want any change.

I pointed out he was working in a huge new big box store, just like Home Depot.

Now I now why the definition of conservative is someone who opposes change. Even when change is good (it provided him a job).

Stereotyping 36 million Californians, who have brought billions into Arizona, is also typical of hypocritical conservatives, as I have run into this before. I am proud to have been born in California, the 6th largest economy in the world with the best public universities in the world and the cutting edge of both entertainment, agriculture, and hi tech.

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Article comment by: Rex Peters

Excellent article, Ellen! There is a great interest in the renewal of Old Town and I'm happy to see it.
Poor Mr. White, you seem to be unhappy about it, but I think you are in the minority.

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Article comment by: I'll Bet That

People who grew up in the town where you now reside would say pretty much the same thing Wesley.

That's progress.

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Article comment by: wesley white

what abt. my ole town I don't think anyone knows how good it used to be when cottonwood used to be an anthill and the school hse was up on the hill the feed store was still downtown I come home home now it dont even look good it looks like thoutskirts of Phx why!!! too much backeast want to come there I lived there when A&w was still good an quiet Balls supermarket the verde grocery downtown manfredi nick & Dorothy who supply shoe store the Fairways grocer wanna go some more????

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: Ryan Jensen

Great letter.

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