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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions May 24, 2016

1/23/2014 12:06:00 PM
Editorial: Always remember how far we've come on 260

Remember January 2014. Praise and applause were certainly merited when the Town of Camp Verde signed onto the State Route 260 intergovernmental agreement with the Arizona Department of Transportation. Camp Verde was the last entity to sign on, and it was a long road back to approbation.

Cling to those feelings of achievement and good will, because there is still a long road ahead. By the time the funding comes through and the work begins, memories of how far the Verde Valley has come may fade. There are still big decisions to make, even argue over, regarding access designs. The work itself will delay traffic, no doubt, causing drivers to try to remember if it was all worth it.

So here and now is the moment they should think back on and recall why so many people put so much time and work into widening 260.

Once a political soap opera exacerbated by personal pride and community prejudice, the widening of 260 to four lanes between Camp Verde and Cottonwood has been an expensive lesson. A road that initially caused a division and hurt feelings in the Verde Valley became a tool for drawing together those same communities.

It has also been an opportunity to demonstrate the leadership within Camp Verde that was integral in moving everything onto the right track (tip of the hat to Town Manager Russ Martin). None of this has been much fun for everyone. It required a lot of perseverance to slice through the old hostilities to create a new idea of what community agreement could look like.

There have been times along the way when it seemed issues were insurmountable, and likely that will be the case again when discussions turn to roundabouts and fringe roads. But now the Verde Valley has learned through experience that it can get over major obstacles and make something mutually beneficial.

No one should forget that.

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