12/27/2012 11:21:00 AM Clarkdale 2012: the year end, the year ahead
Mayor Doug Von Gausig: “Clarkdale is proud to be a leader in all of these efforts, and we will continue to work hard in the coming years to see that our town and the people of the Verde Valley continue to be blessed with the best quality of life, the best environmental health and the best wine anywhere in the country.”
CLARKDALE - "We've had a lot to be excited about in Clarkdale over the past year," said Town Manager Gayle Mabery.
Here is her recap of 2012.
"2012 was a year-long celebration of the Centennial of Clarkdale's founding," Mabery said. "Events were held throughout the year by the Town of Clarkdale, the Clarkdale Historical Society and Museum, and other organizations."
Those highlights included a celebration of Arizona and Clarkdale's Centennial at the Clarkdale-Jerome School on Feb. 14; the painting of the "C"; a Grande Fiesta in the Clarkdale Park; the town's signature Centennial event at the Town's Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration; the development and dedication of Centennial Plaza in front of the Clark Memorial Clubhouse on July 14; and the final event, the dedication of two Centennial Time Capsules which will be unearthed in 2057 (commemorating the Centennial of Clarkdale's incorporation) and 2112 (commemorating Clarkdale's Bicentennial.
"The Sustainable Clarkdale Initiative saw many successes in 2012, starting with the adoption of the 2012 Clarkdale General Plan," Mabery stated. "The General Plan, with the theme, Instilling a Culture of Sustainability in Clarkdale, was supported by Clarkdale voters in March, 2012 with 63 percent voter approval."
Clarkdale homeowners helped the town meet the Arizona Solar Challenge. By the end of this year, more than six percent of owner-occupied homes in town had either solar power or solar hot water heating installations.
"Clarkdale also kicked off a year-long effort in early 2012 to develop a Sustainable Economic Development Plan," Mabery said. "With support from APS, the citizen-driven Focused Future II Economic Development Plan will serve as a foundation for moving Clarkdale forward in years to come."
The Verde River @ Clarkdale, a signature Sustainable Clarkdale project, saw significant support and progress in 2012.
"The Town of Clarkdale entered an agreement with Arizona State Parks to jointly manage approximately 70 acres of river front property surrounding the Tuzigoot Bridge," Mabery explained. "The TuziRAP (Tuzigoot River Access Point) will provide an anchor location for public access along the 2.2 miles of Verde River located in Clarkdale."
Arizona Game and Fish Department awarded a $40,500 grant to Clarkdale for handicapped accessible improvements at the TuziRAP. American Rivers is facilitating an additional grant for trails and boat launch facilities on the Verde River @ Clarkdale.
In December 2012, the Town Council accepted a $420,496 grant from the Walton Family Foundation, with about half of that dedicated to the Verde River @ Clarkdale.
The town also started discussions with Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold in an effort to negotiate additional pubic access on the Verde River.
Mabery explained that 2012 provided signs of a slowly improving economy in Clarkdale, resulting in an ability to focus on some capital improvement projects that has been delayed during the past four years of recession.
"Grant funds allowed for the installation of sidewalks and solar powered street lights on Broadway from the Patio Park Subdivision to 3rd North Street, as well as energy efficiency upgrades for the Clark Memorial Clubhouse, Clark Memorial Library and Clarkdale Police Department," Mabery stated.
Two formerly defunct housing developments came back to life in 2012 in the Crossroads at Mingus Subdivision and the Mountain Gate Subdivision. Both are expected to be in a position to begin developing homes in 2013, and all indications are that the housing market in Clarkdale is ripe for them, according to Mabery.
Mayor Doug Von Gausig looks to 2013.
"The town has been extraordinarily blessed this year in so many ways, but nearest and dearest to my heart has been the amazing progress the town and the rest of the Verde Valley has made in assuring the health and sustainability of the Verde River," Von Gausig said. "In the last 12 months, Clarkdale has negotiated two cornerstone agreements that will form the foundation of a master plan of improved river access, recreation and education."
These agreements were with Arizona State Parks, who owns the Verde River Greenway property from Tuzigoot up to the Tuzigoot Bridge.
"But the exciting thing to me is that the river story isn't taking place just in Clarkdale," Von Gausig said. "In the last year people from Camp Verde to Clarkdale to Prescott have joined in an unprecedented alliance to work collaboratively on Verde River issues."
Von Gausig explained that organizations and dedicated people have worked to reduce invasive species, promote responsible recreational opportunities, improve access, organize events, educate the public, and work on water and river policy issues.
The goal of all of these is to bring the river to the people and the people to the river, so that we will all do what's necessary to ensure its health in the future.
"Ten years ago, when asked what the chances for the Verde River's survival was, I would have answered 'about 30 percent,'" Von Gausig said. "Today, I would give it a 70 percent chance of survival, and the figure is improving as we all work toward that goal."
Von Gausig says there is another very exciting thing happening in the Verde Valley, and that is the blossoming of a young wine industry.
"Fostered by Yavapai College and the Verde Valley Wine Consortium, this new economic boon will certainly become one of the most important things ever to happen in our valley," Von Gausig said. "And the really exciting thing is that people who travel here to experience great wines and winemaking are the same people who love rivers and river recreation."
He says this powerful synergy between wine and a healthy ecosystem will form the basis for a new and sustainable regional economy that benefits us all.
"Clarkdale is proud to be a leader in all of these efforts, and we will continue to work hard in the coming years to see that our town and the people of the Verde Valley continue to be blessed with the best quality of life, the best environmental health and the best wine anywhere in the country," Von Gausig said.