Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Mon, July 15

Tribe has many plans for new year

PRESCOTT – The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe plans to start construction this year on a second building that will be part of a campus of services for its members.

The tribe's plans for 2004 also include a variety of cultural events, and possibly the start of construction on a new road connecting Highway 69 at the Frontier Village shopping center with Highway 89 near Sundog Ranch Road.

The tribe dedicated a new Community Gathering Center for social events next to its old administrative building on Merritt Avenue in May 2002.

The board of directors is inviting members to meetings later this month to hear what uses members would like to have in the next building at the campus. They hope to start construction by December.

Ideas include a library, tribal court, and centers for learning, after-school programs, elder care, wellness promotion and recreation. Some of the uses could be combined into one building.

"They're all important to us," said Yavapai-Prescott Tribe President Ernie Jones Sr.

Since education is important to the tribe, leaders are talking with Northern Arizona University officials about conducting summer computer classes on the reservation, for example.

Tribal children attend Prescott schools, and tribal members visit the schools on occasion to tell students about Yavapai history.

Construction on the tribal connector road could start within 12 to 18 months, Jones said. It's been in the works for years.

The tribe is coordinating its connector plans closely with the City of Prescott and the Arizona Department of Transportation.

When ADOT rebuilds the intersection of highways 69 and 89, it hopes to eventually direct southbound Highway 89 traffic moving onto Highway 69 off to the connector, in order to make the transition smoother than it is now.

The traffic interchange at Highway 89 near Sundog Ranch Road will help the tribe with its plan to lease commercial space on nearby vacant land, Jones said. The tribe recently completed cleaning up the site after a former lessee left it contaminated with toxic products.

Tribal leaders are seeking ideas from members about what to do with that vacant land, Jones said.

The tribe also is seeking members' ideas about what to do with a vacant commercial site along Highway 69 that contractors leveled, using dirt from the new Wal-Mart superstore.

That site will help flatten out the future connector interchange at Highway 69, too, Jones said.

Finding a new use for the vacant Wal-Mart across Highway 69 at the tribe's Frontier Village will be up to shopping center developer Bill Grace, Jones said.

Jones said he doesn't have any hard feelings against Prescott for attracting the Wal-Mart superstore that forced the smaller Wal-Mart on tribal land to close.

"They've got to make a living, and we've got to make a living," Jones said.

The city and tribe need each other, he added. The tribe gets its water and some other governmental services from the city.

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