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Fri, Sept. 20

What brand should Chino Valley have?

How does Chino Valley grow and protect the grand vistas residents can enjoy from their homes? What brand - ranching, farming, horses, state's original capital or railroading - would fit Chino Valley?

Members of the Chino Valley Mayor's Ad Hoc Economic Development Committee tackled these questions Tuesday.

Town Manager Jerry Stricklin said they need to tie the town's rural character and heritage together. First, he said, the town must come to grips with its infrastructure. "We currently don't have the infrastructure - streets, water and sewer - for commercial or industrial prospects trying to come here," he said, "and can't afford to throw a lot of money at infrastructure."

Stricklin then urged the committee members to drive around Chino Valley and let him know what they see visually.

Olsen's Grain store illustrates the old ranch look, and while the Northern Arizona Tumor Institute and Headington's Plaza are attractive additions, they may not convey the heritage of the community, he said.

Stricklin then showed the committee what Wickenburg was able to do. After updating the general plan and switching the main corner lot from a service station to a town park with landscaping, sculptures and benches, the property owners adjacent to it worked with the town to redo their buildings to fit in with Wickenburg's new look.

Building owners tore down wood facades and upgraded the original brick facade, he said.

The town, Stricklin said, got existing businesses to buy in on the new look when they expanded their buildings. In this way, the town grew with a common architectural theme, he said.

For Chino Valley, he said, the key is to have the process in place when the economy turns around.

As to a common architectural theme for Chino Valley, Ab Jackson, Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce's chief executive officer, said he likes the High Plains Adventure theme.

Stricklin said Olsen's Grain store fits in with that theme.

If the town wants to use the High Plains Adventure theme, he said, they must redo the town's logo.

Charlie Arnold, Bright Star's operations manager, said the town needs to rework its general plan because it "prohibits us from moving forward."

The general plan, he said, outlines the basis on which the town is to grow, so now is the time to change it.

Mayor Karen Fann then asked what Chino Valley has that brings people here.

Dan Main said, "Its country views."

Fann said, "Whatever we do, we've got to protect our viewsheds."

She then asked, "Where is our niche? What do we want to be known for?"

Mike Tobey asked, "Do we want to become a tourist destination?"

Jody Zito asked what the town is going to do to draw people past Prescott and Prescott Valley.

Stricklin said, "We've got to look at what we have. We might look at getting 10 Western stores in an architecturally designed complex. I bet people would start to come to see what the stores have to offer."

Fann reminded the committee members that Chino Valley has a great reputation around the state. "I hear nothing but good things about it when traveling," she said.

Stricklin said the community has great vistas. Unfortunately, no one thought about what goes along the highway. The buildings need to blend with the vistas, he said.

Tobey said the chain link fences in front of businesses don't send a good message to visitors.

Jackson said, "A lot of people are looking to come up this way if we keep it friendly."

Fann said a direction must be set for Chino Valley or it will end up like other towns that developed before they set a direction. Town Engineer Ron Grittman said Chino Valley could end up like another Flagstaff with development strung out through town along old Route 66.

Stricklin said David Nicolella, assistant planner, will bring the economic development section of the general plan to the committee at its next meeting for it to review and adjust.

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