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Thu, March 21

Column: Declaration of PresCott independence

This is a declaration of independence. Prescott independence. The independence of a particular part of Prescott. The part that sees the future.

Independence from those who only look back, who only want to hold on to where they're at.

When the Israelites got tired of playing games with Pharaoh, they just up and took their independence into their own hands. When civil rights leaders got tired of asking for change, they took to the streets of the South, marching and bringing change some didn't want, but they knew it was the future.

This is not a declaration of war, or of secession. It's a declaration of moving forward.

And it has a name. "PresCott," with a capital "C" in the center for Creativity. And it's in the center for PresCott as a Center of Creativity.

Not that everything in PresCott's future has to be about creativity, but it is representative. It is at the core of all that moves us forward. The creativity of people who work out ways to live here, both who come here, and those who stay here, while they're in their working life, not waiting just to retire here. The creativity of people who see the challenges and see ways to meet them. Ways to have a flourishing economy despite being geographically isolated, and not having features that would normally draw industry. Who see that PresCott has other things, valuable things, to offer. The creativity of people who aren't afraid to look our water issues in the eye and see ways that PresCott can rise to the challenge of being smart about water, and thrive. Who see things like education not as a burden, but as a very worthwhile investment, for ourselves, and for those who come after.

Those who say taxes should be as low as possible have a point. That government shouldn't be wasteful, and management of it, careful. No denying that. But if you want to get from just getting by to flourishing, you can't do it just by being miserly. Carefulness is one thing. Miserliness is a sign of no vision.

Everyone here believes this is a special place, but you have to dig a little deeper to know who really gets it. Some think it's a great place, but only to retire in. Some think it's a great place, but economically fragile. That we have to be very careful and try to just hang on to what we have. Or that we have to go begging to traditional industries and offer give-aways. Any clean industry that's smart enough to move here is welcome, but we don't need to bribe the smart ones.

Then there are the people who really get that PresCott is special. That we have the golden goose. We have what millions of people around the country want. More and more live in a digital world where they can do their work from anywhere, move their businesses anywhere. They don't have to wait till they retire.

This is a declaration of spunk, and grit. Plenty of people retire here, and some contribute to the community wonderfully, but it's the people who create a way to be here while they're earning who build this area, who add something. This isn't Phoenix with job listings a mile long. Making a life here is a creative act in itself, and it takes tenacity. That kind of spirit, and that kind of creative effort, feeds on itself, replicates itself, creates opportunities for those already here. The more that spirit is a presence here, the more it acts as a mentorship to our own youth. There are thousands of similar people around the country who just haven't discovered us yet, who would love to be among tenacious, creative people, and add something of their own.

This isn't a declaration of war. The ranching communities around us are the core of our history. The long-time residents and the retirees who want to be part of a dynamic town, are a part of it, and have valuable experience to offer. But those who just want to hunker down and ride out what they've got, those who don't add to PresCott moving toward the potential that is ours to attain, they're going to see it passing them by.

A declaration of moving forward. To PresCott, a center of creativity, moving toward its potential. The future is rich in all of the things that the people of PresCott value.

Tom Cantlon is a local business owner and writer and can be reached at


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