Column: Time to act on region’s big project
Throughout my campaign, I emphasized that we live in a unique and vibrant community. The air is clean, the sky is blue, our surroundings are serene, and those that live here are filled with energy, optimism, and kindness. There is no mystery as to why our community is on everyone’s ‘best places to live’ list. It is why all of us chose to live in Prescott. My goal as Mayor is to preserve this reality of Prescott while at the same time enhancing its appeal.
To accomplish that vision, we must stop thinking about the next election and begin thinking about the next generation. The key to our long-term success as a community is to control our future through strategic cooperation with our neighboring communities. What do I mean by that?
For too many years, our communities have viewed their neighbors as competitors — competitors for new businesses, for tax revenue, and even “favor” from state and federal agencies. This mindset sees the municipal revenue “pie” as fixed in size – if you win, then I must lose. What we need is a mindset that visualizes a bigger “pie,” creating benefits for everyone.
If we are to secure the future for generations to come we have to adopt this cooperative attitude; if for no other reason than the fact that two of our most valuable assets cannot be optimized without that spirit of cooperation. The two resources I am referring to are the Big Chino Water Ranch and the Prescott Municipal Airport.
We may not need more water in the near future, but someday our communities might need to tap into our allotment of water in the Big Chino Aquifer. And that will never happen if we do not plan strategically and work closely with Prescott Valley and our other neighbors.
The Prescott Municipal Airport is probably the greatest underutilized resource that the City of Prescott owns. Our municipal airport will never become the Prescott Regional Airport unless we seek the cooperation and support of our neighboring communities and Yavapai County. Only then can we engage in airport development that will lengthen our runway, build a new and modern terminal, and gain the support of the federal government. This concept has been discussed for decades – the time for talking is over; it is time to act.
While I am on the subject of cooperation, I believe we should feel pride when one of our neighboring towns is successful in attracting a new business or upgrading a city service. The hard work of the private business person and the dynamics of the market determines where a new business will locate – it is rarely determined by the local city government. There is a reason why Chick-fil-A chose to locate in Prescott Valley and why Trader’s Joe decided to open in Prescott. Our bordering communities are our neighbors, not our competitors. By working together we can preserve what we love most about our communities while securing the future for generations to come.
Greg Mengarelli is mayor of Prescott.