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Revitalization effort aims to make Granite Creek corridor more inviting

The public had a chance to offer feedback on the Granite Creek corridor master-planning process at an open house at the Founding Fathers site on Wednesday, June 26. The process is intended to come up with ways to make the creek corridor in downtown Prescott more inviting. (City of Prescott/Courtesy)

The public had a chance to offer feedback on the Granite Creek corridor master-planning process at an open house at the Founding Fathers site on Wednesday, June 26. The process is intended to come up with ways to make the creek corridor in downtown Prescott more inviting. (City of Prescott/Courtesy)

The community perception continues: The Granite Creek corridor is “dirty” and “unsafe.”

That opinion was reinforced recently through an online survey being done in conjunction with a creek revitalization plan.

The City of Prescott conducted two public meetings this week to get feedback from the community on how to improve the conditions of the creek that runs through downtown Prescott.

Dozens of people turned out for each of the meetings — one of which was for business and property owners, and another for the general public.

During the first meeting on Monday, June 24, several of the audience members mentioned concerns about safety. One owner of a vacation rental said, “I don’t feel comfortable telling our guests they can walk down there.”

In conjunction with the meetings, the city asked the public to participate in an online survey on whether they use the Granite Creek corridor, and if not, why?

Tyler Goodman, assistant to the city manager, reported this week that more than 550 people had responded to the survey.

Of the total respondents, nearly 30 percent said they did not use the Granite Creek corridor. And on the question “If you don’t utilize the corridor, why not?” nearly 40 percent said they consider the area unsafe, while another nearly 30 percent said the area is dirty.

Overwhelmingly, the respondents said they would use the corridor more if it were revitalized.

For years, a network of Greenways Trails has been in place along portions of the creek in downtown Prescott.

A city committee has been working since last summer on ways to improve the area and make it more inviting to visitors and local residents.

Kristy Everson, chair of the Granite Creek Corridor Revitalization Committee, told the crowd on Monday that committee members are excited about the possibilities that exist for improving the creek.

As a part of the revitalization process, the city applied for and received a $79,401 grant from the Arizona Water Protection Fund to pay for a master plan for the corridor. The planning process kicked off this past spring.

The aim of the master plan is to create a guide for implementing “substantive changes to the corridor.”

Goodman said the planning process is now well underway, and should be complete by the end of 2019.

The Natural Channel Design firm is doing many of the planning tasks for the city, and will be compiling the final master plan. Getting feedback from the public was among the required tasks. This week’s meetings and the online survey were conducted to follow through on that task.

While the survey respondents mentioned plenty of positive aspects of the corridor — calling it a “shady running trail,” “quaint” and “beautiful nature scenery” — other comments mentioned that “transients make it unsafe,” and that “druggies and vagrants” and “garbage” were present.

Audience members suggested the need for better lighting, a more continuous flow of water in the creek, better signage, and regular cleanups.

Prescott Mayor Pro Tem Billie Orr told the audience that the city’s bed tax, which is generated through a tax on lodging customers, could be used for corridor improvements. “I think the city is committed to this,” she said.

Another public meeting is being scheduled for September, Goodman said.

The complete survey results are available online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/stories/SM-QMQGQVDV/.

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