Piacenza: Prescott is where the action is
To the casual visitor, Prescott may seem to be “a quiet little town.” On closer observation though, it’s a busy place.
All the milestones of life are being celebrated on a regular basis: graduations, engagements, marriages, births and anniversaries populate the pages of the newspaper. Country music, blue grass, rock bands, jazz and symphony performances testify to the diversity of tastes that all run into the love of music. Holidays are celebrated with gusto, with traditional parades, pub crawls and children’s choirs.
There are small knots of dedicated folks who stand on opposite sides of the street around the courthouse plaza holding signs declaring close-held opinions and beliefs. There are afflictions of poverty, drug abuse, violence and natural disasters that professional first responders, determined volunteers and nonprofit organizations work year-round to ease and prevent.
Prescott attracts its fair share of retirees and yet it’s a center of activity. Bikers roar into town in their leathers, perhaps with a little gray emerging from under their bandanas. Making art, usually a solo process, becomes a beehive of activity at the Phippen Museum’s painting competition and art auction on the courthouse steps. Marathons, bicycle races, and boot races draw the very strong and the very young and enthusiastic audiences. Beer and wine tastings dot the calendar along with celebrations of leadership, good teachers and inspiring adoptive parents. Young people can find positive role models, encouragement and rewarding activities; those who fall into harmful pastimes find support and second chances.
Any town whose library is called “Prescott’s living room” is on the right track. Exploration isn’t limited to Prescott’s expansive network of hiking trails and vistas — it includes big concepts and worthy ideas. Social justice and building a peaceful world are also part of Prescott, where presentations, marches and educational sessions help broaden and deepen understanding of the world. What better symbol than the original Carnegie library building, a historical and architectural gem commemorating philanthropy in the cause of educating one and all?
There are many sources and wellsprings of action in Prescott. Respect for the law, property rights and human dignity. The promptings of faith, of comradery, of mutual pleasures and appreciations. Both talent and undeniable passion are part of what makes Prescott what it is today. A prime example, Elisabeth Ruffner not only helped preserve what is beautiful (Prescott’s historic buildings) but, in the tradition of Sharlot Hall, created a solid awareness of the city’s past from which it can consider an appropriate future.
To imagine a Prescott without Granite Mountain, Thumb Butte, its lakes (Lynx, Goldwater, Watson and Willow) or the Prescott National Forest would be to strip away its past just as much as destroying its historical buildings would be. There’s something of the eternal in our geography, something that all our predecessors — native Americans, explorers, military men, miners, farmers, barkeeps, ladies of the night, outlaws, sheriffs, judges and territorial governors — stood and admired just as we do today.
Of course the essential setting for the gem of Prescott includes the Granite Dells. This week the City Council will vote on whether annexation must include preservation of 500 acres of this part of our history and identity. Now each of us has a chance to draw from our own wellspring of motivations to act.
Whether it’s affection for Prescott’s culture, wishing to balance change and continuity, passion for nature or belief in grassroots action, now is the time to act. Go to savethedells.org and click on “Call to Action.” You’ll find information on contacting our city council members and on gathering at City Hall on the day of the vote.