Chamber News: Big Park Encouraged to Respond to Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan 2032 Online Surveys | The Independent Green

I hope you had the opportunity during this busy holiday week to participate in the Yavapai County Global Plan on KYCA Radio on December 28th. Committee members and staff were on hand to answer questions and hear your ideas and I know how proactive our partner is, the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council has engaged everyone in the village on this, and you have still have the opportunity to be heard.

The Yavapai County Comprehensive Plan 2032 is a community vision of where to grow and what to protect over the next decade. Required by state law, the plan will include policies for land use, growing areas, transportation, water resources, environment and more.

If you missed the Community Vision radio show or survey earlier this year, you can take several surveys online at planningyavapai2032.org/surveys. You can even see the results so far. These public engagement opportunities are critical in helping county supervisors set our course over the next ten years, so please use your voice and be heard.

News from Maricopa County is about growth that will continue to put pressure on infrastructure in our area, adding to the urgency of getting the right county plan in place. Updated 2020 census data shows that Maricopa County’s official population in 2020 was 4.8 million, making it the fourth most populous county in all of the United States. Maricopa has grown by nearly 1.4 million people over the past ten years; no county in America added more people in the previous decade.

We’re on the brink of this population explosion, and the narrow, aging I-17 remains the only convenient transportation corridor between Phoenix and northern Arizona. Recognizing its increasingly dilapidated state, ADOT is launching a $446 million improvement project between Anthem and Sunset Point starting in the new year. The three-year rebuild will add new lanes in both directions along the 15-mile stretch from Anthem to Black Canyon City, and eight miles of new flex lanes from Black Canyon City to Sunset Point. The improvements are expected to reduce congestion, prevent backflows and improve emergency vehicle flow. But they will also make Red Rock County more accessible to residents of Maricopa County, our largest tourist food market. Obviously, we can expect a higher number of visits with social and environmental stress points.

In November, private jet maker Gulfstream announced it would build its $70 million West Coast maintenance and repair facility at Mesa Gateway Airport. As critical as the facilities and new jobs are, Maricopa County economic development officials are equally excited about the impact on business growth and tourism. The people who own and fly Gulfstream jets are usually high-level business leaders, and the Mesa facility will show Arizona to many more of them. As Gulfstream Chairman Burns pointed out, “people from all over the world will bring their planes here.” With our world-class vistas, outdoor recreation, upscale resorts and restaurants, in a community steeped in the arts, you can be sure Sedona will be on the itinerary of many of these travelers from high level.

These recent items – the census update, the I-17 project and the new Gulfstream facility in Mesa – underscore the enormous impact of developments in Maricopa County on our way of life and our economy and how important it is to prepare the Global Plan 2032 with intention. We need a thoughtful and innovative planning document, and I hope you will participate.

Finally, I want to wish you a very happy new year and tell you how delighted I am to share this column with you each month. Please share your thoughts on the issues we face together by emailing me at [email protected]

Melvin G. Rodriguez