Events are Moving Swiftly



May 29, 2020

img_5870-1200x750Events are moving swiftly. Issues such as government spending and economic recovery rightfully dominate the headlines, but crucial local developments are happening just below the radar. Here are just three.

Local nonprofit and civic groups are performing brilliantly.

Red Rock News recently reported 22 local nonprofits received $189,000 in grants from the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona. All of them have been at the top of their game during the pandemic. Bread of Life President Jeremy Embry reports helping feed 1500 people a week while turning no one away. We hear similar stories from agencies that care for the elderly and veterans, house the needy, offer humane care for distressed animals, provide early childhood education, employment assistance and more. They have aided thousands in distress who have nowhere else to turn.

Civic groups from the Rotary Club of the Verde Valley to Sedona AZ Detachment 1237 Marine Corps League have been fundraising champions, contributing the money distributed for ACF Sedona. And service comes in other forms. The Sedona Lodging Council is donating upscale resort rooms as a respite for more than 150 front-line workers at Ace Hardware and local supermarkets this summer.

These groups are Sedona’s heart and soul. We owe them our gratitude and support.

Local elected officials bear a heavy responsibility

The City Council deserves our appreciation as they wrestle with budget headaches this year. With millions in tax revenue suddenly evaporating as visitors disappeared from Sedona, and with the prospect of a moderately slow recovery in tourism-based revenues ahead, our mayor and council must make decisions that will not be popular with everyone.

Times like these demonstrate that local elected office is a genuine community service and a heavy responsibility. As they take on the challenge of managing a depleted budget while safely reviving the economy, we are fortunate the council can rely on years of collective wisdom and experience in setting wise, prudent municipal policy. They deserve our respect.

Yavapai and Coconino County leaders face a similarly daunting task, with revenues declining and unprecedented pressure to provide health and unemployment services. We are confident they, too, will provide the leadership the moment demands.

Visitor education is critical to sustainable tourism.

The Sedona|Safe.Clean.Ready campaign has been a great success with more than 220 businesses signing on. Sedonans are checking to see participating stores and review the eight safety practices recommended for shoppers.

Just as important, our message of personal responsibility is resonating with potential travelers. We are putting the message front and center on posters distributed to local businesses and emphasizing the eight safety practices in our traveler outreach.

The response has been rewarding. Travelers are thanking Sedona for making visitor responsibility a part of our message. They respect us for it and agree on its importance.

This bodes well for sustainable tourism, which emphasizes visitor responsibility in energy and water conservation, respect for our environment and neighborhoods, stewardship principles, supporting local merchants and more.

As we carefully steer our tourism industry toward revitalization with the help of our recovery task force and city leaders, achieving sustainability goals remains mission critical. It is heartening to know that visitors are already receptive to suggestions for doing their part to keep Sedona safe and, in the future, sustainable.

–Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO