Cheers to Sedona’s Past, Present and Future
AS SEEN IN THE RED ROCK NEWS
January 10, 2020
Two significant – even historic – events defined economic progress this year: the Sedona City Council’s unanimous approval of the Sustainable Tourism Plan (STP) in March and the June start to the reconstruction of SR 89A through Uptown. Both will have long-lasting benefits for the community of Sedona.
The STP prioritizes our environment and quality of life alongside our economy while recognizing that we Sedonans are the real advocate to a change we call ‘The End of Tourism as We Know It’. We are focusing on travelers who share our values and want a deeper connection to nature and the environment, and visitors who want to help us keep Sedona the most beautiful place on Earth. The Sedona Cares Pledge is a wonderful example – nine sustainability commitments we ask travelers and locals to support, such as respect for our natural quiet and keeping trails clean. In 2020, our Sustainable Tourism Action Team (STAT) will continue to expand voluntourism, sustainable business certification programs, fundraising for trail maintenance and educating the hundreds of thousands of people who walk in or contact our Visitor Center each year.
We all know that construction is never easy, but we believe that the short-term pain will be worth the long-term gain. The planned improvements associated with Sedona In Motion will help with traffic flow, congestion and capacity. The SR 89A improvements will mitigate congestion with a new southbound lane, a roundabout at Art Barn Road, a southbound detour to Schnebly Road parking, a raised median to reduce left turns and uncontrolled pedestrian crossings, and the new roundabout at Jordan Road. The City continues to emphasize their vision to be a community animated by the arts and we look forward to seeing new public art in 2020. Thank you to those locals who supported our merchants during the holiday season and those of you who participated in Locals Nite Out. We hope to see many new faces at those events Wednesdays through February 12. In 2020, we plan to expand Locals Nite Out into West Sedona – so watch for those dates. You can sign up for the Local e-News at SedonaChamber.com to receive weekly information about news, events and discounts.
October’s expansion of the Verde Lynx program – now running until 10:30 p.m. five days a week with an added Sunday service – is a step in the right direction. It will take cars off the road while expanding Sedona employment opportunities for people in surrounding communities. Housing is also a priority and the Sedona Housing Assessment, which will include results from an employee survey.
We will see more progress in 2020. Construction is expected in late summer on a path beneath the Oak Creek Bridge at Tlaquepaque, easing one of our traffic chokepoints. Construction of the Forest Road extension is also expected in late summer. The new portion will connect with SR 89A west of the post office and include a shared-use bike/walk pathway.
The SR 89A Uptown improvements will be finished by summer, too.
The City Council and staff deserve our thanks for careful planning; our residents can be proud they spoke and their leaders listened, and we can all be grateful for the local merchants who provide employment, economic stability and vital tax revenues that keep Sedona going strong.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!