It is the Outcome, Not the Process
Sedona AZ (February 25, 2014) – I would be the first to admit that the excruciatingly slow pace of government progress makes me crazy. As a businessman, I know that if decisions took as long to implement in private business as they do in government, businesses would not be able to survive.
After serving in the Sedona government for eight years, I have come to realize that the slow pace of government is not necessarily because of the inefficiency of the structure of city administration. Instead, it has to do with the inherent process of a democratic government. Issues and decisions must be vetted at numerous levels before action can be taken. In many cases, a proposed action or idea must be considered and approved in different phases by staff, commissions or committees, the city council, and the general public. Sometimes, a study must be done by professional consultants. The timing of this process may take months or possibly years. The final decision should always be a majority consensus in each of these groups.
All that being said, there are a number of projects and initiatives that have been working their way through the process for quite some time that have a strong likelihood of becoming reality in 2014. I will give a brief synopsis of each one.
- BARBARA’S PARK OUTDOOR PERFORMANCE VENUE – The community vision for this venue has been ongoing for over a decade. After numerous challenges and modifications, a competitive design process was initiated by the City. On Thursday, February 20, three architects presented their concepts at a public meeting at the Sedona Public Library. Citizen input will be solicited for 30 days until March 20. It is anticipated that a winning design will be selected and final approval by the City Council will occur in early May 2014. The design will then move forward to the engineering and construction phase. It is conceivable that construction will begin in late 2014 or early 2015. Funding has already been approved by the City Council.
- ART AT THE SCHNEBLY HILL ROUNDABOUT – Three finalists were selected by the former Arts and Culture Commission. Public viewings and choices took place February 10 through February 14. An Art Selection Work Group will consider all of the collected opinions in their final selection of the artist. It is anticipated that a contract for the creation of the art will be awarded by the end of March. The selected artist will have a maximum of one year to complete the project.
- HEART OF SEDONA – A community gathering place or Heart of Sedona has been a subject of discussion in Sedona for more than a decade. The City of Sedona has negotiated a purchase contract for approximately 3.5 acres of the former Forest Service Headquarters on Brewer Road. This specific property has been historically identified as a preferred location for a community gathering place. Due diligence is scheduled to be completed in early March. Upon approval of the due diligence findings, the sale could be consummated shortly thereafter. A public process would then be initiated to consider and plan future development opportunities for a community gathering place.
- VERDE LYNX TRANSIT SHELTERS – Five transit shelters are scheduled to be installed along SR 89A sometime after July 2014. The transit shelters are an important and integral component of the public transit system that is being developed that will eventually link four of the five municipalities in the Verde Valley.
- CULTURAL PARK – The City staff has begun the process of reviewing conceptual development proposals that have been submitted by the owners of the Cultural Park property. The Cultural Park owners are also working with the administration of Yavapai College to address the future development of the Yavapai College campus. Both entities have been closely monitoring the Community Plan Update and are awaiting the outcome of the public vote before moving forward with any specific proposals.
As many of you are aware, most of the projects that I have mentioned have been the subject of controversy and debate for years. Getting things done in Sedona is often a painful process. We turn over every rock. We argue and debate. We delay and modify. Eventually, we arrive at an outcome that is well thought out and unique for Sedona. During this process, I keep reminding myself, “It is not the process, it is the outcome…. God grant us all the patience to persevere through the process.”
The thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts and opinions of the staff or City Council of the City of Sedona.