Ayers talks town's economic future


The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

After a year on the job, Camp Verde Economic Development Director Steve Ayers gave an account of his accomplishments to the Camp Verde Town Council last week, as well as a view of what projects are on the table for the future.

While Ayers said that he had been asked to talk about his accomplishments, he said that he is a "department of one."

"Everything requires partnerships," Ayers said.

That being the case, Ayers said he was proud of what has been accomplished.

One of the biggest events that opens the future of economic development in Camp Verde is the securing of a deal with the Arizona Department of Transportation to widen State Route 260 all the way between Interstate 17 and Cottonwood.

An effort was made several years ago but fell apart when landowners along the corridor couldn't agree on access points.

Ayers said that the private property owners didn't want to pass up this new chance for highway expansion.

"It was a narrow window," Ayers told the council.

That issue has since been resolved. The town also hired a lobbyist who had worked closely with ADOT in the past to help secure the $66 million deal.

Ayers said construction is expected to begin on the highway expansion in 2016.

"I can't emphasize what that means," Ayers said. "There's a great deal of anticipation."

Ayers also pointed to the recent plans for Verde Valley Medical Center to expand in Camp Verde on a piece of land it purchased a few years ago at the corner of Finnie Flat Road and State Route 260.

Plans haven't been finalized but Ayers said the new building will include expanded lab facilities and other medical services to help meet the needs of people on this end of the Verde Valley.

"We didn't get everything we wanted but we got what we needed," Ayers said.

Ayers said he expected construction to begin next year.

The hospital will also help extend the sewer line out to that area, Ayers said, across land originally set aside for a housing development back before the economy went south.

An investment in infrastructure will also be critical for the town, Ayers said, as sewer lines will have to eventually be extended along the State Route 260 corridor.

The voters recently approved having the towntake control of the Camp Verde Sanitary District, which was established before the town incorporated.

Councilwoman Robin Whatley said she was actually surprised by the vote but was glad the measure passed.

"It's important for the town to control sanitary district," Whatley said. "I think that's going to be key to anything going on 260.1 commend the citizens for having the foresight to let the town take that over."

There have also been preliminary talks with ADOT to extend broadband access alom the corridor as well.

While ADOT isn't obligated to pay for tlat, it can provide the means and it's likely that froad-band providers would work to see access eventually extended.

Visitor numbers have also been on the rise at the Camp Verde Visitor Center, Ayers said, since it moved to the old school building on Main Street.

The move allowed the Camp Verde Historical Society to be open far more often.

The town has also been promoting a redesigned tourism website.

Ayers said that the amount of money spent on efforts like these has been less than back when the town paid the Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce to promote the town a few years ago.

"Everything requires partnerships."

Steve Ayers

Camp Verde Economic Development Director

Copyright 2014 The Camp Verde Journal, Camp Verde, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Read Full Article at Camp Verde Journal&pid=89&catid=9&catname=Economy