More than 130 community members and area leaders attended the Sierra Vista Spotlight Breakfast today to hear how the City is striving to improve our community by carrying forward the strategic vision laid out by local voters and the City Council. This year’s theme was “Deepening Our Roots” and City leaders covered a variety of City initiatives and shared how efforts to improve the local economy are growing.
Assistant City Manager Victoria Yarbrough provided an update on the local economy, which appears to be bouncing back after the recession, and several initiatives that aim to improve conditions here.
These include a plan to redevelop corridors of Fry Boulevard and North Garden Avenue in the West End to improve walkability, aesthetics, and parking facilities. Yarbrough noted that while the City’s vacant commercial space is within the national average, most of the empty buildings are in the West End. That’s a big reason why the City is devoting significant attention to this area, through cleanups in recent years and new initiatives like the West Sierra Vista Partnership Program that provides matching grant dollars to folks who improve their commercial properties.
In its second year, the City’s Sierra Vista Sips & Skies saw significant growth at its Wine, Beer, & Spirits Festival and Sky Islands Summit Challenge. The City also offered a wine tasting tour as part of the weekend and saw that event sell out! These efforts promise to continue to bring more visitors to Sierra Vista and expand awareness of our extraordinary corner of Arizona.
City Manager Chuck Potucek shared updates on a variety of issues to include the recent Arizona Supreme Court decision concerning water adequacy that clears the way for major local developments, most notably Tribute, to move forward. This comes at an opportune time when Sierra Vista’s existing inventory of homes is moving much more quickly on the market, which could foster demand for new homes soon. The City remains committed to its long history of water conservation and augmentation in coordination with local partners and looks forward to supporting planned, sustainable growth in our community.
Potucek also highlighted a major partnership with the Sierra Vista Unified School District that will enable the City to lease and maintain school sports fields in need of some TLC. This will provide more fields for local residents to play on, while also building upon efforts to bring in more sports tournaments to the community as part of the City’s economic development plan.
Another major partnership just got off the ground after many years of planning, with the launch of the Southeastern Arizona Communications Center (SEACOM) less than a month ago. This regional communications center represents a combined effort of the City, Cochise County, Cochise County Sherriff’s Office, Sierra Vista Police Department, the Howard Buffet Foundation, and Governor Doug Ducey’s office. Potucek said it will improve emergency dispatching service throughout the region and will also help participating organizations realize operational efficiencies, especially as more agencies come on board.
Potucek noted that at a time of constrained budgets, due largely to ongoing expenses associated with the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, it is vital that the City continue to explore every opportunity to build partnerships that will stretch local tax dollars as far as they can reach.
Thank you to everyone who attended this year’s Spotlight Breakfast and continues to partner with the City of Sierra Vista as we strive to make our extraordinary community even better!