An open letter from Clifton Town Manager, Rudy Perez
I write this letter to you in my capacity as your town manager, at the direction of the Clifton Town Council. The purpose is to solicit your participation in a series of town hall meetings to help chart Clifton’s sustainable future.
As you know, the 2020 voter approved General Plan laid out ways to improve the quality of life and enable Clifton’s sustainability into the future. I am writing to ask for your participation and assistance in the implementation phase of the citizen reviewed and ratified plan.
If you will recall, a major part of the identification of town growth areas focused on the importance of the San Francisco River corridor planning area. The plan highlighted the unique opportunity we have to establish an integrated system of regional trails,watercourses, ecotourism, and recreation areas that support Clifton’s healthy and active lifestyles to increase our quality of life. More people staying, and playing, in Clifton increases options for provision of goods, services, and other business ventures to provide quality jobs and underwrite municipal services.
Clifton has long supported a vibrant tourism industry. The non-profit Greenlee County Tourism Council operates to assist in fulfilling that goal. Since it was awarded a Freeport-McMoRan community involvement grant, the Council has endeavored to move forward in attainment of these goals. Members of the Tourism Council are well-aware of the pitfalls of operating in a vacuum. They believe it is only through the unified effort of all Clifton residents that a worthy vision for the future can be attained.
The outdoor recreation economy is one of the largest sectors in the United States, estimated at $374.3 billion in 2020. However, the sector has a history of variable outcomes. Under local control it can have a powerful positive impact. By not acting, we run the risk of powerful forces generating wealth for primarily outside investors, providing mostly low-wage and seasonal employment for local people. These actions historically place unsustainable pressure on local resources and systems such as housing, transportation and the environment.
Looking at other Arizona (and regional) communities provides a model and ability to gain insight from their lessons learned. Clifton’s, and the San Francisco River’s future are forever intertwined. If we,who best know the river, fail to act, those with great resources will seize the opportunity.