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  #21  
Old Posted Nov 14, 2009, 6:20 PM
kaneui kaneui is offline
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With basically one way in and out, there are no easy answers for winter traffic congestion at the Snowbowl and adjacent snowplay areas:



Cars cram the parking lot at the Wing Mountain snow play area off Highway 180 last winter.
(photo: Jake Bacon)


Winter gridlock a worry
Officials propose posting signs, broadcasting warnings and giving tourists maps with alternate routes through Flagstaff.

By LARRY HENDRICKS
Arizona Daily Sun
November 14, 2009

What can be done to turn a winter traffic nightmare into just a fitful dream? More than 30 people met this week to begin coming up with a unified emergency plan to deal with traffic congestion through town to the Highway 180 corridor where tourists come to play in the snow. The best answer is trying to direct motorists to different routes through the city during snowy weekends until alternative snowplay areas on different roads can be developed. "We don't have the infrastructure to totally alleviate the problem," said Chief Deputy Jim Driscoll of the Coconino County Sheriff's Office. But, he added, if government and law enforcement agencies in the area work together, they might be able to manage the traffic to a point where tourists and residents alike won't have to wait three to four hours in traffic to get through town.

Last year, Driscoll said Highway 180, a two-lane highway meant to handle about 1,000 vehicles an hour during peak travel times, was having up to 5,000 estimated vehicles on it filled with people wanting to play in the snow. "This has been a long-term problem that we've been dealing with," said Lt. Jim Gerard of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Four of the region's snowplay areas are along the Highway 180 corridor -- Arizona Snowbowl, Nordic Center and Wing Mountain and Crowley Pit sledding parks. Combined, they have a total of about 2,000 parking spaces. That leaves about 3,000 more vehicles left to park along the side of a road that has a speed limit of 55 mph. Families play -- even have tailgate parties -- precariously close to the road, said Sheriff Bill Pribil. A "perfect storm" for disaster, Gerard added.

Driscoll estimated that the congestion is mainly limited to holiday weekends after big snowfalls - perhaps 20 days a year at most. But during those times, the congestion through the city on Humphreys and Milton, already heavy during peak travel times, frustrates tourists and residents alike when the roads become bumper-to-bumper parking lots. Complicating matters, Gerard said, are the budget problems facing all agencies in the state. Staffing is not adequate to put people in the field to manage the traffic congestion along the highway. For DPS, the main focus is on Interstates 17 and 40. Highway 180 takes a back seat during snowy conditions. Lt. Ken Koch of the Flagstaff Police Department said alternatives to having officers managing traffic at intersections is necessary -- for instance, signs directing people away from Humphreys Street and South Milton Road to the Butler or Country Club exits.

The group discussed putting roadblocks on Highway 180 to manage incoming and outgoing traffic, but Gerard said such a measure would only move the congestion closer to the city. Signs to alternative routes will likely not be as effective as hoped because tourists on their way home generally only know one route to get home and will be uncomfortable taking an alternate route. Maps with directions for the alternative routes could be handed out at the snowplay areas, suggested J.R. Murray of the Arizona Snowbowl. The Visitor Center could be a repository of information about snowplay areas and alternatives for tourists coming into town. Karen Malis-Clark of the U.S. Forest Service said renting a low-wattage AM radio frequency for the winter months would allow agencies to inform tourists coming into the city of any congestion problems on Highway 180 and even direct them to alternative sites to play in the snow. Also possible would be to bus people to the area, but the feasibility of doing so hasn't been explored. Murray and Pribil both stressed that tourists shouldn't be deterred from coming to Flagstaff to play in the snow because many businesses depend on the commerce during the winter months.

What would fix the problem, the group discussed, would be alternative snowplay areas on different roads -- off Lake Mary Road, or Highway 89A. Additionally, more lanes on Highway 180, or an alternative route to the snowplay areas already established, would help. But those options require governmental action, the group concluded. Recently, the Flagstaff City Council decided to not move forward with a proposed snowplay area on the east side of the city at Country Club Drive on North Highway 89. A detention basin in the area became an impromptu snowplay area for people last winter. Parking issues soon arose and began to affect residents' quality of life. The Council decided to fence the area off to prevent people from using the basin as a snowplay area.
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  #22  
Old Posted Nov 15, 2009, 12:15 AM
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Once a bustling commercial center in the 1960's and 70's, N. Fourth St. in east Flagstaff is looking to come alive again with new businesses and a city redevelopment plan in the works:


North Fourth Street in Midst of Renovations, Reinvestment
Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce newsletter
November, 2009

The North Fourth Street commercial corridor is going through something of a renaissance. Several businesses have opened or relocated to the East Side thoroughfare in the past year. A police office opened in one of the strip malls in July, giving law enforcement an increased presence. Consultants studying plans on renovating the area will release their first draft report in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, a steering committee of business and property owners has begun meeting to determine if a Property & Business Improvement District (PBID) should be established in the area. Flagstaff City Council Member Coral Evans, who head the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, says the increased interest in Fourth Street can be attributed in part to the opening of the Fourth Street overpass three years ago. "People now come through Fourth Street on a daily basis," said Evans. "They can see the possibilities. The possibilities are huge."

One store that captured those possibilities is Odegaard's Sewing Center, which moved from the corner of Beaver Street and Aspen downtown to Fourth Street this past year. "I think it's great here - the people are great and the location is great," said owner Van Odegaard, who was able to almost double his space from 2,700-square-feet to about 5,000 with the move. Additionally, he said, he has more parking at the Fourth Street location, and it's easier for customers - particularly those from out of town - to find his store without having to wind through one-way streets. Stan Pierce, vice president and general manager of KOLT Country/The Canyon/The Wolf, also cited more space and better parking when talking about the radio station's move earlier this year to Fourth Street. "We felt that side of town was growing," he said, "and we wanted to be one of the anchors in that growth."

New businesses were not all the changes that 2009 brought to Fourth Street. In July, residences and businesses welcomed the addition of a police office on the strip. The office is not a substation - it's not manned - but according to Sgt. Matt Wright, it has a call box, and serves as a location for police officers to type reports and use the telephone instead of going back to downtown. "The store front is not about having police officers sitting there," said Evans, "but you see them all the time now, on bike or on foot all over the area. It keeps them here instead of going to Sawmill Drive." Evans also noted that one of the immediate benefits after the office opened in July was the dramatic decrease of so-called "street alcoholics" loitering by Fourth Street businesses.

Other changes on tap for Fourth Street include the first draft of a report by design consultant Otak on Fourth Street redevelopment. City Architect Karl Eberhard said the study actually synthesizes previous reports on the area done in past years, such as the East Flagstaff Focus Future 2009 and the Sunnyside/Fourth Street study. "They were primarily policy documents, not concrete plans," said Eberhard, who added the Otak report would have more specific recommendations of what changes should be made on Fourth Street. The first review of the Otak recommendations will occur later this month or in early December, Eberhard said.

Additionally, a steering committee begins meeting this month to determine if the corridor should become a Property & Business Improvement District.
If the property and business owners on the street decide to form a PBID, it could levy a fee to contract for services or capital improvements not being provided by the city. Evans said that examples of these improvements could be enhancing beautification efforts, event planning, strategic planning, business retention efforts and working on filling vacant properties in the corridor.
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  #23  
Old Posted Nov 20, 2009, 12:19 AM
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2010 will see construction begin on the new $24M Catholic campus on McMillan Mesa, and just maybe...the train horns will be silenced:


City Hall notebook: Quiet zones to come sometime in 2010
By JOE FERGUSON
Arizona Daily Sun
November 19, 2009

Wondering when exactly the city of Flagstaff will be able to silence the horns of passing trains at the city's five at-grade crossings? Well, the city isn't going to tell you -- other than to say it won't be this year. The closest to a prediction the city will offer is 2010. With the city missing several deadlines over the last few years, City Manager Kevin Burke said he will not offer any new predictions, choosing instead to update the public as each individual step of the process is completed.

Construction has been delayed over the years for a number of reasons, including delays by BNSF, a stop work order from the Arizona Corporation Commission and reconsideration of Quiet Zone solutions by the Flagstaff City Council. The latest step in the process was accomplished earlier this week when the city hired a contractor to complete the city's portion of the construction work.

New Catholic Church approved unanimously

The proposed new Catholic Church and school to be built on McMillan Mesa was unanimously approved by the Flagstaff City Council Tuesday night, despite legal threats from resident Dan Frazier. The Council approved a plan that will allow the San Francisco de Asis Parish to rezone 28 of the 107 acres it owns on the southern toe of McMillan Mesa above the intersection of Route 66 and Enterprise Boulevard. Plans call for a 1,500-seat church, a two-story school, a 375-space parking lot and playing fields.

The Council heard again from Frazier, who has previously asked the Council to reject the rezoning request on the grounds that the city violated public notice requirements in advertising the rezoning hearing. Frazier wants the city to restart the public process, which likely would only serve to delay the plans by a few weeks in light of the unanimous approval. Frazier publicly asked for legal help during his comments to the Council, saying he hasn't been able to find a lawyer willing to take the case. He said, however, he was willing to represent himself if it came to that. He passed out a draft copy of a potential lawsuit he said he is prepared to file. Frazier also left open the door to mediation between himself and the city, saying he would wait until the end of the month before filing the lawsuit. Frazier recently announced his intention to run for one of the three seats on the City Council next year.
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  #24  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2009, 12:11 AM
Buckeye Native 001 Buckeye Native 001 is online now
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I dunno, you learn to tune out the train noise after a while.
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  #25  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2009, 3:42 AM
Buckeye Native 001 Buckeye Native 001 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneui View Post
Once a bustling commercial center in the 1960's and 70's, N. Fourth St. in east Flagstaff is looking to come alive again with new businesses and a city redevelopment plan in the works:


North Fourth Street in Midst of Renovations, Reinvestment
Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce newsletter
November, 2009

The North Fourth Street commercial corridor is going through something of a renaissance. Several businesses have opened or relocated to the East Side thoroughfare in the past year. A police office opened in one of the strip malls in July, giving law enforcement an increased presence. Consultants studying plans on renovating the area will release their first draft report in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, a steering committee of business and property owners has begun meeting to determine if a Property & Business Improvement District (PBID) should be established in the area. Flagstaff City Council Member Coral Evans, who head the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, says the increased interest in Fourth Street can be attributed in part to the opening of the Fourth Street overpass three years ago. "People now come through Fourth Street on a daily basis," said Evans. "They can see the possibilities. The possibilities are huge."

One store that captured those possibilities is Odegaard's Sewing Center, which moved from the corner of Beaver Street and Aspen downtown to Fourth Street this past year. "I think it's great here - the people are great and the location is great," said owner Van Odegaard, who was able to almost double his space from 2,700-square-feet to about 5,000 with the move. Additionally, he said, he has more parking at the Fourth Street location, and it's easier for customers - particularly those from out of town - to find his store without having to wind through one-way streets. Stan Pierce, vice president and general manager of KOLT Country/The Canyon/The Wolf, also cited more space and better parking when talking about the radio station's move earlier this year to Fourth Street. "We felt that side of town was growing," he said, "and we wanted to be one of the anchors in that growth."

New businesses were not all the changes that 2009 brought to Fourth Street. In July, residences and businesses welcomed the addition of a police office on the strip. The office is not a substation - it's not manned - but according to Sgt. Matt Wright, it has a call box, and serves as a location for police officers to type reports and use the telephone instead of going back to downtown. "The store front is not about having police officers sitting there," said Evans, "but you see them all the time now, on bike or on foot all over the area. It keeps them here instead of going to Sawmill Drive." Evans also noted that one of the immediate benefits after the office opened in July was the dramatic decrease of so-called "street alcoholics" loitering by Fourth Street businesses.

Other changes on tap for Fourth Street include the first draft of a report by design consultant Otak on Fourth Street redevelopment. City Architect Karl Eberhard said the study actually synthesizes previous reports on the area done in past years, such as the East Flagstaff Focus Future 2009 and the Sunnyside/Fourth Street study. "They were primarily policy documents, not concrete plans," said Eberhard, who added the Otak report would have more specific recommendations of what changes should be made on Fourth Street. The first review of the Otak recommendations will occur later this month or in early December, Eberhard said.

Additionally, a steering committee begins meeting this month to determine if the corridor should become a Property & Business Improvement District.
If the property and business owners on the street decide to form a PBID, it could levy a fee to contract for services or capital improvements not being provided by the city. Evans said that examples of these improvements could be enhancing beautification efforts, event planning, strategic planning, business retention efforts and working on filling vacant properties in the corridor.
I've found Fourth Street to be quite strange. I worked at the temporary Hastings location that used the old K-Mart building before moving back next to Bookman's, and there just seems to be no cohesion to the street with every business kind of haphazardly strung about the area. It feels disconnected from the rest of town (bear in mind I'm seeing this from a college student's perspective, spending the majority of my time at NAU or around Downtown)

If developers can figure out a way to revitalize it and make it look less cluttered, more power to them.
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  #26  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2009, 5:17 AM
kaneui kaneui is offline
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The building of the mall in 1979 and other big box stores on the periphery of town later on really sapped the life out of both downtown and Fourth St. While downtown had its historic buildings and government hub to jump starts its redevelopment, Fourth St. continued to wither on the vine. Hopefully, the new redevelopment plan can put the area back on its feet, as it is a major arterial and has the building stock to once again be a viable commercial and retail center for east Flag.
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  #27  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2009, 11:54 PM
Buckeye Native 001 Buckeye Native 001 is online now
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I'd like to see it happen, but I think we're overburdened enough from the competition between the east side retail outlets (the mall and auto dealerships) and west side (a few big boxes, downtown) for there to be a viable third option, at least in the current economic situation.
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  #28  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2009, 8:57 AM
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Supercenter gets green light
Walmart officials and the city of Flagstaff finally reach an agreement on off-site traffic improvements, clearing the way for construction to begin next year.

By JOE FERGUSON
Arizona Daily Sun
November 22, 2009

Walmart officials and city of Flagstaff planners say the long-delayed Walmart Supercenter will be built next year. Both parties are expecting the building permits -- the last step at the city before construction can begin -- to be issued in the coming weeks. A representative for Walmart, Delia Garcia, said the company has taken its time with the Flagstaff supercenter so that its design reflects the values of the surrounding community. Garcia said the combination supermarket and discount retail store will feature rainwater harvesting, drought-resistant native landscaping, native stone in the ground, and cover the preservation of the only three ponderosa pines on the property. The supercenter will be built on 15.6 acres on Huntington Drive beside Outback Steakhouse. The floor plans have been scaled back from an initial 212,000 square feet to 114,000 square feet -- barely larger than the Walmart retail store in west Flagstaff.

OFF-SITE DISAGREEMENTS

The fate of future "big box" discount retail stores with supermarkets was the focus of a citywide referendum in 2005. It was decided by 365 votes in Walmart's favor, and it overturned a decision by the Flagstaff City Council majority to effectively bar stores like Walmart supercenters from Flagstaff. Since then, Walmart has come to the city with several building plans, only to receive lengthy lists of conditions and suggested changes before the project can proceed. For roughly the last year and a half, Walmart has been at odds with city officials over the estimated 7,000 daily vehicle trips the new retail center will generate along Huntington. At one point, Walmart told the city it was prepared to sue over the city's requirements.

CHANGES FOR THE BETTER

But Garcia rejected suggestions that the city somehow stalled the project. She said she found city staff to be receptive and helpful and that it is not uncommon for a store design to spend several years undergoing changes. "Every project is unique and some projects take longer than others," Garcia said.

Jim Cronk, the planning director for the city, agreed. He said in 30 years with several municipalities, he's found that the big commercial projects have the biggest hurdles to overcome. "I've seen private development and staff work really hard for a year and then the project goes away completely," he said. "It happens." Cronk said there were several times when the supercenter appeared to city staffers to be dead after Walmart did not respond to official city correspondence. "There were extended time periods where we believed it was a dormant project," he said. But Garcia said the Flagstaff supercenter's design changes have come each time from the retailer, not the city, and that each time they have made for a better project.

In the end, Walmart has agreed to build two stoplights along Huntington, a second entrance to its parking lot from Lucky Lane and intersection improvements at Butler Avenue and Lucky Lane. The retail giant is also expected to pay for a share of off-site improvements at other nearby intersections, but an amount was not immediately available.
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  #29  
Old Posted Dec 4, 2009, 7:11 PM
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Open space: 550 acres now just 60
Delays by the city of Flagstaff have meant the $7.6 million in bonds approved by voters in 2004 don't go very far.

By JOE FERGUSON
Arizona Daily Sun
December 04, 2009

After more than five years of delays, the city is inching closer to preserving a total of 60 acres of open space with $3.9 million of the bond money approved by Flagstaff voters five years ago. It is, however, a far cry from the 550 acres the city said it wanted to preserve in 2004 when it asked voters to approve $7.6 million for open space. Atop the list is a 23-acre parcel above Thorpe Park on Observatory Mesa, which would eventually connect the Flagstaff Urban Trail System to state and federally owned lands. The purchase of Thorpe Park property and several other parcels would vastly expand the FUTS as well as preserve several properties that could otherwise be developed for commercial or residential use.

The planned purchases have been plagued by various problems over the years, said the current chair of the citizen-run Open Spaces Commission, Jackie Dierks-Walker. She said when the first list of properties was announced 18 months ago, the commission did not take into account whether the properties were actually for sale. At the time, commission had wanted to buy other properties, including the sought-after 11-acre Weitzel parcel on Lockett near Fanning that contains a portion of the historic Beale Wagon Road. "A lot of the problems we had were that some of the properties were in the [Yavapai] land exchange, some were state trust lands," she said. Currently, the U.S. Forest Service owns the Weitzel parcel. City officials are hoping the Forest Service will give the property to FUSD as part of the Yavapai land exchange.

The new recommendations, would preserve roughly 60 acres of undeveloped land within the city limits. On the list: 20 acres near Thorpe Park, 2 acres near the new YMCA in Switzer Canyon, 15 acres near Sechrist School, 4 acres along East Route 66 and up to 16 acres near Hoffman Tank.

MEETS SEVERAL CRITERIA

Brian Grube, a staff liaison for the commission, said the Thorpe Park parcel will meet several of the criteria sought for preservation: close to a neighborhood, near existing FUTS trails and connects to other open spaces. "Through that land you could access state and national forest land," Grube said. "Twenty acres within the city limits is a really big chunk of land, you don't often find that within the city," Grube said. Once rejected by the commission, the "Will Grade" parcel along East Route 66 is now one of the five identified properties the city will attempt to buy in the coming months. Dierks-Walker said she pushed hard for the inclusion of the property just east of the Sherwin Williams and ICS paint stores, noting it is the last tract of undeveloped land along the historic Route 66. "I know that it is expensive and we probably won't even get it, but it just seems tragic to me that the beautiful red rock could get leveled," Dierks-Walker said. Grube added that if purchased it could connect to privately owned property on McMillan Mesa that is unlikely to be developed due to the steep slope.

Another parcel of about two acres in Switzer Canyon near the new YMCA is expected to cost the city roughly $120,000. Commissioners told the Flagstaff City Council recently they wanted to buy the parcel because it is one of the few open spaces left in midtown Flagstaff.

BUFFER ZONE NEAR SECHRIST

Still on the list is a county-owned parcel near Sechrist Elementary. The commission wants to preserve the thick cluster of mature ponderosa pines on the 15-acre parcel by blocking any construction from occurring along the ridge or on the slope of the property.

Another parcel, the Hoffman Tank, is considered a vital part of a wildlife corridor near the city's Rio de Flag water treatment plant south of Interstate 40. A study by an urban wildlife planner for the Arizona Game and Fish Department suggested the combination of forested and open lands made for a good wildlife corridor. But with the commission limiting its recommendation to $1 million, city officials conceded buying the 36 acres of state lands would be difficult unless the city partners with other agencies.

Voters approved $7.6 million in bonds in 2004 to secure 550 acres of open space equal to 50 more miles of the Flagstaff Urban Trail System. But after a slow start by the Open Spaces Commission over how to prioritize the trail links caused a delay in preparing valuations, the original bond is worth a lot less today than in 2004. A portion of the bond money has been set aside to buy easements to extend the FUTS.


Properties approved for purchase

Acres

Hoffman Tank 16.7 $1,000,000

"Will Grade" Route 66 4 $980,000

Thorpe Park 23 $920,000

County Parcel by Sechrist School 15 $900,000

Switzer Canyon 2 $120,000

Total 60.7 $3.92 million

Source: City of Flagstaff
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  #30  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2009, 5:10 AM
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Wonderful. They just went through hell re-doing the parking lot and interior of the Wal-Mart in west Flagstaff, now they're opening up a Supercenter? This town ain't big enough for two of them.
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  #31  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2009, 8:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckeye Native 001 View Post
Wonderful. They just went through hell re-doing the parking lot and interior of the Wal-Mart in west Flagstaff, now they're opening up a Supercenter? This town ain't big enough for two of them.
The irony here is that the new supercenter will be no larger than a regular Walmart, or otherwise what would have been allowed if the proposed big box ordinance that Walmart fought against so vehemently a few years ago had passed.
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  #32  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2009, 12:04 AM
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Yeah, "Super" in name only. I can't figure it out, since I know a lot of people living on South Campus who walk to Wal-Mart for their dorm needs.

Long story short, I have a feeling Wal-Mart's going to abandon its current west location once the Supercenter opens and we'll be stuck with another vacant eye sore.
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  #33  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2009, 1:15 AM
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Flagstaff clinic wins $7.4M
North Country HealthCare federal stimulus grant will mean 12 more exam rooms in Flagstaff and two new clinics in Holbrook and Springerville.

By CYNDY COLE
Arizona Daily Sun
December 10, 2009

Flagstaff-based North Country HealthCare will receive $7.4 million to build and expand health clinics under competitive federal stimulus funding announced Wednesday. Canyonlands Community Health Care on the Arizona Strip north of Grand Canyon will receive $2.1 million "This is really exciting for us," said Liz Latham, chief executive of Canyonlands, which also has clinics in Page and on the Navajo Nation. In Flagstaff, it means the new North Country HealthCare building on Fourth Street will add 12 more exam rooms, 13 more physicians, nurse practitioners or physician assistants, and perhaps 15 staff to work with them, according to the agency's top medical officer. North Country also plans to build new clinics in Holbrook and Springerville.

The once all-volunteer clinic run formed in 1991 and run out of a former roller skating rink, fund-raised for years to build its current Fourth Street clinic. It outgrew the new facility in a matter of weeks. "Rural Arizona has a serious problem with access to primary care," Chief Medical Officer Andrew Saal said, in a statement. "When a workforce isn't healthy, the local economy suffers as well. Holbrook, Round Valley and Flagstaff have steadily lost primary care providers over the past decade. Even with insurance, many people find that local physicians are not accepting new patients. North Country hopes to become the medical home to 10,000 additional patients over the next two years." North Country used previous stimulus dollars to begin keeping electronic health records, open a new clinic in Show Low and expand clinics in Kingman, Lake Havasu City, and Winslow.

In a speech on Wednesday, President Barack Obama referred to one of the Canyonlands clinics 30 miles southeast of Kayenta, where doctors were working out of a former chicken coop. Obama was speaking of community health centers, which receive some federal funding to serve patients in poor or rural areas. The organizations won the stimulus money on a highly competitive basis, as part of $500 million awarded nationally by the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
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  #34  
Old Posted Dec 14, 2009, 10:09 PM
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Two recent Flagstaff projects have been cited by Southwest Contractor in their Best of 2009 Awards for Top Design & Construction in Arizona:


Museum of Northern Arizona Easton Collection Center
Green Building



Submitted by Kinney Construction Services and Roberts|Jones Associates


This 17,282-sq-ft, two-level sustainable repository provides a stable and protective environment for thousands of treasured objects that comprise the anthropological, biological and fine art collections of the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. On target for LEED platinum, the center encompasses an endless number of green building strategies, from photovoltaics to water conservation to appropriate solar orientation and thermal massing. As one judge says, “this project really hit on so many different levels.”

The 14,000-sq-ft living roof – the largest in the Southwest at the time of construction – consists of 5,500 coconut fiber trays filled with native soil and seedlings that will help insulate the structure and reduce stormwater runoff. The east side of the building is faced with native Coconino sandstone, steel panels and recycled Douglas fir salvaged from trestles out of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The interior and exterior walls are covered with multiple layers of hydraulic lime plaster, which gives them an adobe-like feel and natural colors, while providing great strength. The exterior walls also have a 4-in. layer of rigid foam insulation. The interior lime plaster walls will absorb excess humidity in the main collections room and release it back into the room as the humidity level drops, helping create a stable humidity level. The floors are of integrated colored concrete with an in-floor radiant heating and cooling system.


Key Players

Owner: Museum of Northern Arizona
Design Firm: Roberts|Jones Associates
General Contractor: Kinney Construction Services
Consultants: Woodward Engineering; Ellison Grenier Engineering; AM Engineering; WLB Group; Mogollon Engineering; Schaafsma Design; Rana Creek Living Architecture; Environmental Hydro Systems; E.J. Engineering Group

*The Easton Collection Center was also recently named the top Green Building in the nation in McGraw-Hill Construction's 2009 Best of the Best Awards.




NAU Recreational Field Expansion
Sports/Recreation



Submitted by Valley Rain Construction Corp.


This expansion project provides all-weather athletic fields for intra-mural and recreational use, nestled in a forested, hillside setting with spectacular views of the San Francisco Peaks. The new facilities include two synthetic turf, lighted sports fields, two sand volleyball courts and collegiate throwing areas. Supporting the fields are two round buildings housing restrooms and equipment storage split by a large covered shade ramada.

Seeking LEED gold, the project includes recycled content drainage material, regional materials, recycled insulation, sports lighting that complies with the dark skies ordinance, reclaimed water and re-use of natural and unnatural materials disturbed during construction.


Key Players

Owner: Arizona Board of Regents, Northern Arizona University
Design Firm: CMX Sports Engineers
General Contractor: Valley Rain Construction Corp.
Consultants: Ayers Saint Gross Architects and Planners; SWI Engineering; T. Barnabas Kane & Assoc.
Subcontractors: Moreno Welding; Kimbrell Electric; Hellas Construction; Field Lining Systems


For more info.: http://southwest.construction.com/


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  #35  
Old Posted Dec 18, 2009, 6:34 PM
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A new plan to redevelop 4th St. in east Flagstaff suggests fewer traffic lanes as well as added sidewalks, trees and parks, but a source of funding has yet to be identified:


New look for 4th: Slower traffic, new parks
By JOE FERGUSON
Arizona Daily Sun
December 18, 2009

A long-neglected commercial corridor in Flagstaff could look and feel very different in the coming years. Fourth Street north of Route 66 would have slower traffic, more trees and sidewalks, several small parks, possibly fewer lanes and a new median strip if recommendations by a city consultant are carried out. But who will pay for the upgrades and how is still in question. The re-envisioned Fourth Street comes from a series of meetings with residents, businesses and property owners in an attempt to address traffic issues, pedestrian safety and beautification.

But the recommendations, made public on Wednesday, do come at a cost: Either property lining both sides of the street will need to be purchased to make room for the improvements or a traffic lane in each direction will need to be sacrificed. One recommendation calls for turning a portion of the center turn lane into a median barrier. "In general, people are ... enthusiastic about the beautification process," said Karl Eberhard, the city's architect. "And there is support for dropping a lane in both directions." Eberhard said the changes are designed to slow traffic along Fourth Street as well as increase the number of places where pedestrians can safely cross the busy, five-lane road. "There is currently only one legitimate place to cross," Eberhard said. Eberhard suggested that the number of legal pedestrian crossings could be increased to five or six between Route 66 and Linda Vista Drive.

INTERSECTIONS RECONFIGURED

The study also recommends changes to two intersections: at Cedar and at Seventh avenues. The current intersection at Seventh would be realigned to connect with Sixth Avenue on the west side of Fourth Street, while the sharp turn along Cedar at Fourth Street would be altered to better accommodate current traffic patterns. One proposal would realign Cedar Avenue away from Lockett Road to a new road between Coconino Community College and the NorthCountry Health Center. Both intersections, if reconfigured, would require the purchase and demolition of several existing buildings. Other recommendations include reducing the number of curb cuts from 68 to 23.

WARY ABOUT COSTS

On Wednesday, about 30 residents attended a meeting that unveiled the proposed changes. Eberhard said reaction was mixed, with some wary about the costs of the project and how it will be paid for. Those costs, as well as recommended funding mechanisms, will be developed in the next phase of the study. A study by APS, finalized in 2001, made several recommendations for the redevelopment of east Flagstaff, including the Fourth Street corridor. Most of those recommendations have never been implemented. The purpose of the $250,000 Fourth Street North Corridor Study is to develop a strategic redevelopment vision for Fourth Street. A final public meeting is planned for sometime in February.


*See the PowerPoint presentation from Wednesday's meeting: http://ow.ly/Nbs9
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  #36  
Old Posted Dec 22, 2009, 8:19 PM
kaneui kaneui is offline
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With over $19M in city bonds at stake, the city of Flagstaff could end up taking over the Aspen Place at the Sawmill project if the developer continues to miss its debt payments:



The Aspen Place at Sawmill development is far behind the project schedule laid out in 2008.
Last week the developers backing the project missed a crucial bond payment.
(photo: Arizona Daily Sun)


Mid-town project stalls
Taxpayers would need to pay off $19 million in bonds over the next 25 years if the development fails.

by JOE FERGUSON
Arizona Daily Sun
December 21, 2009

The financial struggles of a major retail/residential development on Butler Avenue could leave Flagstaff taxpayers on the hook for up to $19 million in bond payments over 25 years. The Aspen Group, the owners of the Sawmill at Aspen Place, missed a $1 million payment this month that the city covered with a $1.9 million letter of credit it held from the developers. Another payment of $465,000 is due this summer. Unlike most privately backed retail projects in Flagstaff, Sawmill's internal infrastructure -- streets, sewers and water -- was financed with city-backed bonds that the developers were to repay over 25 years. If the developers continue to default, the city takes over the property as well as the debt obligations sometime in 2010. City officials said they expect to hammer out an agreement with the developer in the coming weeks as to what would trigger the city taking over the property. One possible solution would have the developer sell off parts of the project to raise cash to make the bond payments. But in the slow commercial real estate market, the sale of property might not be enough. A recent estimate of the entire development, according to city officials, suggests it could be worth as little as $12 million in the current market.

With the project worth less than the bonds, Community Development Director Mark Landsiedel said that the best solution is to work with the Aspen Group to make the project a success. "The developer is still working really hard to create a deal with their bank and creating a deal with new investors to bring new capital into the project," Landsiedel said. "What we are trying to do is be patient with the developer, balancing that the same time making sure the city's interest is kept whole." The founder and CEO of the group, Don Meyers agreed. "The best thing we can do to move this forward is to work together," he said He defended the underlying plan for the site, saying the development has stalled because of the economy. "There is nothing wrong with the project; it is the economy," he said. "Ultimately, the project will be fine once we see the economy start to recover. This is the worst recession since the Great Depression." The city of Flagstaff and the Aspen Group entered into a development incentive agreement in 2007, in which the city issued $19 million in bonds to build the infrastructure on the site. The agreement was designed to help offset the cost of cleaning up the contaminated site of the old Stone Forest lumber mill. Landsiedel said that he was aware that the developers ran into cost overruns related to the environmental remediation but could not cite specific figures.

So far, the project has just two tenants: New Frontiers supermarket and Pita Jungle. A third, Wildflower Bread Company, is expected to open next month. Plans had originally called for 321 residential units and 155,000 square feet of retail space, which is about a third of the size of the original Flagstaff Mall. Currently, only 65,000 square feet of retail space has been built, nearly half stands empty. Other businesses that at one time expressed interest in the development included: Chico's, Coldwater Creek, Sauce, Urban Outfitters, Starbucks, Pei Wei, Bath & Body Works, the Sunglass Hut, Sheer Irony, Gymboree, Chipotle and Sedona-based Sally's Mesquite Grill & BBQ. One of the owners of the Sedona-based barbecue, Mike Sally, said he was interested in the development but the Aspen Group wanted too much in rent for his business to be feasible there. He said the developer wasn't willing to negotiate with him. "They just didn't want to play ball," he said. The small-business owner, who has locations in both Cottonwood and Sedona, said the sizable investment he was asked to make could have put in his entire business in jeopardy. Sally said he is still interested in opening another location in Flagstaff in the future. Meyers said on Monday that there are four businesses that are still interested in the development, but did not elaborate.
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  #37  
Old Posted Dec 27, 2009, 7:30 AM
kaneui kaneui is offline
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Flagstaff 2009 Review & 2010 Outlook


The economic downturn and the lack of available financing has slowed the number of projects either proposed, under construction, or scheduled for completion, resulting in a rather quiet development scene for both this year and 2010:

2009
The only major projects completed in 2009 were the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel ($23M), the Easton Collections Center at the Museum of Northern Arizona ($7M), and additional retail at Aspen Place at the Sawmill ($6.4M).


2010
The coming year will see continued work on the large NAU Health and Learning Center ($106M), as well as the start of construction on the following:

- Catholic campus on McMillan Mesa ($24M - 2012 completion)

- NAU Native American Cultural Center ($6M)

- Walmart Supercenter near 4th St. and Huntington Dr.


If final approvals and financing are secured, ground could be broken on the Arizona Snowbowl expansion and snowmaking project ($13M), as well as a privately-financed, 560-bed dorm at NAU ($40M). Two larger projects slated for completion in 2010 include the NAU Distance Learning Center ($11M - first quarter) and the Lumberyard Brewing Co. on S. San Francisco St. ($3M - first quarter).
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Old Posted Dec 29, 2009, 2:39 AM
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Navajo wind farm set
by CYNDY COLE
Arizona Daily Sun
December 28, 2009

The Navajo Nation has announced plans to break ground on a $200 million wind farm late in 2010 on ranch lands about 80 miles west of Flagstaff. If built, it would be the second large-scale wind farm in northern Arizona, following the construction of one south of Holbrook that is smaller. The Navajo Nation, Foresight Wind Energy and Edison Mission Energy propose to build a 48-turbine array by December 2011, and to sell the electricity produced from the wind farm in Arizona. The wind farm is proposed for the Big Boquillas Ranch, which stretches from the very windy Aubrey Cliffs northwest of Seligman to an area west of Valle and south of the Grand Canyon. If operating at about the same efficiency as the proposed Dry Lake wind farm near Winslow, the 85-megawatt wind farm would generate enough electricity to power more than 20,200 homes when operating at full capacity.

The Navajo Nation Council voted Tuesday to permit the project, according to a press release by the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. The utility called it a first large wind project for the Navajo Nation, and the first large-scale wind farm in the United States to be developed and have majority ownership by a Native American tribe. "This is historic," NTUA General Manager Walter W. Haase said, via a statement. "For the first time, the Navajo Nation is a majority owner of an energy project that will introduce a new economy to the Navajo Nation for the benefit of the Navajo people." The Aubrey Valley west of the Aubrey Cliffs is one of a number of reintroduction sites for a federally listed animal, the endangered black-footed ferret.
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  #39  
Old Posted Dec 29, 2009, 2:46 AM
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Although Wildflower is the third business to open in Aspen Place at the Sawmill, it remains to be seen whether other announced retailers will fill the remaining vacant spaces in this stalled project:



(photo: Wildflower Bread Co.)


Wildflower Bread Company grand opening set for Jan. 9
by Abbie Gripman
Arizona Daily Sun
December 28, 2009

Wildflower Bread Company is opening in Flagstaff and has chosen Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff as the local nonprofit to receive 100 percent of the proceeds made at a grand opening fundraiser. The event will be held on Saturday Jan. 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will offer specials of an entire entree, beverage and specialty bakery item for every customer who makes a $10 donation to BBBSF ($5 for children).

Wildflower Bread Company is a fast-casual restaurant and artisan bakery which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The chain has been established in Arizona since 1996. Ten percent of all baguette sales support Arizona's at-risk schools and 100 percent of leftover baked goods are donated to local food banks. "We are so delighted to welcome the Wildflower Bread Company to the Flagstaff community," said Merk Perelstein, CEO of BBBSF. "We are really looking forward to a festive event." The restaurant offers free Wi-Fi access and electrical outlets are installed at every table. The restaurant is currently under construction at Aspen Place at the Sawmill right next to New Frontiers.
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  #40  
Old Posted Dec 30, 2009, 6:49 PM
Buckeye Native 001 Buckeye Native 001 is online now
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Sawmill is terribly disappointing to look at in its current state.
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