Thursday, December 03, 2009

Golden Valley Ahead of Its Time?

Recently I have been involved with the Golden Valley Chamber of Commerce, which is non-profit and remains in operation by the commitment of its volunteers. It's seen its ups and downs over the past 26 years, but it has weathered and seasoned into its own hallmark. When I first moved to Arizona in 1997 the 'Chamber didn't have a building of its own and operated partially out of Ed Bruce's office up by the (soon to re-open) Ocotillo on Hwy 68. Even then, the 'Chamber was where newcomers got their info and residents stated their communal concerns. Preserving the rural lifestyle of Golden Valley has long been a struggle and has led to many rigorous conversations regarding growth, water availability and planning. The 'Chamber of course has remained neutral, not taking an official position one way or the other politically while offering as much information as available to the community.

Long before "Climate Change", "Global Warming", "sustainability" and other catch phrases of the day evolved into the latest used vernacular for "being green", the Golden Valley Area Plan Committee valued their goals of preserving their lifestyle enough to have it stated in the executive summary:"Guard the individual’s property rights, quality of life and the environment in this rural community. Obtain reasonable development density and open-space which will remain non-intrusive on the neighborhood. Look for and support commercial and industrial development that is environmentally sensitive, offers quality employment, provides for the needs of the community and increases the tax base. Develop healthy, uncluttered neighborhoods for all that own property and live within the community. Enhance public safety infrastructure and opportunities for family oriented activities. Nourish the quiet enjoyment, scenic views, and night sky that make this a wonderful environment for the entire community.
(see: pg. 2)

Finding commercial and industrial development that is environmentally sensitive, while offering quality employment and providing for the needs of the community while increasing the tax base has been a challenge over the past 35 years or so since the plan was adopted, but the times are rapidly changing. Seems that suddenly Golden Valley is more politically correct than once assumed. The growth controversies, water availabilities and economic development challenges may soon find themselves in an era of resolution and the Golden Valley Chamber of Commerce is taking its position of being the conduit of available information as a community oriented service for the 'Valley once again.

Hopefully most of you saw The Daily Miner this week with its highlight on Bobbi Case, the Golden Valley Chamber of Commerce President on the front page.


Mohave County has long searched and struggled to secure economic development that would perpetuate a stable and strong economic base. During the past few years, our I40 Industrial Corridor has seen its power source improved to actually support a manufacturing base to attract developers. Water availability issues are being worked on continuously and as expeditiously as possible to insure that there is water and service to support the Corridor. Mohave Community College and the JTED vocational courses are being quickly reviewed and modified to insure that we will have an available skilled work force to strengthen our "draw" to industry. We even have solar plants and the biodiesal plant approved with a new E-zone. So the next question should be as Bobbi poised, "Why couldn't we manufacture some of those things (solar panels and wind turbines or support equipment) here?" It may not have been the specific conception of the Golden Valley Area Plan Committee all those years ago when they initiated and approved the area plan, but Mohave County is desirable for the upcoming industrial age; renewable, sustainable...environmentally sensitive and very economically sound with plenty of tax revenue generating potential. And Golden Valley is strategically located to benefit.

The question that seems to remain unanswered is if Golden Valley's rural lifestyle can still be genuinely preserved along the way. Will the quiet enjoyment of the property owners along with their water rights, their quality of life be sacrificed or will the Golden Valley Area Plan be the sustaining force that not only encourages the current development d' jour but meets the original intent of its planning committee. Will Golden Valley remain a sleeper community en route between Kingman, AZ and Laughlin, NV or could it possibly be the model for rural communities facing similar issues across the nation? Who would have thought that a group of local people could have been so progressive 35 years ago before "Global Warming"/ "Climate Change", and to think, they were and still are, all volunteers. Volunteers and community service, even the participation has been conceptually "green".

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