Three-day economic conference highlights best of both towns

By Curtis Riggs | October 1, 2008

Trip to Spur Cross a huge hit
CAREFREE – The two mayors who hosted last week’s Rural Economic Development Conference were a bit surprised by some of the questions asked by visiting economic development officials but they are used to showing off their communities.

A trip to the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area was one of the highlights of the three-day conference as far as Cave Creek Mayor Vincent Francia was concerned. A full tour bus of the visiting officials from across the state went out to see the area that Cave Creek saved from development in the late 1990s and turned into a full-fledged conservation area.

‘The Spur Cross session was absolutely packed,” Francia said. “Many of the people wanted to know more about annexation.”

Governor conferenceFrancia said he fielded questions from representatives from Wickenburg, Payson and other communities about how they could use the Cave Creek model to preserve lands abutting their own communities. The present eight-square mile annexation effort Cave Creek is undertaking could have served as a better example of what the visiting officials are seeking because Spur Cross was purchased outright by Cave Creek ($6.4 million), the State of Arizona and Maricopa County for $21.3 million. The deal was finalized in early 2001.

“They are looking for ways to preserve land and the only way to do it is through annexation anymore,” he said, regarding questions from many of the 600 visiting officials. He explained the components are already in place in Cave Creek with respect to the current annexation effort.

‘That is great exposure for the town because so many of them were asking about it,” he said.

As far as the exposure the visitors received from last week’s overflowing Taste of Cave Creek event at Stagecoach Village, Francia said, “It was a wonderful way to introduce them to the festive side of Cave Creek.”

Carefree Mayor Wayne Fulcher was happy to have all the important visitors in town because they make economic decisions for their own communities.

“Many of them told me they would be back to visit,” he said about the impression Carefree made on the visitors. “Many also said they didn’t know all that we had up here and they are looking forward to coming back.”

The visitors greatly enjoyed the Carefree Town Center concert, which featured the Beatles’ tribute band, Beatlemania.

“The Carefree Resort also put its best foot forward,” he said about the governor’s conference host facility.

Photo caption: Carefree Mayor Wayne Fulcher, right, and Cave Creek Mayor Vincent Francia were proud to host Gov. Janet Napolitano last week for the Governor’s Rural Economic Development Conference.
Photo by Curtis Riggs