Town proposes regional master plan for open space

By Linda Bentley | September 10, 2008

Cave Creek seeks to minimize governmental hodgepodge
CAVE CREEK – A couple of months ago while Mayor Vincent Francia and Town Manager Usama Abujbarah were having a conversation, the subject of the 4,000 acres of new open space coming in as part of the annexation came up.

spur cross 19The area’s open space, which is currently managed by a hodgepodge of entities, includes 2,500 acres in Spur Cross Conservation Area, 2,900 acres in Cave Creek Regional Park, the 4,000 acres to be preserved as part of the annexation, plus Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Cahava Springs Conservation Area, Desert Foothills Land Trust and other conservation lands.

Francia wondered how the town could best manage the additional 4,000 acres, when Abujbarah questioned whether they shouldn’t be looking at all of the town’s preserved open spaces, re-master plan them and perhaps place them under a single management system with the county but under the auspices of Cave Creek.

Abujbarah presented the idea to R.J. Cardin, director of Maricopa County Parks, who received the idea with enthusiasm.

Last Wednesday was the first of many anticipated meetings that really highlighted the number of agencies and stakeholders involved and included representatives from Maricopa County Parks and Recreation, BLM, Tonto National Forest, Phoenix Sonoran Preserve, supervisors of the County Regional Park and Spur Cross, the executive directors of Cahava Springs Conservation Area and Desert Foothills Land Trust plus volunteers with the town staff’s citizens advisory committee.

Even though there are a large number of agencies and stakeholders involved, after last week’s meeting Francia said, “It has all the signs of being a very exciting project.”

Photo by Linda Bentley