BY LINDA BENTLEY | JULY 18, 2012
Cave Creek studies alternative transportation
While Bunch stated he likes the museum, library, chamber and Fiesta Days, he said, ‘I don’t support giving people’s money away’
Photos by Linda Bentley
CAVE CREEK – Rep. Karen Fann (l), a Republican who is running for reelection in the newly redrawn Legislative District 1 that now includes New River, Cave Creek and Carefree, introduced herself to citizens during Monday night’s council meeting.
Fann said she’s owned a highway construction company for 28 years, served on the Prescott City Council and as vice mayor before moving to Chino Valley where she served three terms as mayor.
When asked what Cave Creek has in common with the other communities in District 1, Fann said, “Actually we have a lot in common … our rural lifestyle.”
She said she believes in local control and governing from the bottom up not the top down.
A retired law enforcement officer in the audience asked her about budget cuts and how they were affecting pension plans for law enforcement personnel.
Fann stated, “I’m not a pro-union person. I am pro-public safety. When unions come in demanding, it’s always at the expense of someone else.”
Mayor Vincent Francia stated Rep. Andy Tobin, R-Dist. 1, who is also running for reelection in the newly drawn legislative district, would be coming to speak during the Aug. 6 council meeting.
Council approved the cancellation of the Aug. 20 and Sept. 4 council meeting.
Jason Harrington of E Group Landscape Architecture did a presentation to council regarding a Cave Creek MAG (Maricopa Association of Governments) Bike Study.
The MAG Design Assistance Program provides communities the opportunity to develop community projects by assisting in the early planning and design stages.
The intent of the program is “to stimulate the integration of pedestrian and bicycle facilities into the planning and design of all types of infrastructure and development.”
According to the assessment report, “The town of Cave Creek identified a need to establish a bike lane along Cave Creek Road and provide a pedestrian circulation network in its town core area.”
The study was tasked to review existing conditions and conduct research to measure public opinion on issues related to cycling and the pedestrian environment as well as “identify barriers to cycling and improvements to encourage more cycling.”
Harrington presented three different types of roadway configurations, including a non-paved trail system, with the intention of promoting people from outside the community coming in and spending.
The preliminary study is for approximately 4.5 miles of roadway, which Harrington said would cost around $7 million.
He said funding sources are available in the way of grants and the project could be done in pieces, as some grants require matching funds.
He said the Obama administration was focusing on more “robust bicycling” and some grants will pay up to 90 percent of costs.
Harrington stated he was trying to solicit council’s support to move forward with the project by working with staff to identify funding sources and develop a game plan over the next five years.
During public comment, Johnny Ringo said he didn’t see how it would be safe to have bicycles and equestrian together.
Harrington said they would be separate trail systems, although he said use of unpaved trails are difficult to enforce.
Mike Rigney, as president of the Cave Creek Bicycle Association, said he finds it difficult to believe the town does not have bicycle lanes through the town and the segment is missing through Cave Creek and Carefree, which would otherwise go from Phoenix and Scottsdale all the way through to Tonto National Forest.
Councilman Steve LaMar called the project a leap forward and said he was retiring Aug. 1 and would be free to assist with writing grant applications.
Anderson said she wouldn’t want to see one “sport” favored over another and would like to see both the bicycle and equestrian trails through town completed at the same time.
Francia called it a timely and wonderful opportunity and noted ever since the 52nd Street trail was completed, horses, mountain bikers and hikers use it daily.
Town Accountant Marian Groeneveld said there was approximately $2 million in the budget, in the event the town receives grant funding.
The town voted 5-1, with Councilman Dick Esser absent and Vice Mayor Ernie Bunch dissenting to adopt the final budget.
Bunch’s sticking point was with the $40,000 council voted to allocate, ($10,000 each) to the Cave Creek Museum, Desert Foothills Library, Fiesta Days and the Cave Creek Merchants and Events Association.
Councilman Jim Bruce asked Groeneveld if she could change the wording in the budget from “community grants” back to “community contract services,” so it didn’t sound like council was donating money to charity.
Councilman Thomas McGuire said he found the term “grants” troublesome.
During public comments, David Court, executive director of the Desert Foothills Library; Johnny Ringo, Jean Glass and Mark Stevens, on behalf of the Cave Creek Merchants and Events Association; Mark Peagler and Sue Mueller, on behalf of the Cave Creek Museum, all made pleas to council to have their funding restored.
David Phelps told council the budget should properly earmark funds that are used to pay debt service and said he doesn’t think people understand all the tax revenue from Walmart is going to pay the debt on the sewage treatment plant.
While Bunch stated he likes the museum, library, chamber and Fiesta Days, he said, “I don’t support giving people’s money away.”
Francia said he could make a compelling argument to agree with Bunch but said the organizations provided valuable services to the town and he supported the funding.