Water-Winslow's first priority

In its strategic planning sessions, the City of Winslow looked back at its accomplishments and looked forward to the priorities for things still needing to be done. The City Council met with city staff for two days, all day, to do serious planning.

Looking back at 2000 the group could say that they had finished street improvements, and curbs and gutters are being gradually replaced where needed. The manhole and street lighting work has made the city both safer and more cost efficient. The Transfer Station is almost complete after much work by city crews. The trash pick-up decision was made and the city will go to curbside pick-up. A City Inspector and an Economic Development Director were hired, and this spring a new City Planner joined them.

The city has moved to increase communication with its citizens publishing the City Breeze monthly and broadcasting City Council meetings. The city established its own web site. There have been a number of meetings for citizen input, including the citizen assessment of the police department and the public meetings with the Tijido Group from the University of Arizona who presented draft plans for downtown renewal and general city landscaping. There were also upon meetings for recreation issues and public forums before the staff and council strategy sessions.

The city received several grants. The Weed and Seed Program was established with a large, renewable grant. The police department wrote grants and received funding for new equipment and training. Following the city's purchase of land from the BNSF between La Posada and the Hubbell Trading Post, the city received a $500,000 grant for a Renaissance 66 project in the downtown area.

Friends of the Friends of the Library used grant funds to hire a historic architect to do an adaptive reuse study on a downtown building as a new site for the library and town cultural center. The City Library also received a Bill Gates Foundation grant for $20,000 for new computer equipment with increased internet access. Approximately $600,000 in grant funds were received from the FHA for improvements to the airport apron and runway.

Upgrades have occurred in a number of departments. Park infrastructure has improved and new equipment for playgrounds is scheduled. Water and wastewater treatment operators were certified and backup computer installed at the treatment plant. Improvement were also made at the city well site. The Fire Department acquired a new pumper truck which is also fully equipped as a emergency vehicle, and the Firefighters Association with the help of the citizens and the City Council of Winslow raised the money for the first Thermal Imager in Northern Arizona. The police department has better communications equipment.

For 2001 the council and staff said that the city still needed physical image improvements, including the city entrances and neighborhood areas. City staff needs more room, and the city is still in the process of hiring a new City Administrator. There are declines in the revenue stream and budgeting is likely to be more difficult, when some facilities are aging and need replacement.

Two top priority issues from 2000 reversed position. Last year the top priority was city clean-up. In 2001 clean-up moved to second place, and the second place issue from 2000 became the top issue of 2001. Water.

Water

In discussing the issue of water for Winslow it was acknowledged that Winslow is a desert community. Historically this has been a city with enough water, which is why the railroad made Winslow a major center. The Little Colorado River is not a dependable source, but Clear Creek is perennial. The city also has a number of wells which currently provide water for domestic purposes.

Last year's drought sounded an alarm. Tests show that water is being withdrawn from the wells much faster than the natural system replaces it. Winslow had to shut down one well for part of the year due to drought and other circumstances.

Winslow, along with the entire Little Colorado River basin is involved in an ongoing lawsuit over water rights. In order to ensure water for Winslow's future, the city needs to take advantage of its current water rights and better utilize the water from Clear Creek. This is where the water for domestic city use was once obtained. It will take a lot of planning and more money to create a system where Clear Creek water is once again added to the city's domestic supply. Another untapped supply is the city wastewater which currently flows into the Little Colorado River after treatment.

Clear Creek is used recreationally by the city at this time. Dammed at McHood Park, the creek provides areas for fishing, swimming and boating that are rare in Northern Arizona. McHood Park is one of the areas upgraded in 2000, and in 2001 there are extensions of its camping area planned.

Clean-up

Both a newly vital Weed and Seed program with Steve Zukowski as coordinator, and spontaneous neighborhood cleanup programs are making a difference. See page seven in this Progress Edition for photographs of one massive job taken on by many people.

Service clubs are working on signs for Winslow entrances. This is one place that everyone mentions as needing attention. We all see Winslow from inside. Visitors see the way in first.

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