Print New life twinkles in Clarkdale’s town projects
Written by Staff Reporter   
Monday, 09 January 2012 00:00

Two Clarkdale residential developments dormant for years due to the economic downturn are showing signs of life again, Community and Economic Development Director Jodi Filardo said.

Jodie Filardo, the Community and Economic Development director for the town of Clarkdale, shows a map Dec. 28 of the area along the Verde River where she and other planners are working to create river recreation access points.Two companies purchased Mountain Gate subdivision this year, which is now mostly free of bankruptcy court entanglements. Clarkdale Public Works Department officials inspected completed infrastructure in December. Developers have started clearing vacant lots and gating off undeveloped streets to discourage trespass and illegal dumping, Filardo said.

Another development, Crossroads at Mingus, is also in the beginning stages of a comeback. The only investors left standing, John and Colleen Tobias, are taking steps to connect the dormant development to Clarkdale water and wastewater.

“It’s a nice way to start the new year, with life being breathed into little, tiny Clarkdale,” Filardo said.

Another initiative moving forward in Clarkdale is the creation of a master plan to outline the development of a 2.2-mile stretch of the Verde River.

There are only two locations that allow access to the Verde River in Clarkdale without trespassing across private property. One is located at the bridge that crosses the river on Tuzigoot Road and the other is at Tuzigoot National Monument.

Driving around town one day in June, Mayor Doug Von Gausig and Town Manager Gayle Mabery were taking inventory of the town’s most underperforming attractions and realized the river topped the list.

Soon an idea developed and the Clarkdale Town Council directed staff to move ahead. Currently, Special Projects Planner Enalo Lockard is working to formulate the plan, which will be vetted, discussed and modified to satisfy the wishes of Clarkdale residents who want to participate in the development.

The plan could include a riparian park with trails and amenities stretching from the 20-million-ton copper slag pile northeast of town to the national monument.

“Conceptually, we’re trying to create a park upstream, right where the river enters Clarkdale,” Von Gausig said. “It would be a 40- to 50-acre park, with plenty of beautiful, old-growth cottonwood trees.”

An area near the slag pile would form the upper anchor of the park, where there would be parking, picnic tables and other amenities, he said.

Filardo said she expected to work with representatives at Tuzigoot National Monument, whose cooperation will be key to the success of the plan.

“We need to get it cleaned up, signed and managed in a way people feel comfortable doing float trips,” he said. “Tubers and kayakers could float down and end up getting out at Tuzigoot [National Monument].”

Eventually, the town or a franchisee might operate vehicles to shuttle floaters back and forth between the monument and the park, Von Gausig said.