Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Opinions | Obituaries | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | GrandCanyonTourGuide.com
Grand Canyon News | Grand Canyon, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions February 6, 2016

3/16/2010 3:13:00 PM
Guest column: With Tusayan election over, find common ground
Patrick Whitehurst/WGCN
Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Craig Andresen speaks during the incorporation celebration at Sophie's Mexican Restaurant March 9.

Patrick Whitehurst/WGCN
Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Craig Andresen speaks during the incorporation celebration at Sophie's Mexican Restaurant March 9.
By Craig Andresen
Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce Executive Direct

It's not easy being stuck in the middle, caught between two sides of a heated debate in which the balance of the future of a community hangs. Not easy at all.

The two sides to which I refer are those in favor of the incorporation of Tusayan and those against it. As the Executive Director of the Grand Canyon Chamber and Visitor's Bureau, a position which requires working with business owners on both sides of the fence, it was necessary to remain publicly neutral and focus on promoting our community and the National Park as a destination for visitors from around the world.

The campaign was hard fought by both sides, each showing courage in their convictions and each taking their message to the voters in various ways.

Democracy, said those in the pro-incorporation faction, was coming to Tusayan on March 9. To me, this meant, in their eyes, the outcome of the vote, should it go their way, would mean democracy had spoken. To me, this is only half right.

Democracy is indeed what we've seen throughout this entire process. Democracy is exactly what allows us, all of us, to seek the outcome we desire through the process. Be it campaigning, holding community meetings and forums, hosting parties, putting up signs, sending information to constituents, Web sites and through social media. Democracy is standing up for what you believe in and doing whatever the laws allow to try and reach your desired outcome. Both sides and the community of Tusayan should be commended for putting democracy on display throughout this arduous process.

Those who campaigned against incorporation were acting in what they believed was in the best interest of Tusayan. Those backing incorporation were acting in what they believed was in the best interest of Tusayan.

The best interest of Tusayan.

Let that be the first piece of common ground from which we all proceed from this point on. Tusayan now has an amazing opportunity. Not just an opportunity for businesses and housing but also an opportunity to show what can be done when two opposing sides come together for the common good.

The county will appoint the first Tusayan town council. Who will be on the initial council is as yet unknown, but that council should provide Tusayan with varying viewpoints, checks and balances and the best opinions on how to proceed. All entities, working toward a common goal, in the best interest of Tusayan, would set an example for others to follow.

The vote to incorporate Tusayan is not the end of the process. In fact, it is only the beginning. There is much to be done in a short span of time. Aesthetic changes in Tusayan will not happen overnight. Yes, our highway, Main Street if you will, is slated for a facelift this summer and yes, the new Western Discovery Museum will appear, but those lay outside the scope of incorporation. Substantive change will only come after zoning, ordinances and guidelines are set by those appointed and later, elected to serve and by the voters of Tusayan.

The best way for this to happen is through mutual respect by all parties. Incorporation opens many paths. Some paths should be taken and some should not but no path can be traveled if the fences of division remain in place.

Now is not the time to call for either the pro or anti incorporation groups to cross to the other side of the fence, now is the time to remove the fences altogether. For too long, Tusayan has been a community of businesses divided over what should or should not be done. Now, we have the opportunity to become a town of people working together to show what can be done.

There are good people in Tusayan. Good people who have represented both sides in this process. These are people who, in the past, have worked together on many important projects. They have built a fire district and a water district here of which we can all be proud. They have created businesses, worked on bringing shuttle service to and from the national park, produced a plan for street improvements and created community events. These are pieces of a framework on which to build because they have done these things together.

Hard feelings, finger pointing, accusations and those divisive fences, produced by both sides, should all be buried in a hole as deep as the Canyon itself. The good people of Tusayan can do just that. Together, we stand at the path of opportunity, the opportunity to be better than we've been, more than we've been and stronger than we've been. This path will have hills and valleys but if the people of Tusayan choose to work as a team, pulling each other up those hills and bridging those valleys, we can accomplish great things.

The Grand Canyon Chamber and Visitor's Bureau, respectful of the outcome of this election and respectful of those on both sides of this important issue, stands ready to assist in any way possible as we transition from a community into an actual town. The election and its outcome, to incorporate, will become a dot on the historic timeline of Tusayan. It's what we choose to do from that point in time forward that will define us as a town.

The list of people who showed what could be done at the Grand Canyon is long. The native Americans who found ways of living here thousands of years ago, John Wesley Powell who led the first expedition to chart the Colorado river, the brothers Kolb who took the Canyon to the world and those who founded our very community. Now it's our turn to show what we can do and we should do it together, on that first piece of common ground, acting as one, in the best interest of Tusayan.

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Life on the Grand Canyon Railway: Amber Rose Sterling Bird creates memorable experiences for rail passengers

•   Arizona still gets D+ on schools report card, despite some modest gains

•   Kaibab Learning Center gets 40,000 from town council

•   Ben Orkin sets new Grand Canyon speed record on Colorado River

•   Grand Canyon to host open house and webinar for revised Backcountry Management Plan

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Grand Canyon, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Find It Features Blogs Milestones Submit Extras Other Publications
Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Opinions | Obituaries | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® Grand Canyon News is the information source for Grand Canyon, Arizona and surrounding communities. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Williams GC Newspapers Inc. Grand Canyon News Online is a service of Williams GC Newspapers Inc. By using the Site, grandcanyonnews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the site's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Grand Canyon News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved