Class VIII of Verde Valley Leadership held an Issue Day on business and economic development in the Verde Valley on Jan. 24. The day began at Out of Africa in Camp Verde and finished at the Cottonwood Recreation Center.
Bill Jump, part owner of Out of Africa Wildlife Park, hosted the morning session. Mr. Jump began with a brief history of the park as well as the business and financial decisions that went into moving the park out of the Phoenix area to Camp Verde. Jump and staff led the group on a tour of the park and included an explanation of the expenses that go into maintaining the park and keeping the animals fed and healthy. Robyn Briar, the owner of the Zip Line in the Out of Africa Park, shared the history of his Zip Line business and where he would like to see it go in the future.
The group then relocated to the Cottonwood Recreation Center and was joined by Bill Bolin who discussed how technology plays a role in businesses today and how communities who cannot supply sufficient infrastructure will not be able to attract or retain industry. Mr. Bolin, also highlighted the need for high speed internet, which will require broadband and how the Verde Valley is already planning on installing conduit for broadband within the upcoming SR 260 improvement project.
Casey Rooney, the Economic Development Director for the City of Cottonwood joined the group to discuss the recent improvement of the Old Town Cottonwood District and the wine industry in the Verde Valley.
Following Rooney was a presentation by Jodie Filardo, Economic Development Director for the Town of Clarkdale, who shared insight into the growing economy in the Town of Clarkdale and changes that the Town has made to encourage economic growth. One of the big changes the Town has recently made was altering its zoning code to allow light manufacturing in commercial districts that has enabled several businesses to move into the district of the Town.
A final group panel discussed issues ranging from history and the future of business in the Verde Valley. The day concluded with class discussion of the VVL program, ideas, and future plans. For more information about Verde Valley Leadership please visit www.vvleadership.org.