In the running: Clarinda Vail, candidate for Tusayan mayor
Grand Canyon News is running a Q & A for both candidates running for Mayor of Tusayan.
Candidates were asked to answer the same questions about important local topics including why they are seeking office, what residents can expect during their term if elected and what they see in Tusayan's future. Craig Sanderson is the incumbent and Clarinda Vail is a long-time resident and business owner.
Why are you running?
Poor leadership, for over nine years has caused the town of Tusayan to spend approximately $35 million and have very little to show for it. It is not right and has been that way for too long.
I want to see past promises, such as the sports complex, accomplished. A generation of children have become adults as we are still waiting for these projects completion. I don’t want anyone to feel that they are unrepresented. I want to represent everyone in Tusayan. It’s time to give others a shot at results for the future of Tusayan.
How do you plan to approach the current crisis created by COVID-19 in Tusayan?
I think this is a day by day situation, as numbers still rise here and in Arizona, with no current end in sight.
Having a united front on town protocols, such as mask wearing, is very important. As we continue to be educated about this pandemic, protocols/methods will change. Using open minds and hearts in the process is key, as is balancing public health and business health. As businesses continue to struggle here it may be one of the most important times ever for residents to receive a yearly economic boost of $3,000-$6,000 each, something the current mayor opposes.
What budget impacts do you expect the town to face from the COVID-19 shutdown? How can the town mitigate economic impacts?
I am guesstimating the town is seeing about 25 percent of the past year's revenues.
Fortunately, the town does have large reserve funds. All funds have to be spent wisely. I have certainly seen exorbitant costs, to a variety of things, where funds could be saved while not impacting any health or safety items. We are in an unknown twilight zone, so creative ideas and specialized marketing are all things that may have to go along with how the pandemic is progressing in our region.
Tusayan currently has a variety of activities for visitors. Is it necessary to change Tusayan’s offerings? If so why?
Is it important to create new retail and activity spaces?
Tusayan has many great offerings that continued to expand.
“Change offerings” seems to say something should go. No, I don’t think any offerings we have in Tusayan should change, but only be added to.
A town council can encourage types of business but cannot control what businesses actually are created beyond zoning, building and design elements. Having vision and goals as to whether or not residents want outlet malls, Walmart’s ...etc. would be a good thing to discuss.
What are the greatest challenges to Tusayan’s infrastructure and do you believe there is community support for changes?
Water is the greatest infrastructure challenge.
Water is gold in the west, and especially in Tusayan. There are great challenges at looking into other ways to get water to Tusayan. Some support other alternatives to ground water and some don’t.
The town, listening to its most vital partner, Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP), is key with water and other items. We need a regional water solution. I watched the town ignore GCNP on the height issue and it was one of the main reasons I referred it to the ballot for the voters to decide.
Beyond the Ten-X project(s), are there any other potential options for creating affordable housing in Tusayan?
It’s difficult to answer without full details of the current contracts the town is obligated to on the Ten-X project.
Yes, there are other possible options.
There’s other residentially zoned land in the developed area of Tusayan, with easy access to infrastructure. There’s also large in-holding parcels that could be exchanged for residential land adjacent to infrastructure, including ones owned by Stilo.
While Red Feather paid to build 29, beautiful, 1-4 bedroom units in town, the town has failed for a decade to deliver on housing promises. It is time to give someone else a chance to get things done.
What are the greatest challenges in creating housing options for residents?
I have never seen real vision and goals for creating options that are economically sound for the town and the resident.
The town sort of moved along, and even continually changed the Ten-X project, as they went.
Should all employees, past and future, of Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon Unified School District, Kaibab National Forest Service, FAA, ADOT, U.S. Postal Service, Delaware North, Xanterra, all Tusayan companies and etc... forever retire here?
What are the growth vision/goals?
I think this is something we all should already know.
Beyond providing affordable groceries and services, do you have ideas to help reduce poverty levels in town?
Offering residents an economic boost of $3,000-$6,000 annually is a way to help reduce poverty levels in town and give our community an amazing extra incentive to retain and recruit great/committed staff.
Businesses are in need now as well, and likely can’t help employees much more than they already have/are.
Unlike the current mayor, who opposes my plan, I see this as possibly the best help that could come now and into the future.
Where would you like to see Tusayan in the future?
COVID is at the top of most people’s minds right now and I hope to see a future Tusayan where all of our current businesses have survived.
I hope for a future thriving gateway community that has a local government doing right by its current residents, guests, neighboring entities and finishing many long awaited projects.
I would like the opportunity to let my past and future achievements speak for themselves, in contrast to the current mayor, that I feel has wasted time and money. It’s beyond time to give other people a shot at getting results for our town’s residents.