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Guest column: Tusayan to bring ice skating rink, Santa Shack and more this holiday season

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad.

We have such a diverse community that celebrates holidays in various ways. Friends, family, food, ceremonies, and traditions, however you celebrate, I hope this season is a special one.

The town of Tusayan is excited to announce, a skating rink is coming! As long as shipping remains on track the grand opening day will be Dec. 18. With a special visit from Santa from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. It will be located in the vacant lot between McDonald’s and The Grand Hotel. Please come and test your skate legs.

The town also has fun contests going on this holiday season. A coloring contest for youth, a window decorating contest and a letter to Santa contest are being conducted by the town. You can drop off your letters to Santa at town hall, or bus stops, to win prizes.

The Santa Shack, adjacent to town hall, is opening again soon. Please come shop for and with the children you love. It will be open Dec. 6-23. The town’s Christmas Food Drive will be conducted via the Santa Shack, appointments are recommended by calling the Tusayan Town Hall at (928) 638-9909.

Community news

This year has shaped up to be much better than 2020, but still has had its challenges and losses for our community. The town sends our deepest condolences to the family, colleagues, friend and the entire community, for the loss of our Grand Canyon School Superintendent Shonny Bria. She was a leader of the heart of our community and will be missed.

In an effort to improve services and reduce expenses for all, the town has completed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Coconino County for permits and building inspections. There still is more work to come to improve building, planning and zoning processes but we are thrilled to have partnered with Coconino County for these important services.

Additionally, the town has received American Rescue Plan Act Recovery Funds. I remain committed to the idea of giving money to residents and continue to work to accomplish this goal with these funds, and hopefully more.

The town also conducted two traffic control tests on Highway 64 and ADOT has agreed to repaint the lines of traffic north of town to the entrance gate in 2022. We hope this repainting assists with the flow of traffic during those, few, peak days. Thanks again to Edward Keable and many GCNP staff for their continued support in this effort.

COVID-19 and other updates

Last week, I received my COVID-19 boost at NAU and I encourage everyone to get vaccinated and/or boosted. Our zip code is currently over 73 percent vaccinated. This is a number to be proud of for our resident and visitor safety.

Vaccine events, conducted by Coconino County Health and Human Services, are coming to Grand Canyon and Tusayan, Dec. 9, at Grand Canyon Rec Center from 10 a.m.-noon and in Tusayan, behind the IMAX, from 1:30-3 p.m.

Additionally, Coconino County Health & Human Services, Sharon Sifling and Robert Smith, recently instructed a Mental Health First Aid Class, hosted by the town. It was such a worthwhile class. Be on the lookout for more classes to come and a special thank you to Sharon for all the time she has been devoting to our community.

Another exciting item to report is that the town has negotiated to have library services every Friday from January- June at Tusayan Town Hall. A variety of services will be available.

Another special thank you to Andrew Aldaz and all he has done in establishing our Tusayan Community Wellness Meetings.

Many business/housing representatives, residents, county staff and nonprofits have been attending and what has come from them has been amazing to say the least. They occur on the last Tuesday of every month at town hall at 1 p.m., everyone is welcome and we invite you to please attend in person or via zoom.

And last, but certainly not least, a special thank you to all of town staff. You are a small but mighty crew. Many new items/ideas keep coming and your efforts and energy are noticed and appreciated. You are helping improve the quality of life for our residents.

Please attend town council meetings in person or online and never hesitate to contact me — about anything — at Clarinda.Vail@tusayan-az.gov or (928) 637-8912.

Thank you and I wish you all a joyous holiday season and prosperous New Year.

Clarinda Vail Mayor, Tusayan

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