2016 Was A Year of Continued Growth for Prescott Valley
Featured

02 January 2017
 
Photo by: Torrence Dunham
Prescott Valley Continues to Recover from Recession and Grow in Population.
Many cities across the country were negatively affected when the recession hit at the end of the last decade and Prescott Valley was no different. Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog remembered the police department went through a hiring freeze, family incomes dropped and road repairs slowed.

However, in the last six years, the trend has been moving in a positive direction and Skoog said there has been a modest recovery in 2016 especially in the fourth quarter.

“I think it’s safe to say we’ve had a very positive year,” Skoog said in a phone interview.

Fueling this recovery is the population growth of the town.

According to information from the United States Census Bureau, Prescott Valley’s population has been moderately increasing, and as of July of 2014, barely surpassed Prescott and has over 40,000 residents.

This trend looks to continue as Prescott Valley Community Development Director Richard Parker reported the department is approximately 50% busier then 2015 as the town issued 420 single-family residential permits in 2016. Parker expects continued growth in 2017 to possibly around 600 residential starts including an increase in apartment complex construction stemming from a strong market for the product in Prescott Valley. Parker also mentioned Glassford Heights is expected to break ground which would add another dimension to the already booming housing growth in Prescott Valley.

Continuing the growth of Prescott Valley is the focus of Mike Paredes and his team at the Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation whose goal is to attract manufacturing jobs to the town from not only around the country but internationally as well. It was a successful 2016 for Paredes who mentioned being in contact with over 50 companies in the manufacturing sector including numerous visits to Latin America whose middle sector is growing according to Parades and is looking for United States partnerships.

Paredes mentioned the foundation has expanded Prescott Valley into the international forum where two of three were intentional trade based which included the Arizona/Mexico commission and the Arizona/Canada Business Council. The final was one of the biggest accomplishments for the foundation in 2016 according to Parades as the foundation had a conversation with Google who came out to talk about education and its roll in today’s future labor force and the connectivity between education and expanding companies.

“My job was to take PVEDF to the next level, that with the direction of the board, and that’s what we did,” Paredes said in a phone interview. “If we don’t put ourselves out there in terms of marketing-if we don’t put ourselves out there and have a physical presence so they put a face to an organization-then we’re not doing our job.”

Paredes mentioned manufacturing jobs are important because it attracts talent from the local industry as well as outside the region and because manufacturing jobs are one of the safest in terms of job security that are well paid, it causes individuals to eventually buy land and live in the area which not only has an impact on the local economy but education.

“It’s those base jobs that really increase the economic vitality and healthiness of a regional or local economy,” Paredes said.

Ben Hooper, who became the Economic Development Coordinator of the town in August of 2016, said when it comes to retail, there is an old phrase “retail chases rooftops”. Hooper saw this in his short time living in Prescott Valley as multiple businesses opened including the popular coffee-chain Dutch Bros. and furniture-store Lazy Boy. The interest of retailers coming to Prescott Valley is attributed by Hooper to the population growth potential of the city including the truly “business-friendly” permit process.

“There’s not many places that can legitimately say that they can get building permits approved for a project like Home Depot or a project like Walmart in two weeks,” Hooper said in a phone interview. “The way that we have our processes streamlined, it allows us to allow private industry-and retailers specifically-to move as fast as they are comfortable with moving.”

Hooper sees this trend continuing in 2017 as popular retailers Chick-fil-A and Native Grill and Wings are coming soon to the city and hopes to see Crossroads be nearly occupied as well as five to ten more national chains in Prescott Valley.

Adding to the amenities in Prescott Valley for 2016 was the Northern Arizona Suns, the Phoenix Suns development league affiliate, who became a full-time tenant at the Prescott Valley Event Center. This was a major accomplishment for the building after struggling with bankruptcy for the last two years. Satish “Catfish” Athelli, the event center’s Director of Business Development, described the difficulty with trying to keep the lights on and the survival of the event center was through a lot of dedication and love by ownership and employees.

The recession significantly hurt the event center as Athelli mentioned families were less likely to spend money on events, such as the Arizona Sundogs who once were a tenant in the building before suspending operations in 2014, because of the economy’s condition.

Now, things are looking up for the event center as Gary Spiker, General Manager of the event center, believes the building will be out of bankruptcy in a month to three months. Additionally, Spiker said they are trying to add another tenant to the event center such as a hockey team.

“2016 has been a good year,” Spiker said in a phone interview. “We’re just on this uphill climb for the event center.”

A potential negative to a city’s growth is the possible increase of crime.

This ended up happening in 2016 for Prescott Valley as Prescott Valley Police Department Community Service Officer/PIO Jerry Ferguson reported there was an increase in criminal activity when compared with 2015, however, there was no big change in the types of crime as domestic violence continues to be high, over 750 cases in each of the last three years according to a report provided by Ferguson, as well as a traffic violations and accidents considering the increase of population.

However, Ferguson noted the increase in population allows for authorization of more sworn officers to the force as the department now employs 98; the largest ever for the department.

While there is an increase in officers for the town, Ferguson stresses citizens to see something, say something if suspicious activity is observed.

While a bigger population could cause a higher crime rate, Ferguson mentioned the importance of a sizeable population for income tax in the city. Ferguson said the city does not get state property tax, rather, the town operates things such as the library or the police department based on income tax.

“The larger your residential base is, and especially if they do their shopping here in town, that will increase the income that will enable us to have what we need,” Ferguson said in a phone interview.

Hooper mentioned when people shop local in Prescott Valley, 2.83% of sales tax stays in the town as opposed to when people shop in other cities.

As the city continues to grow, the trend appears Prescott Valley may be on its way to becoming one of the largest populated cities in northern Arizona.

 

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Torrence Dunham

Torrence Dunham is a multimedia journalist who graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.  Torrence is our PrescottValleyeNews.com Correspondent covering local news and events in Prescott Valley. He is also the lead sports correspondent and play-by-play pro for all our multimedia news sites. If he's not adding to his extensive sports bobble-head collection, he's talking baseball, his favorite. Follow him on Twitter: @Tadunham.