In a press release earlier this week, City of Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli referred to the Granite Creek Corridor as “One of the jewels of Prescott…” The area holds a long history and early planning for it in the 1980s was the impetus for incorporation of Prescott Creeks Preservation Association in 1990. The forming group partnered with the City of Prescott, Future Farmers of America, Keep Prescott Beautiful, and landowners. In 1992, the recently formed Prescott Creeks coordinated the construction of a nature trail along Granite Creek. The Granite Creek Trail is now part of Prescott’s Greenways Trail System, a 1.5-mile network of trails that provides an alternative travel route and immersive nature-experience in the heart of Prescott.
In March last year, we shared with you the good news that the City of Prescott had recently approved a Master Plan for Granite Creek in the downtown area. Less than a year later, the City is poised to move forward with on-the-ground work.
The Master Plan states:
“This document provides an assessment of current conditions and conceptual level recommendations and guidelines for actions that will protect and enhance stream function, habitat, and water quality while developing amenities (urban trail, safety, access, and functionality).”
“The riparian corridor is in relatively good condition and contains an urban trail lined with a dense overstory of cottonwoods and other native riparian trees that provide an attractive green space in the heart of downtown. However, the stream is under significant stress….”
Major issue areas were identified as follows:
- Water quality impairment
- Exposed utility crossings
- Stream channel incising
- Invasive Trees
- Mature trees in the creek channel
The initial phase of the project is expected to begin this summer and continue for about one year as trail improvements along the creek; lighting and other safety features, improved and additional access points, signage, and improved storm-water entry into the corridor are implemented.
Concurrent with the direct creek improvements, a Steering Committee of interested stakeholders (including Prescott Creeks) will consider economic development opportunities associated with the creek. The committee is scheduled to meet approximately six times during the project to receive updates and provide input. The first meeting of the group was yesterday when we gathered and went on a walking tour of the project area which reaches from Aubrey Street to Sheldon Street and from Montezuma Street to McCormick Street. In attendance were three members of the City of Prescott Council, City staff from multiple departments, City consultants, several non-governmental organizations, business owners, and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Partnership. It was a big group that had much knowledge of the area!
Prescott Creeks looks forward to adding an environmental and historic perspective to this process. As the Mayor said: the Granite Creek Corridor is “One of the jewels of Prescott…”. I believe the challenge is to explore growth opportunities that will benefit locals and visitors while ensuring that the “jewel” is properly protected and cared for in the process.
We’ll keep you posted as the project develops.