Community Supports Granite Creek Corridor Revitalization Plan

Surveys collected by the City of Prescott from local residents reveal the general public endorses the proposal to make the Granite Creek Corridor (GCC) through Downtown Prescott more inviting.

The City collected responses through a comprehensive online survey. By mid-June, more than 550 people submitted responses. Those responses were enthusiastic and supportive, said Tyler Goodman, assistant to the Prescott City Manager Michael Lamar.

Additional comments about the Granite Creek Corridor Master Plan were collected during a meeting June 24 with business and property owners and during a second meeting June 26 with the general public.

The master planning process was stimulated when the City received a $79,401 grant from the AZ Water Protection Fund this past year. The grant required the City get public feedback.
The revitalization plan will have a fresh-water riparian trail way passing through the heart of Downtown Prescott. A surfaced 1.2-mile walking trail with grass on each side of the waterway will stretch from Mile High Middle School until it links to Granite Creek Park near the LaGuardia Bridge on Montezuma Street.

Concept Began in Early 2018
The GCC concept resulted from conversations among Lamar, Goodman, Mayor Pro Tem Billie Orr and Kristy Emerson of Mandalay Homes. The Prescott Chamber of Commerce heard of the concept and helped form the Granite Creek Corridor Revitalization Committee (GCCRC), which includes city employees, business owners, the Chamber and Arizona Public Service.

The committee has proposed some major objectives:

  1. Clean up and restoration of the beauty and native landscape of the corridor. Allow the riparian habitat to thrive and water quality to improve.
  2. Improve trail usability in Downtown corridor. Allow access to all members of the community. Enhance safety so families with young children or persons hiking alone will feel secure.
  3. Encourage the community to impart Prescott history and naturalist education to its citizens.
  4. Reduce flood-condition risks for properties bordering the corridor.

Granite Creek is a tributary that flows south and then northeast through Downtown Prescott toward Watson Lake. Over the years, construction and development, parking lots, buildings and roads have intruded into the creek floodplain. The result is that the riverbed became a source for pollution and pollution transport, scour and riparian degradation.

The City owns or has legal access to approximately 8 acres along the GCC. Goodman noted the creek corridor is about 80-feet wide. He said some of the flowing water belongs to the City, some to Salt River Project and some to the Chino Valley Irrigation District. He emphasized that no restricting or impeding of water flow or water rights will occur.

Two members of the revitalization committee, Everson and Chuck Budinger, explained the restoration process will result in ecosystem integrity, health and sustainability and improvement of the river as part of the greater Prescott trail and park system.

Much of the technical preliminary planning is being provided through Natural Channel Design (NCD), headquartered in Flagstaff. Allen Haden, an aquatic ecologist with NCD, explained the firm is a river engineering and natural resource consulting business. It has handled extensive projects throughout the Southwest and West. NCD is closely involved with the GCCRC group in providing information and public education associated with the proposed master plan.

Orr said the GCC is an asset that has long been blighted and under-utilized. She also said the city’s bed tax, generated through tax on lodging from visitors, could possibly be used to cover some of the costs for corridor improvements. She praised cooperation among businesses and residents to make the Granite Creek Corridor safe and accessible.
Another public meeting will be announced in September, Goodman said.

The City and the committee will continue inviting public comments and participation as the master plan evolves.