[Source: Camp Verde Bugle]
Partnerships, compacts and agreements are only as binding as the resolve of the parties involved. When one of those parties is at the mercy of a third party in order to fulfill its obligations, it becomes a high-risk proposition.
Arizona State Parks has had 15 partnerships in operation to keep 27 of its 30 parks open to the public. Three of those partnered parks are in the Verde Valley. In an unsurprising move, however, the recent Legislative budget again removes millions from ASP.
The cuts could endanger ASP’s agreements with the Town of Camp Verde, Yavapai County and other entities.
The question facing the Town of Camp Verde is not whether to throw good money after bad – town money so far has been keeping Fort Verde operating and that is a good thing – but whether to continue a partnership in which the state cannot hold up its end.
Camp Verde’s relationship with Fort Verde is not the Town’s most important issue. Providing and maintaining basic public services and safety are far higher on the priority list, and they should be.
Soon, Town Hall will once again examine its relationship with Fort Verde and re-evaluate where the economy is headed. Hoping for a substantive turnaround is like chasing shadows.
Everyone hopes the parks can ride out the economic storm. Ideas are on the table. There are many with determination and enthusiasm involved.
ASP is tied by the state and a lot of bad timing. The Parks Foundation has a concerted effort toward privatizing the state parks. It needs time and legislative support to do this, and neither seems available.
The Legislature is not in a mood to be patient with its own state agencies. It needs to cut deep and cut now. That yanks the rug out from under the hopes of ASP and its partnerships with local governments like Camp Verde. It also limits the resolve on the state side of these agreements.
Meanwhile, Fort Verde, the core of the partnership, ends up in its usual position – under threat.