[Source: Philip Wright, Verde Independent] – The town and the State Parks Board will work together to expand access to the Verde River. The Town Council voted unanimously during a special meeting March 15 to approve an intergovernmental agreement with the state to develop the Tuzigoot River Access. “The IGA is a huge benefit to the Verde River at Clarkdale plan,” said Mayor Doug Von Gausig. “It gives us an anchor location that will be where most people park to be transported up-river with their kayaks, and a place for picnics and community gatherings.” Von Gausig said this access point at Tuzigoot Bridge will once again give Clarkdale an outdoor recreation site like Peck’s Lake was years ago.
In a staff report to the council, Jodie Filardo, community/ economic development director, stated that for the town to move forward with a Heritage Fund Public Access project to expand access to the Verde River for mobility challenged individuals, site control of three parcels owned by Arizona State Parks is required. The town is currently seeking a grant from the Heritage Fund for $40,500. Filardo explained that the purpose of the IGA is to cooperatively manage and operate the site in question to develop enhanced public river access. Under the IGA the town and State Parks Board will work together to accomplish the enhanced river access. Clarkdale will provide for staffing, operation and routine maintenance of improvements made by town.
Von Gausig said that after looking at all possible locations, the town approached Deputy Parks Director Jay Ream with the idea several months ago. “We decided the best and most practical solution for Clarkdale and for State Parks would be a cooperative agreement that allows Clarkdale to manage the 70-acre Tuzigoot Bridge property,” Von Gausig said. He explained that the agreement would provide for Clarkdale to make some improvements and anchor the town’s project at the site.
“He liked it,” Von Gausig said. “We worked with Jay and others to finalize the terms of the IGA. It’s finally done.” Von Gausig said this will be the first in what the town hopes is a string of facilities along the Verde River as it flows through the Verde Valley. He said the facilities would support recreational boaters, hikers, birding enthusiasts and people who just want to get a little peace and quiet in their lives.
“This is a huge step forward for the Verde River at Clarkdale and for the Verde River,” Von Gausig said. He explained that the grant will be used for master planning the area near the Tuzigoot Bridge, to include architectural plans, roadway improvements and some fundamental improvements to the area that will enable better, more accessible recreational opportunities.