Guest Editorial: How Can Scottsdale Keep Raking in the Awards?

By Scottsdale Watchman

Like Michael Jordan at a post-season NBA awards ceremony, Scottsdale keeps raking in the hardware. In just the last two years, Scottsdale has been listed as the number one city in the United States for job seekers. It has been recognized for excellence in economic development. Our city has been acknowledged as North America’s top golf destination. And now, it’s home of the United States’ best public park.

Earlier today, the Engaging Local Government Leaders network announced that the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park has received the 2019 Knope Award as the nation’s top local government place.

Every year, ELGL honors different government places. For example, in 2017, ELGL honored the best city hall buildings. In 2018, it recognized the nation’s best libraries.

This year, ELGL sought to find the United States’ best park or public open space. A winner was tabbed after a tally of both an online vote and Instagram posts using the hashtag #ELGLKnope. Thirty-two parks and open spaces across the United States competed against one another and one champ emerged.

We can’t say that we’re surprised. There aren’t many attractions in the United States that carry a nearly perfect five-star rating on after having been reviewed over 1,100 times. This notwithstanding, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park bucks the trend.

How can our city ensure that an attraction like the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park remains the best in the nation? Invest in it!

For the last 20 years, bonds have been a tough sell. That could change later this year. The time is now for citizens to embrace the latest general obligation bond proposal. Across the city, there are millions of dollars in unfunded infrastructural needs. The city’s Capital Improvement Program Subcommittee has been working diligently in the last few months to identify areas of need for a $350 million general obligation bond measure that will be presented to voters later this year.

Some of the funding will positively impact a place like the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. Specifically, the current plan earmarks some funding so that the city can add a splashpad there, which will undoubtedly safeguard its position as the best public park in the United States. A vast majority will enable Scottsdale to replace an outdated 911 computer aided-dispatch and records management system, build roadway and pedestrian improvements across Scottsdale, renovate a police station and expand Via Linda Senior Center to provide more services for our city’s aging residents. The bond is a win-win for everyone.

We don’t need any additional reasons to be proud to call “the West’s Most Western Town” home. Nonetheless, what we DO need is a dedicated funding source for award-winning attractions, as well as basic needs. As M.J. once said, “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” Let’s make it happen.