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City of Prescott’s Mayor Greg Mengarelli held his annual State of the City Address as part of the January 21st Prescott Chamber meeting. In his address, he discussed a variety of topics with the overall theme of how many heroes, both in the form of individuals, organizations, and businesses all stepped up in the face of a tough year to make a difference in the community.
Recognition of Key Individuals
Mayor Mengarelli began with the recognition of three key individuals in the community. He first recognized Councilwoman Billie Orr in her decision to resign from Prescott City Council. He thanked her for her service and wished her the best in her future endeavors.
Mengarelli recognized the passing of former Mayor Marlin Kuykendall. He thanked the mayor for his years of dedicated service to the city, “Marlin Kuykendall was an important and influential leader in Prescott for many decades,” said Mayor Greg Mengarelli. “His service to our Nation, our State, and our City will long be remembered. Our condolences go out to his wife Tana, his son Patrick, and his entire family.”
He addressed the retirement of Prescott Police Chief Debora Black. He thanked her for her years of service and assured that we have been left in the great hands of Deputy Chief Amy Bonney. Best of luck to Chief Black in her journey.
2020 was a Challenging Year
Mayor Mengarelli recognized the difficulty we all face in 2020 largely focused around a pandemic. In his speech he mentioned that just eleven months ago, he was in his first COVID-19 meeting and he “had no idea what was in store for us.” No one knew how deadly it would be, how it would spread, and how it would affect the community. Mengarelli said that there have been over 330 lives lost at this point in Yavapai County and his thoughts and prayers are with all those who lost loved ones to COVID.
He took a moment to recognize both Leslie Horton, Director of Yavapai County Community Health Services, and John Amos, President and CEO of Yavapai Regional Medical Center, for their hard work and remaining strong leaders through the pandemic.
Mengarelli assured that the City of Prescott is doing everything they can to get the vaccine out to the community as quickly as possible. There will be a vaccination center opening at the old Sears store in Gateway Mall and this week teachers are being vaccinated. He said to expect more vaccination rollouts to come soon.
He extended a thank you to the healthcare workers for all they’ve done in the past year and how important they are to the community. He also thanked employees in the City of Prescott for continuing to do everything they can to ensure the continuation of city services through the pandemic.
Focusing again on the heroes of Prescott, Mayor Mengarelli took some time to recognize several individuals and an organization that made a difference in the community. Albert Guzman saw smoke coming from a home in a neighborhood he was working in and found that there was a fire in the garage of the home. The homeowner was there in a panic, Albert took charge of the situation and used a garden hose on the fire while the fire department was on their way and gave the homeowner time to move his car out of the garage. His quick actions helped a homeowner save their home.
Prescott Fire Fighters whose quick thinking saved the life of Glen Martin. Captain Pat McCarty, Fire Engineer Parker Moore, and Probationary Firefighter Micah Joannes were dispatched to a possible cardiac arrest. Upon arrival on scene, the team found the patient was unresponsive and not breathing. Under the direction of Captain McCarty, the crew administered rescue on Mr. Martin and after 20 minutes of working on the man, they were able to restore his heartbeat and he was conscious when they brought him to the hospital. Mr. Martin has since fully recovered from his heart attack and was present when the crew received a unit citation for their lifesaving efforts. Their dedication every day plays an important role in keeping a safe community.
Officer Tim Creager was recognized as one of the best investigators assigned to the patrol bureau. His tenacity and interviewing skills have made him one the most effective and productive officers on the department. In a routine traffic stop, Creager noticed the driver had bruising on her face and neck. Through his careful actions, he was able to learn her boyfriend had been abusing her and was fearful for her life if she spoke up. He was able to help her get out of this dangerous situation.
The organization Gato Community Gives received recognition for their efforts in the community in the face of COVID-19 hardships. The owner of El Gato Azul, Barry Barbe, was faced with the tough decision on whether or not to continue to keep the restaurant open. This is when he and his team made the decision that if they were going to keep operating they should do something to help the community with the program Gato Community Gives. The program began to see donations roll in from the community in the form of money, food, and other supplies. In addition, Allan’s Flowers assisted in delivering food and boxes to those in need. Through their efforts and generous donations from the community, Gato Community Gives has donated 10,000 meals.
Mengarelli moved on to talk about some great developments in the community including the paying down of the PSPRS unfunded liability. In 2017, prop 443 was approved creating a three-quarter cent sales tax that has been used to pay down the unfunded liability. “This is more good news for the City of Prescott,” said Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli. “Despite the effects of the pandemic on the local economy, we continue to make great strides in paying down the PSPRS unfunded accrued liability.” To date, the unfunded liability has now dropped to just over $43 million from the original $86 million.
Prescott Regional Airport
Mayor Mengarelli then addressed the new passenger terminal being built at Prescott Regional Airport. The groundbreaking for this terminal took place in January 2020 at the Ernest A. Love Field. When the groundbreaking took place, the estimate was for the terminal to be completed in the spring of 2021 and Mengarelli was happy to share that the new terminal is nearly completed.
The City has a lot to be proud of with the Prescott Regional Airport including the airport being named Arizona’s Airport of the Year and a recent announcement of a new airline, Boutique Air, that will be servicing the quad cities.
The city expects to have a soft opening in March but will be keeping this as a small event. However, Mayor Mengarelli assures that when it is safe to do so, there will be a great big party to celebrate the opening of the new terminal.
Developments in Prescott
Toward the end of his address, Mayor Mengarelli focused on some developments and plans for the City. He first addressed the Granite Creek Corridor. The input from the public has been invaluable in planning what to do with the space. There will be improvements in lighting and signage along the pathway along with more access to get to the corridor. The improvements planned will be another boon to the beauty Prescott has to offer.
In addition, Hilton Garden Inn located downtown Prescott has officially opened for business. Residents are invited to come down and check out this new location.
Finally, he addressed the new business Combat Proven Technologies that is moving into a brand new building near the Prescott Regional Airport bringing 100 jobs to the area. Plus they will be introducing a drone division producing more jobs in the future.
There have been some major trials in 2020 and Mayor Mengarelli recognized the year as one of his toughest ever. He touched on the loss of his daughter Brooklyn in April, the trials he faced with budget reductions due to COVID, and many other challenges caused by the pandemic. He closed by thanking the citizens of Prescott and encouraged everyone to keep moving forward and have hope for a great 2021.
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