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KCTR

The Cochise County Connection

SHOPPING LOCAL KEY TO BISBEE'S SURVIVAL

04-19-2018

SHOPPING AMAZON IS KILLING SMALL TOWNS AND LOCAL BUSINESSES. BISBEE IS NO EXCEPTION. LOCAL FIRST AZ CITES RESULTS OF A MOST REVEALING SURVEY.

by Chuck Alton, KCTRnews.com

 

Inconsistencies in our perceptions and promotion of who and what Bisbee is, an older population that avoids “downtown” and has for years, complaints from tourists about “customer service” in Bisbee, lack of coordination between local businesses and government, using rental properties for Air B and B instead of providing affordable housing for Bisbee residents and artists… these and other challenges came to light this week in presentations by Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona following an extensive survey of 64 local residents and business owners conducted at the end of last year.

 

One of the more surprising revelations came in the form of a stat that further illustrates how Bisbee has become an adult community destination with little regard for visitors with children: according to Lanning, there are only 5 hotels in Bisbee that allow children to stay there.

 

The first 20 minutes of a 2 hour presentation on Monday evening at the Senior Center in San Jose to a mixture of 44 stakeholders, mostly by invitation, dealt with the 4 categories of challenges Lanning says the town is faced with that must be addressed if Bisbee is going to balance a crippled budget that will further cut services for 2018-19 in ways that will most assuredly give pause to some of those who may be on the cusp of throwing in the towel.

 

Inconsistencies in marketing and communications, severe leakage in local spending, gaps in trade services, and lack of collaboration were explained in the first part of the presentation, just before the audience engaged in a handheld remote control survey of the room that produced immediate results in whether there was agreement or disagreement on various statements made.

 

On Tuesday night at a City Council work session, Lanning repeated her report in pursuit of council approval of entering into a next phase of the exercise to discover ways to overcome the challenges and put Bisbee on a more sustainable footing. But a damper was put on those prospects when Mayor Pro Tem Douglas Dunn pointed out that in the proposed 2018-19 budget, economic development funds, a total of $20,000 that could be used to help pay for the next phase, are eliminated from the budget. No decisions are made in council work sessions.

 

One walked away from the sessions Monday and Tuesday evening with admonitions ringing: Without more local spending in Bisbee, the library can’t have a full schedule, garbage pick-up could be stretched to every 10 days, and… we “might have to get used to putting out fires with a garden hose”.

 

KCTRnews.com was on hand to record so this vital information can be shared with those of you who were not present, and in hopes you will engage in the process of learning how to sustain Bisbee:

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