AAED TOURS FT. MCDOWELL YAVAPAI NATION
Monday, June 22, 2015
Posted by: Bridgette Blair
AAED TOUR OF FT. MCDOWELL YAVAPAI NATION
MARCH 26, 2015
Several members of AAED’s Tribal Economic Development Committee (TEDC) and invited guests had the pleasure of touring and meeting with the members of the Ft. McDowell Yavapai Nation. The Ft. McDowell reservation is located northeast of Phoenix in Maricopa County on 40 square miles of land of what is considered the Central Arizona Upper Sonoran Desert as their home. The tribe is home to 950 members.
Ft. McDowell members in attendance included:
• Alfonso Rodriguez, Director, Community and Economic Development Division
• Erika McCalvin, Planner
• Darrell Isaac, Engineer
• Justin Perry, License and Property Manager
AAED Members included:
• Kari McCormick, Kitchell
• Rick Ireland, Arrington Watkins
- Jacqui Sabo, Goodmans Interior Structures
- Bob Roessel, SRP
- Ryan Winkle, NEDCO
- Will Towne, Yavapai Prescott
- Peter Bourgois, Tribal Planner
- Paul Sarantes, Archicon
- Robin Reynolds, Ak Chin Industrial Park Economic Development
- Scott Cooper, Fountain Hills Economic Development Specialist
First on the agenda was the introduction by Alfonso Rodriquez of the Ft. McDowell Yavapai staff and an overview of their Economic Development efforts. Specifically the tribe is most proud of their new Child Development Center not only because it was a huge collaborative effort amongst many stake holders including the tribal government, planning, construction, land use and community members, but also flexibility and repurposing were incorporated into the design in anticipation of new needs that may arise over the life of the property. Planning and designing flexibility into the project is a creative way to extend the life/purpose of the property.
The agenda consisted of the tour of several of their enterprises including:
- Eagle View RV Resort – At the time of development, it was in demand and was an easy use of the land that didn’t desecrate the environment. It is still making money today.
- The Farm – the highlight of the visit. Harold Payne who is the manager of The Farm has a degree in Agronomy. In order to develop The Farm and make it a successful business venture, several criteria were required:
- Easily harvested
- Low Impact on Land
Facts about The Farm include:
- 2,000 total acres
- 1,000 acres of Pecans
- 700 acres of Barley
- 300 acres of Citrus consisting of lemons, tangerines, tangelos, navel oranges
- Ft. McDowell Adventures – Houses the recreation and hospitality center where eco-tourism and cultural tourism are offered. Activities include horseback riding, catered BBQs, and Eaglet watching.
So you are probably wondering about the Casino. Yes, there is the We-Ko-Pa Resort and Casino and Golf Course with more planned development around the casino, but it is not the only enterprise on the reservation yet its economic impact is immense.
The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation has been a leader in giving back to Arizona communities since the establishment of its casino. This willingness to share with neighbors is a central facet of Yavapai culture and is reflected in its current motto, “Never give up; always give back.”
Over the years, Fort McDowell has shared of its prosperity with a number of organizations that serve the public, stimulate economic and community development and promote education. Some donations made by Fort McDowell include:
- Local Non-Profit Organizations
- Maricopa County
- National Non Profits
- School Districts and School Programs
- Tourism Programs
- Public Safety-Law Enforcement-Fire Departments
The visit culminated in a wonderful lunch at the resort with a thank you by AAED in the form of two student scholarships to be applied to AAED membership. This is a new tradition to encourage economic development professional development. The meeting officially ended at 1:30.