The Sedona Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center will soon be getting a bit of a face lift. During its Tuesday, June 27, meeting, the Sedona City Council voted unanimously to help with the costs of constructing a pedestrian walkway on the southwest corner of the visitor center.
It will wrap around the building to Forest Road. It will also connect to a project underway at the Forest Road Plaza, which is home to Chipotle. Council agreed to pay $50,000 for the project with the chamber kicking in an additional $30,000.
The Sedona Jazz Collective, owners of Forest Road Plaza, will pay the remaining balance of the $132,000 project.
The portion of the project the city is being asked to contribute to will create a new pedestrian walkway and Americans With Disabilities Act access improvements through the city rightof-way.
This will tie into the public gathering space, the Forest Road Plaza, the Hyatt Shops, the visitor center and the rest of Main Street. The Sedona Jazz Collective is already constructing the public gathering space and other improvements on its property and sought to achieve the additional connectivity envisioned through the broader project, a city report states.
“This is the type of partnership that I think we want to encourage and possibly do more of in the future,” Assistant City Manager Karen Osburn said. “It does meet the goals of the Community Plan in terms of multi-modal and in terms of creating a more pedestrian-friendly park-like environment in Uptown. It’s a project that would be very unlikely to be completed if it was just the city responsible for taking this on.”
The Sedona Community Plan discusses the goal to create a more walkable and bikeable community with less dependence on cars and includes:
- Safety concerns of pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Lack of alternative routes for bicyclists and pedestrians other than the highways.
- Lack of sidewalks and shoulders on many residential streets.
- Lack of public spaces within commercial areas that encourage pedestrian use.
In 2014, the Sedona Jazz Collective’s Joel Bowers and Neill Wise purchased the now-named 7,500square-foot Forest Plaza.
The building had sat virtually empty since 2008. In a letter to the city, Bowers and Wise wrote that they wished to turn the onetime office building into a multi-tenant commercial building, which they have now done.
“The vision includes converting the former bank drive-thru into a pedestrian-friendly environment, taking full advantage of the panoramic views and extending the Main Street store front rhythm and pedestrian experience from Forest Road to this site,” the letter states.
The former drive-thru will include a pave walkway, observation viewing area, benches with umbrellas, bike parking, public art, interpretive displays and new landscaping.