Hello, Northern Arizona! Well, this is my second-to-last column for you as Flagstaff’s mayor. It has been a joy and an honor to serve my hometown, and I hope to continue to find ways to do so. When I was growing up, this community nurtured my brother and me. This community made sure we had what we needed, and that we had opportunities. Many of you know that I grew up in public housing, the daughter of a single parent on disability. It was this community that made sure I could play hockey and attend summer camp. And my childhood inspired me to want to serve, to want to continue to build inclusive, thriving communities.
I have served on the Flagstaff City Council for the last 12 years. When I came on council, we were facing a recession of historic proportions. We did several things to help families weather the storm. First, we protected funding for low-cost, high-quality before- and after- school care, making it easier for parents to work and reducing the burden of costly childcare. We also accelerated infrastructure projects to help put people back to work. Then, we created programs to support small businesses, including strategic tax breaks. Through the years, I’ve worked to expand access to early childhood education and health care. I worked to bring a Veteran’s Home to Flagstaff, which will provide care and create jobs. We were also able to secure funding to address the Rio de Flag floodplain, allowing residents to leverage the equity in their homes.
I hope to see more forward progress from the new council and mayor. I would encourage them to work with everyone, regardless of political affiliation. Also, trust the guidance of staff members, as they are dedicated professionals who work every day to make our community the best it can be. Seek advice from those who have worked on issues before, they have insight and know the history of previous efforts.
I want to say a special thank you to the city staff. Working with you all has been an honor and a privilege. Thank you for everything you do, and everything you taught me over the years. And thank you to all of you, Flagstaff. Being your mayor is the best job I’ve ever had. FBN
By Coral Evans, FBN
Coral Evans is the mayor of Flagstaff.