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  • Una Wirkebau

Celebrations

#WhyNotWinslow

Two Thousand Twenty One, has come to an end, and though I have only been on the job for a few short months, it is quite apparent, that there is a LOT to celebrate and to be grateful for, in this community. Yes, Winslow has a culturally rich historic past. The legendary Route 66 goes through downtown and the world famous band, the Eagles, and more specifically Glenn Frey with Jackson Brown, included Winslow in their debut album in 1972, with the single Take It Easy. BUT Winslow has greater depth than these tidbits of lore. Founded in 1882, the residents of this rural community, have grit and fortitude, appreciation and a neighborliness, not found in many other locations around the country. Famous people have flocked here over the years, especially when rail travel was the norm, with many stars and starlets taking advantage of the stunning La Posada Hotel. What is now the Winslow Lindbergh Regional Airport was once the busiest landing strip in the Southwest, and just this past year over 830,000 visitors stopped and snapped photos in our Entertainment District, along 2nd and 3rd Streets in our Historic Downtown.


 

Much has changed over the years, recently a global pandemic has wrecked havoc in both urban and rural environments. This crisis has also provided the communities here in Arizona as well as across the country, with access to funding for infrastructure like never seen before. Broadband, roads, bridges, utilities, the list is long; as well as many families who now work from home permanently, choosing to leave the city and find a more holistic lifestyle - where clean air and wide open spaces, are the norm. Winslow and surrounding Navajo / Coconino Counties are on the cusp of change, and will be part of what is referred to as the great migration to eclectic, small towns, where everyone knows your name. With that said, we have a lot of challenges to overcome; numerous neglected buildings, housing, infrastructure upgrades, lack of communication and collaboration not only locally but regionally and statewide. We are now in a situation full of proverbial lemons, and I am determined, with your help, to make some might tasty lemonade. Now is the time to Dream Big, to create a community residents and tourists alike say WOW too. We already have most of the ingredients, now we just need to work together, have a little faith, and leverage the funding and grants being made available across the State and the Nation.


Big things are already happening; Graceland Portable Sheds is opening a manufacturing facility in town, we have completed a SWOT analysis, progress is being made on our levy, a new hotel is being built, our Library has won yet another grant, we have two new sub divisions being created and rental units are close to being complete. There is a lot of interest and dialogues happening around more manufacturing and industry as well as workforce development and possibly even an entrepreneurial center. Very exciting stuff! #WhyNotWinslow should be the first thing said when the conversation leans to business expansion and community growth.



 

We need to work together, we need to be present, to volunteer, and participate in spreading the word on how we can all be a catalyst for change, for better things for our current and future residents. There is already a lot going on - I encourage you to follow our newly created FB page and Instagram too, if that's your thing. We also have a new website, and a group of locals who are meeting the 4th Wednesday of every month, to create a dynamic tourism and historic district. I am providing a weekly column in the Tribune, to reach even more people. There is money available right now for many of our businesses; a Façade Improvement Grant for up to $1000 - APPLY HERE and for those on Route 66 up to $10,000 is available with an application due this mid January, ASK ME HOW.


If you are active on social media, please tag your posts with #WhyNotWinslow. Do you want more events in town? Do you have a "thing" which needs to be fixed or addressed? Do you have a business idea? Please email me, let's chat. I want to hear from anyone and everyone, so that we can collectively do better. There will be a lot of interest in our little community these next few months; HGTV is in town filming, Winslow will be one of 50 small towns in the Southwest highlighted in Business View Magazine this March, and we have the entrepreneurial pioneer program - Moonshot, coming this April. Help me, help you. This is a fantastic town, you should be proud. There is a ton of opportunity here, let's collectively shake off the cobwebs for 2022 and beyond.


 

I look forward to hearing from you.


- Una