I have to admit that I’m having a hard time writing positive things about Wickenburg these days. I’m very unhappy about the way things have been going in town. Two things in particular really concern me.
One is the way the town is being sold off and developed at such an alarming rate. It appears the sole purpose of such development is to put money in the pockets of property owners, contractors, developers, Realtors, and title/mortgage companies. They dont’ care about how they’re destroying the desert and the town’s small town atmosphere. They’re motivated by greed, without concern for the long-term effects of their deeds. And the town’s government is in on it—since they can’t raise revenue with sales taxes, they figure they’ll do it with property taxes.
My second concern is the town’s economy. The downtown area continues to deteriorate, with empty storefronts and failed businesses. The economy can’t support all of the homes the developers are cramming in. There aren’t enough decent paying jobs. And the only new businesses the town seems able to attract (that don’t go under in less than six months) are check cashing/payroll advance places and dollar stores. These businesses appeal primarily to low income or fringe element residents—perhaps the same people who are contributing to the town’s increase in drug problems and crime.
I can’t recommend Wickenburg to anyone anymore and I’m very sad about that. I’ve been here eight years—you can’t imagine the changes I’ve seen in that short time. I’ve done what I can to support the town, by writing and publishing informative articles on this Web site, by making contributions to local charities, by joining the museum, by starting a business that paid more than minimum wage to its employee, by making major renovations at the airport terminal. I have never been thanked or even recognized for my contributions. But what’s worse is that other people are now beginning to take credit for things I’ve done. How’s that for a real kick in the ass?
I’ll be spending the second half of my summer off on a road trip, looking for a new place to live. That’s likely to make a lot of folks in town very happy. But you know what? Starting fresh somewhere new will make me even happier.
So if you want to continue looking at Wickenburg through the rose-colored lenses that the town fathers and local Chamber of Commerce appear to use—if they’re not actually using blinders—you might want to stop visiting wickenburg-az.com. You see, I won’t lie to my readers. I’ll continue to paint Wickenburg in its true colors—and those colors might not be as rosy as you think.