We are putting the wrap on 2018 with the last paper of the year. Next week, you will find a lengthy “year in review” story as we look back over 2018 and its major news events.
On a daily or weekly basis, the wheels seem to turn slowly, but looking back it becomes more clear that Wickenburg is experiencing a lot of activity. And that momentum is already carrying us into 2019.
Growth continues in the business community. Most recently, the Maverik fuel station and convenience store opened on W. Wickenburg Way. With smart phones and vehicle navigation systems now directing drivers to lower priced fuel, the new store is likely to pull additional travelers through town.
Meanwhile, the walls are going up for the new Auto Zone store near Country Club Park. Desert Diesel recently opened in the former Wickenburg Tire building on N. Tegner. And, a new off-road race shop appeared a few months ago on W. Wickenburg Way.
In the equine world, the arenas in Wickenburg and surrounding areas are busy every day with ropings. NRS purchased Double D Western World and has revamped the store as well as adding trailer sales on the south side of town. In addition, Bishop Trailer Sales set up shop near Rancho Rio.
Downtown continues to perk with activity as the merchants group has begun to gel and produce some collective activities. Snap Fitness has enjoyed almost a year of business and is still going strong.
Arby’s filled the empty fast food spot on Hwy. 93; Kona Yogurt went in next to the post office; Spurs relocated to downtown; and two new barbecue restaurants are set to open soon.
Further out, Vulture City restorations were finished and owners are working to make it a destination. Kay El Bar guest ranch reopened. And, Castle Hot Springs has risen from the ashes to become an exclusive resort.
Back in town, plans for a new senior center continue to inch forward. A well-known rodeo contractor is eyeing Wickenburg for weekly rodeos during the cooler months. Wickenburg Ranch continues to grow with new designs and builders.
At least two prestigious, high-dollar horse sales are planned here in the first quarter.
And, Freeport McMoRan continues to be in contact with local officials as it studies the possibility of a Bagdad mine expansion which could significantly impact the community as a whole.
Taking a look at some numbers from October, according to Town of Wickenburg records, retail sales were up 20 percent over a year ago. Lodging, arts and entertainment were up 35 percent and tax revenues from services were also higher over a year ago. Granted its just a one-month highlight, but still interesting.
This week, a large U-Haul facility proposal is being worked on. It will likely be approved and become a cornerstone for more development between Rincon Road and Wickenburg Ranch.
We will also see the long-talked-about roundabouts begin to go in on Hwy. 93 in the near future.
The possibility of a new building to house the police department and dispatch is still waiting in the wings, and a new fire department building at Wickenburg Ranch is around the bend.
Growth isn’t coming to Wickenburg. It’s here.
Those interested in how and when development takes place should watch the Sun for information and also keep an eye on the Town Council and Planning and Zoning agendas. They are always available on the town website.
As more people, businesses and development come to Wickenburg from elsewhere, keeping our focus on what makes us unique will become even more important – western atmosphere, friendly faces and small town familiarity.