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By Trista Steers

Larson Newspapers

Yavapai County roads ignored by the state and federal government for their scenic or historic value have a new chance for recognition.

Yavapai County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to establish the Yavapai County Scenic/Historic Route Program at its Monday, April 20, meeting.

“I think we’re realizing the historic significance Yavapai County has,” District 3 Supervisor Chip Davis said. It is historic the board is even taking the steps to establish the program.

The county program creates a less restrictive designation process that is broader in scope than the state program, according to guidelines adopted by the board.

The Arizona Department of Transportation lists a total of 24 routes on its Web site designated in the Parkways, Scenic and Historic Roads program including State Route 89A in Oak Creek Canyon, State Route 179 between Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek, State Route 89A in Jerome, Clarkdale and Cottonwood, and State Route 89A on Mingus Mountain.

The county program will have a local emphasis, Chris Bridges, county transportation planner, said. The designation process will be free and routes picked will be highlighted on the county’s Web site under public works. Only roads within county-owned and maintained right-of-way in unincorporated areas are eligible.

District 2 Supervisor Tom Thurman said designation becomes an ad campaign to increase tourism, which in turn creates more traffic on a road. It’s good for the economy but bad for the longevity of the road.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee made up of two county public works staff members and three members of the public, one from each district.

Public Works Director Phil Bourdon said he isn’t sure how many routes will be nominated, but he doesn’t anticipate staff spending a large amount of time on submissions.

“You don’t want to just have every route nominated,” Bourdon said. “It needs to mean something.”

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