Town of Clarkdale 2019-23

Town of Clarkdale

The town of Clarkdale, Arizona is located on the banks of the Verde River in the north central part of Arizona. It is a thriving community and is the gateway to the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area in the beautiful Verde Valley. Founded in 1912, Clarkdale is renowned as the first master-planned community in the state of Arizona. Clarkdale has just over 4,300 residents who thrive in the fresh, clean air.

View Clarkdale’s community profile to learn more about its demographics, history, and sustainability initiatives.

Town of Clarkdale projects

Community survey

The Town of Clarkdale is a historic town, with a growing population and evolving local government. With the recent completion of a Strategic Plan, the Town seeks to conduct a community survey with its residents and adjoining communities in order to gather feedback about the Town’s services. The goal is to identify residents’ interests and priorities for strategic planning.

Taught by Kelli Larson, Spring 2023: One graduate student collaborated with the Town Manager’s Office and related departments to design and distribute a community survey to community members.

Bitter Creek Industrial Park

The Town of Clarkdale has identified several points of pride in the Town to be developed for business expansion and tourism attraction, including the Bitter Creek Industrial Park. Located near the historic Bitter Creek Bridge, the Bitter Creek Industrial Park has been identified for housing and industry development. With close proximity to the Verde Canyon Railroad, the Town seeks to identify strategies to redevelop the area.

Taught by Deirdre Pfeiffer, Spring 2023: Students from the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning researched peer communities and provided Clarkdale with housing planning recommendations.

Taught by Jared Schoepf, Spring 2023: Students from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering EPICS program used design thinking strategies to identify areas and methods for the development of a transportation design.

Community arts incubator

The Town of Clarkdale is home to a community of artists and creatives who host an annual art show. In order to cultivate a cohesive community of arts, Clarkdale is considering the development of an arts incubator to provide physical and/or social infrastructure to support local artists. Graduate students from The Design School and School of Public Affairs explored strategies and opportunities for the development of an community art incubators programs, recommended potential operating and funding structures, and identifed critical partners for the development of a community arts incubator to support local artists.

Taught by Johanna Taylor, Fall 2022: Graduate students from The Design School explored peer community art incubators programs, recommended potential operating and funding structures, and identified critical partners for the development of a community arts incubator to support local artists.

Taught by Daniel Schugurensky, Fall 2022: Graduate students from the School of Public Affairs researched peer community arts incubators to recommend entrepreneurship programming, recommended how to leverage an arts incubator for placemaking and historic preservation, and researched grants and other opportunities for how to fund an arts incubator in Clarkdale.

Fall 2022 final summary report

Strategies and Opportunities for a Community Arts Incubator

Employee handbook review

The Town of Clarkdale “Personnel Policies and Procedure Manual” (Employee Handbook) was originally adopted in 2006 and has since received minor updates. With recent changes in state and federal law and the addition of new Town leadership, Clarkdale seeks to update the Employee Handbook. Students collaborated with the Human Resources/Risk Management Manager to research peer community policies and best practices to recommend handbook revisions.

Taught by Malcolm Goggin and LaDawn Lingard, Spring 2022: Four capstone students reviewed peer community handbooks to identify potential policy changes and updates to Clarkdale’s Employee Handbook.

Spring 2022 final summary report

Town of Clarkdale Employee Handbook Review

Historic Clarkdale preservation plan

The Town of Clarkdale is a historic community that started as a mining town and has transformed into a bustling community. As the Town has evolved, the downtown corridor, 89-A commercial corridor, and the Bitter Creek Bridge are key historic sites for Clarkdale residents. The Town values its historical integrity and seeks to meet the contemporary needs of the community while preserving its historic character. Clarkdale enlisted the help of ASU students, coming from a variety of disciplines, to research and recommend strategies for Clarkdale’s historic preservation efforts.

Taught by Deborah Salon, Fall 2019: Students divided into seven groups to examine unique opportunities to activate underutilized space and engage with the downtown business community, via: recreation, local arts, eco-tourism, curbside aesthetics, public space utilization, and community engagement through local history and culture.

Taught by Malcolm Goggin, Fall 2019: Two capstone students completed individual projects focusing on two different aspects of historic preservation, specifically around revitalizing Clarkdale’s downtown business corridor. Hannah conducted a literature review and comparative case studies to develop funding strategies for historic preservation, such as creating a Historic Preservation Commission or implementing a Historic Preservation tax. Neelam developed strategic downtown revitalization recommendations by performing interviews, engaging directly with community members, and reviewing case studies; her recommendations included implementing a revitalization task force and addressing vacant buildings downtown.

Taught by Meagan Ehlenz and Kimberly Silentman-Kanuho, Spring 2020: Students reviewed existing site conditions and meet with city officials in order to develop guiding principles and strategies to revitalize Clarkdale’s downtown corridor as well as the 89-A commercial corridor.

Taught by Jared Schoepf, Joshua Loughman, and Mark Huerta, Fall 2020: Students assessed one of Clarkdale’s most valued assets, the Bitter Creek Bridge, for the structure’s ability to continue serving its function safely and efficiently. Students utilized a unique “Design Thinking” process to provide recommendations for renovating the bridge’s structure to accommodate more traffic while retaining its historic character.

Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 final summary report

Activating Historic Clarkdale Through Sustainable Design and Policy

Fall 2020 final summary report

Historical Bitter Creek Bridge: Innovation and Preservation

Designing a sustainable park

Clarkdale is the owner of a large 100-acre parcel of land, gifted to the Town, pursuant to a “Sustainability Park” proposal. Clarkdale seeks to leverage this space for both industrial scale sustainability operations like solar energy generation or green waste management; and also a publicly accessible education and outdoor recreation area. The concept has support from council and the community, as it fits Clarkdale’s character as a sustainable community, but the plan, which was originally created in 2010, needs to be updated and operationalized. Clarkdale collaborated with sustainability students to research contemporary sustainability practices, concepts and ideas to inform the proposal’s revision.

Taught by Nalini Chhetri, Fall 2020: Students reviewed Clarkdale’s current Sustainability Park proposal and researched contemporary sustainability practices, concepts, and ideas for the proposal update.

Fall 2020 final summary report

Energy Efficiency and Ecotourism: Sustainability in Clarkdale

Affordable housing policy study

Clarkdale, like many other communities, struggles to ensure the availability of affordable, appropriate housing. Additionally, existing housing stock is largely limited to single-family homes that are not appropriate for single people or smaller families. There is a larger conversation region-wide about this issue, and the Town of Clarkdale sought ASU support to investigate further into the context for attainable housing and strategic recommendations based on academic literature and best practices in the field.

Taught by Malcom Goggin and LaDawn Lingard, Fall 2020: Capstone student Jessica, researched and identified zoning and policy challenges related to affordable housing development in Clarkdale.

Taught by Deirdre Pfeiffer, Spring 2021: Students conducted a peer community analysis to identify best practices in zoning and policy for affordable housing development.

Fall 2020 final summary report

Zoning Solutions to Increase Affordale Housing Options

Spring 2021 final summary report

Affordable Housing: A Peer Community Analysis

Designing a smart town

As Clarkdale continues to grow, technology continues to advance. To attract modern businesses and residents, the town must improve its internet infrastructure. The town is currently experiencing lower-than-desired bandwidth, and there are no connection redundancies, which makes Clarkdale vulnerable to a loss of service in case of an emergency. The Town needs to activate new organizational infrastructure that requires higher bandwidth. Students worked with two sites, the Town’s community park and its clubhouse to develop strategic recommendations for the implementation of internet infrastructure, via the EPICS program’s unique “Design Thinking” model.

Taught by Jared Schoepf and Joshua Loughman, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Fall 2021: Two student teams investigated the feasibility and implementation of smart technologies in Clarkdale. One group focused on smart infrastructure, such as a speaker system in Clarkdale’s parks. The other student group researched internet infrastructure for Clarkdale’s clubhouse to serve the community’s students.

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Fall 2021 final summary report

Smart Towns: Enhancing Parks and Internet Infrastructure

STEM and sustainability park

Clarkdale’s Selna-Mongini Park is a point of pride in the community, and the Town recognizes the opportunity to revitalize the space for its residents. The Town seeks to update the park with state-of-the-art amenities and enhance accessibility, focusing on community wellness.

Taught by with Nalini Chhetri, Fall 2021: Students recommended sustainable improvements for the park, and researched STEM-related education components that could be integrated emphasizing the Verde River’s value for the Clarkdale community.

Fall 2021 final summary report

Sustainable Park Enhancements: Selna Ballfield & Mongini Park

Clarkdale in the news

ASU partnership may aid Clarkdale in revitalizing business district

The Verde Independent,

February 1, 2019

Clarkdale’s business district looks for support from ASU Project Cities students for its economic development plans

ASU selects Clarkdale as pilot for downtown revitalization project

The Verde Independent,

January 30, 2019

Project Cities aims to revitalize Clarkdale’s downtown corridor through innovative university-community partnership model

ASU’s Project Cities program connects students with cities for a more sustainable state

The State Press,

February 11, 2019

Project Cities recognizes past and current community partners, while also looking forward to new partnerships for 2019-20 academic year

  • Town of Clarkdale 2019-23

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