Home » City Government, Community, General » Eddie Maddock: Cultural Park Sacred Land, the Unsettled Controversy

Eddie Maddock: Cultural Park Sacred Land, the Unsettled Controversy


SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie S. Maddock reminds Sedona AZ politicians and voters that the USFS continues to protect sacred lands surrounding its city limits. The renamed “Cultural Park” was once part of reservation land, traded and then redesignated by Sedona politicians for “public use.” Developers and city politicians now want to bulldoze and build government subsidized housing on this sacred land citing a “perceived” need for it, just as the Cultural Park was once itself a failed “perceived” city use plan.

Sedona AZIs it possible this small and beautiful dot on the universal map – Sedona, Arizona – has had any issues which have not been disputed at least to some extent?

The story of the Cultural Park has been adequately documented for years now, and yet the scenic land upon which the failed venue thrived – for a short period of time – continues to be the source for an ongoing tug of war.

The birth of the Cultural Park was largely generated by a “perceived” need to hold outdoor annual functions such as “Jazz on the Rocks,” a jazz series whose performances were successfully received and well-attended at the Sedona Posse Grounds Park: Today, Posse Grounds Park remains as the scenic area designated for most Sedona small town events such as July Fourth, however, and in time, the Cultural Park became less attractive for larger and more significant venues with its stiff competition by high-profile performances offered at the popular Cliff Castle Casino.

At one time the Cultural Park was part of the Hopi Footprints Migration Area and considered “sacred land” to the Apache, being part of an Indian reservation. The USFS continues to protect the area from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)) requests, and doesn’t divulge where specific sites are, what was on the property and or what has been removed. Originally designated as “Open Space Preservation/Conservation” on the Sedona Community Plan Use Map, it was soon amended to “Public/Semi-public” allegedly “in order to accommodate the community cultural facilities and amenities.”

Lack of affordable housing has become increasingly a national problem. It has become a high-profile subject not only in Sedona, but the entire Verde Valley as well. Sedona united with Cottonwood apparently, jointly agreeing to hire a “housing manager” to represent both communities towards a successful approach to what was acknowledged as a “regional problem.” On November 26, 2021, Sedona hired a “housing manager.” Does Cottonwood stand “united” with Sedona and share the cost of the service performance of that employee?

Reflecting on decisions of the past, the Nepenthe housing project in the Sedona city limits was approved as “workforce/affordable” and, yet, for some reason that specific purpose must have been left out of the development agreement. Wonder why?

Hmmm . . . that’s just one example of questionable decisions contributing to the present housing “shortage.”  

In addition, over the years relinquishing proposed requirements for Sedona resorts to include a certain number of on-site living areas for employees was jerked around and “alternative” promises allowed for providing off-site affordable accommodations were all too often approved – and then never enforced.

How many of “those” promised alternative affordable facilities actually exist to this day, if any? And now, fast forward to the Cultural Park presently being considered as an “investment” by the city of Sedona for – guess what – to be “rezoned to accommodate affordable housing.”

Since the issue has definitely been deemed as a “Regional” problem, will that same “Region” be required to help foot the bill for the alleged purchase of the Cultural Park by the city of Sedona?

Will the entire “Region” have the opportunity to benefit from more affordable housing considering that people do have jobs in Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Jerome, Camp Verde, and elsewhere in the “regional” Verde Valley?

Will Sedona continue to be the “cash cow” to provide affordable housing for the entire “region” because now it has a “Housing Manager” at City Hall?

Prior to 1993, the Sedona Community Plan only supported USFS land trades for public/semi-public uses, open spaces or parks; Amendments to the Community Plan have served to enable land trades to be facilitated and completed.

It’s been reported that the city-owned land across from the Sedona Wastewater Treatment Plant off West State Route 89A, locally referred to as “The Dells,” will soon be the subject of a study for potential housing on nearly 200 acres. The city of Sedona has budgeted $75,000 for the study – some of which may be done in-house. If that is in fact the case, will the cost of this endeavor be shared with “The Region?”

Because the wastewater treatment location is obviously a more centrally located area has serious consideration been given to working with the “Region” towards seeking a valid direction for solutions, including funding, for solving the “perceived” housing issue? Instead of proposing the purchase of the Sedona Cultural Park?

Why shouldn’t Sedona benefit from contributing necessary acreage as consideration for its participation in a joint venture and encourage other jurisdictions to foot the bill for development of more affordable housing on existing available land? So – it would require approval from Yavapai County. Why should that be an issue when this is also a “county” problem and doesn’t just exist within Sedona City Limits?

 If Sedona can afford to purchase the Cultural Park property, why wouldn’t they consider returning it to the United States Forest Service to be maintained as “Open Space?”  

Or better yet wouldn’t a National Scenic Area designation be more appropriate and also even more in compliance with the Community Plan to preserve open space?

Or maybe the situation might best be summed up with the following words as written by Toby McLeod, April 4, 2020:

“Hopi Prophecy – A Timeless Warning”

“. . . . . .having worried about an impending apocalypse, one seems to be upon us now, as a wounded Mother Earth humbles her human children. Thomas Banyacya usually warned of natural disasters like storm and earthquakes, fires and floods, lightening and hurricanes – clear signs that nature was responding to abusive, careless humans. As I reviewed the two Las Vegas talks I found that, sure enough, he warned of ‘more sickness that can’t be cured for a long time’ during an era when ‘the seasons are going to change.’ “

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – does that ring a bell?


  1. Eddie Maddock says:

    FYI: Because of the increased number of helicopters recently, information resulting from a phone call to the Sedona Airport revealed the reason is due to a fire in the Mund’s Park area. 9:30 AM 7/17/2022

  2. Heads Up says:

    DON’T SAY THIS CANNOT EVER HAPPEN TO YOU. https://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/committee-fire-burning-east-of-sedona-on-munds-mountain-burns-100-acres

    Time to set sensible priorities beginning with A DIFFERENT CITY COUNCIL . That includes the mayor and having a separate election to make the selection is ridiculous. It should revert to the original policy – that the city council appropriately decides on who the “mayor” will be since the “power” essentially is equally distributed among all city council members.

  3. Kia Levine, Flagstaff says:

    A friend sent this packed with good information: don’t know where they got it but looks like it’s reputable and good for people to know and look for it online to:

    Bloomberg reported last Friday that ByteDance Ltd., the Chinese company that owns TikTok had confirmed that some company employees based in China can access the personal information of TikTok users in the United States.

    TikTok’s admission was in a letter responding to nine US Republican senators who had accused the popular video app and its parent company, ByteDance, of monitoring American citizens. The senators contacted ByteDance demanding to know if Chinese-based TikTok employees had access to Americans’ user data.

    In their June 27 letter to ByteDance, the Republican senators cited a BuzzFeed report that TikTok’s US user data had been accessed by company engineers in China. The senators accused TikTok and ByteDance of using that access to surveil American citizens.

    In a June 30 letter responding to the senators, ByteDance CEO Shou Zi Chew said that Chinese employees who have cleared internal security protocols can access certain information from US TikTok users. However, he said this user data is not shared with the Chinese government and is subject to “robust cybersecurity controls.”

    According to Bloomberg, TikTok said it was working with the US government to strengthen data security for US user information, especially information defined as “protected” by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, CFIUS.

    This data security effort, “Project Texas,” includes keeping US data physically stored on US servers owned by software giant Oracle Corp. TikTok is shifting its platform to Oracle’s cloud infrastructure as well, meaning the app and algorithm for US users will also be accessed and deployed from domestic data centers.

    Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn told Bloomberg last week that the letter from Shou Zi Chew confirmed that the fears Senate Republicans had about the CCP’s influence in TikTok “were well-founded.”

    Blackburn warned Americans who use TikTok that they should know that the Communist Chinese have access to their personal information.

  4. Ben Solomon says:

    Heads up on this one. The recent notice mailed by the city indicates $20M has been budgeted (fiscal year 23) “Strategic Property Acquisition”. (For management of land development congruent with the Community Plan.)

    Early ballots to vote for a change of mayor will be in the mail very soon. Although it will take a vote of four on the city council to make a change, please don’t miss an opportunity to make a difference if you really care about the future of Sedona.

    This issue us BIG!

  5. Sedona Rocky says:

    Public use means a park with no builds like surrounding USFS has to follow .

  6. Jason Williams says:

    Heads up, Folks. At the meeting on Nov 22 City Council voted UNANIMOUSLY to approve the purchase of the Cultural Park. They intend to issue $10.2 million worth of excise tax bonds to pay for “part” of the purchase!

    To hell with that “alleged” temporary half cent sales tax and the conditional “sunset” date. “They” have not a care about the beauty, integrity, or preservation of Sedona.

    Just wait until this latest city acquisition reaches the drawing board for REZONING! Shameful? But isn’t it those allowing it to happen, Sedona voting residents, who are to blame for the ongoing travesty and destruction of the area?

    To hell with Keep Sedona Beautiful! BTW – Where is that lame organization these days anyway?

  7. West sedona Dave says:

    So you would rather have a developer buy the property and the city have little to say in its development?….you people really need to think things through!….its private land for sale….what do you think a developer can do seeing it is now zoned for a outdoor music event venue?…..your either dumb, stupid or have no clue how things work?….and that .5 cent tax is killing you financially….screw the 4% the state takes…..you people are nuts….move away….Im sure some air B&B corporation would love to buy your home! JFC!

  8. Jason Williams says:

    Thanks so much West sedona Dave (no capital “S”?) for your prompt attention to the concerns of stupid people who apparently (in your opinion) lack the ability to think things through.

    The land was rezoned for projects pertaining to public use which some think was manipulated to create the previous approval of the Cultural Park. Hmmm . . . Therefore any future development requiring a zone change might rightfully be challenged by those opposing the historically deemed “sacred” land.

    A calculated risk might be the unseen karma attached to that property! Why do you suppose, Mr. West sedona Dave, the Cultural Park failed? Any chance the money making endeavor was cursed from the beginning? Oh but of course not.

    Ha! Wait and see.

  9. Cultural Park Joke says:

    Where were hotels and timeshares and airbnbs decades ago? They come and go and change. Plan on it. Don’t plan to try and change it. Leave it alone and that’s the right thing to do because you’re not capable of being better than Mother Earth.

  10. Kevin says:

    Development? Be instrumental in its DEVELOPMENT?!?!?!?! Who made you freaking God of the Earth and Sedona?!?!???? Your POLITICAL egos stink up this city!!!!!!!

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