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. Fly By says:

    Bad weather keeps people away this time of year.

  2. Ralph says:

    Sedona apply for statehood

  3. Gertrude says:


  4. Former Sedona Residents says:

    Maybe the most beneficial action for Sedona legitimate residents to pursue would be to organize a movement and take action to DISINCORPORATE! It can be done but with tremendous effort and cooperation from those who care.

  5. Gregg says:

    People can’t get to a voting booth or mail back ballots without having someone tell them how and what to do. Political parties know this and get away with harvesting ballots illegally. Disincorporation is a pipe dream.

  6. @Former Sedona Residents says:

    Sedona voters continually affirm so-called “Home Rule” by wide margins every time it comes up despite well reasoned arguments against it, and you think disincorporation is possible? Ha! Dream on.

  7. Kyle says:

    #1 nobody reads or listens to good advice and need to be scared bad is coming to their house
    #2 nobody listens to politicians about politics
    #3 nobody wants to be bothered with problems
    #4 nobody avoids looking at accidents and hangings
    #5 nobody avoids listening to the loudest foulest voice

    Craft your political point accordingly. Bust the opposition chops with gorilla tactics and negative publicity and spin the rhetoric and win! Better get started – you’re already behind.

  8. Bert & Maria says:

    Sadly we must agree with @Former Residents. Our intention was to vote against Home Rule . . . UNTIL we received the Voter Information pamphlet in the mail. It was a game changer when there wasn’t even ONE LETTER AGAINST THE MEASURE!

    If proponents urging voters to turn it down failed to offer reasons in perhaps the most influential form of publicity (voter information pamphlet mailed to ALL registered voters) then how solid was their argument against it?

  9. CarolDee Robertson, Prescott Arizona says:

    Sacred land trust violated by the city government every step of the way and new and old residents here better be aware and vocal to protect our northern desert environment.

  10. @Bert & Maria says:

    Actually their arguments were quite solid and they produced an excellent video, held well announced meetings and sent out a mailer. Unfortunately they did miss the deadline for the pamphlet, but if you had a lick of sense you would have been able to figure out on your own that Home Rule is a blank check for Sedona council to spent as much other people’s money on nonsense as they want.

  11. Andrew & Sally says:

    Speaking of a lick of sense @@Bert & Maria, why doesn’t Sedona (city) build their own legitimate Visitor Center & Bureau of Tourism on some of that Cultural Park property?

    Oh no they continue to memorialize a regional Chamber of Commerce by claiming they represent the “official” City of Sedona operation. (Visitor Center & Tourism Bureau)

    That is so much BS it’s disgusting if, in fact, not illegal. Please offer even one incorporated area that claims the chamber of commerce is part of the city/town. Betcha can’t do it!

  12. Americans says:

    Dear God, Let me earn as much as Donald Trump from all the businesses and employees and taxes generated by me (like he has and still does) so I can pay my fine local accountant to use the US tax code available to every American taxpayer to keep my hard earned money working to employ others and start more businesses. Signed, God Bless America the Finest Country in this World

  13. Charley M. says:

    Well some of us have to work to earn a living and don’t have time to attend meetings and/or read mailers because the volume is generally overwhelming. However when it comes time to vote the Information Pamphlet is definitely revealing. Just my opinion.

  14. @Charley says:

    Charley, all city meets are recorded and can be listened to or watched. You can also write in comments to be repeated during such meetings. Saying your busy, onely screams YOUR LAZY!

    If your so busy you dont have time to read them mailers? Now thats real funny, hope you have time to get an hour or two of sleep? You won’t write so delusional!

  15. Nick says:

    Sedonas beautiful views dont need development.

  16. Sedona Faith says:

    little of value except red dirt and views

  17. Mike says:

    Odd how part of council recordings get lost over the years..reason for recording the damn meetings was because every single one is busy. Sitting thru self gratification and bogus empathy by staff bureaucrats and toadies faking concern for residents q&a is life shortened and it’s short enough in this city already.

  18. Charley M. says:

    “All city meets are recorded and can be listened to or watched.” DUH @@Charley.

    The meetings to which I referred were the ones conducted by those opposed to Home Rule and NOT City Hall productions. Was the alleged anti-home rule video available via the internet as are the city council meetings?

    Shamefully those in opposition to HR dropped the ball somewhere along the line or the outcome of Home Rule would have been different.

    Why not face the facts instead of distorting reasons for a failed campaign?

  19. Phil says:

    Been awhile for me but like the kick in the pants for Sedona by Eddie Maddock.

  20. @Charley M. says:

    Regarding Home Rule, it’s pretty obvious that, as usual, it was a majority of Sedon-uh voters who dropped the ball, not those in opposition. Nobody should need it explained to them that Home Rule approval is a blank check given to Council.

  21. Sandra Smith says:

    Sedona lovely early March when we visit from Phoenix. To hot other times!

  22. Sedona Song says:

    Elected officials should have to sign a truth statement that allows them to get fired if they lie and misrepresent us. Sedona deserves better representation than what she has.

  23. Eddie Maddock says:

    Thank you, Phil, for your kind words and to let me know there are still a few people out there who take time to brake away from Facebook and other social media sources – apparently the recent rage.

    Change is good. Also respecting the rights of others to make choices is an admirable quality. In other words, isn’t agreeing to disagree what really separates adults from whining boobs?

    Probably the only real place our voices matter is at the polls, as was clearly demonstrated during the recent election for Sedona Mayor. And it’s time to accept the results and respect the will of the majority of Sedona residents.

    Congratulations from “the blight of Sedona” to Mayor Scott Jablow. And thank you for the time many years ago when apparently your felt it was OK to request a visit to my home for a frank discussion regarding Sedona politics. Wasn’t that back when you first vied for a seat on the City Council?

    Best of luck to you, Sir, and the results of the election reflect the confidence of the residents of Sedona in your ability to serve them.

  24. Linda Greene says:


    (Deleted by editor) Happy New Year

  25. Alfie visiting says:

    good day

  26. Dave, west Sedona says:

    Making this city work better is first and foremost NOT secondary. Figure out the problems and if it was created by decisions at city hall FIX City hall decision-makers authority to create problems. Streamline employees and improve management.

  27. Liz says:

    In the end we’ll be desert views because like people here have always done, they’ll move on and a AZ ghost town will arise and then dirt and finally dust. It’s what’s happening to the towns and countries people abandoned to come to Arizona and it will happen when Arizonans leave. Kumbaya baby.

  28. Randy says:

    City should have a tourism department. If there’s money to be made then sedona should collect it.

  29. mshobert says:

    How about that school in VoC becoming a cult? C’mon sheeple, get over yourselves! YOU will be long-gone before the pipe-dream becomes reality. Take a breath… Remember Voice of Choice? Retired grumpy citizens, ruling government… Y’all thought school kids were going to get kilt by golfballs, when they proposed the silly school. Roundabouts rock… nice call there too.

  30. Marv, Sedona says:

    @Randy – “City should have a tourism department.”

    Of course that would be the logical solution. However hasn’t the “city” of Sedona preferred to financially feather the nest of a “regional” Chamber of Commerce & Bureau of Tourism as a cop-out for doing justice to city tax collecting IN-CITY BUSINESSES WHO WILL NOT ACQUIESCE TO BEING FORCED TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS ABSURD SCAM?

    Wouldn’t the amount of money thrown to promote ONLY C of C members easily have provided a class-act and legitimate “City of Sedona Visitors Center & Tourism Bureau” of its own merit? Isn’t this the perfect opportunity to aim toward that upstanding goal and plan one for the Cultural Park property now owned by the “city”?

    Clearly they don’t give a hoot about Sedona residents and/or businesses unless their names are on the membership list of the C of C.

    Another example of that is the condition of roads in subdivisions. Of course, certain areas in West Sedona appear to have “special?” attention since roads are well maintained over there. East Sedona? NOT SO – except maybe the area where the new Mayor (Jablow?) resides?

  31. P. Mitchell says:

    second that

  32. Michele says:

    Wake up, Sedon-uhs!

    After avoiding the crisis for two years, Biden finally made his way down to the border today to see first hand the absolute mess that has unfolded from his policies. Instead of taking responsibility he blamed Republicans, climate change, and COVID. What an irrational liar!

    Here are the stats:
    1) Over 2.5 million migrants illegally crossed the southern border in 2022
    2) There were an average of 6,858 migrant encounters per day
    3) The Biden Administration is working around the clock to try and repeal Title 42.

    And the crisis doesn’t just impact towns along our southern border. The arrival of more than 200 Haitian & 500 Cuban migrants on makeshift boats over the last week overwhelmed local authorities in the Florida Keys! Emptying jails doesn’t meet asylum rules that aren’t enforced by Biden admin. Load the buses to NY, the Hamptons, Hollywood movie lots, Chicago Million Dollar Mile, New Hampshire farms, where they can get jobs and be model citizens.

    The Democrats had total power in Washington DC for 2 years and did NOTHING to secure any of our borders. In fact, they made things worse by promising amnesty and encouraging drug runners and human smugglers with non-existent enforcement. They allowed enough Fentanyl across the border illegal to kill every American.

    I’m done with being in a party that despises what my grandfathers and grandmothers sacrifices and worked to provide their children and grandchildren better lives. 212 Democrats voted an avowed communist anti American into a position of power while the Republicans showed us and the world how democracy works! Proud of you Republicans for giving the world a view of greatness in action while the Democrats rubber stamped Nancy Pelosi handmaiden.

  33. Sedona Winds says:

    Glad you didn’t sugarcoat it @Michelle the more I’m with ya & I saw how Dems Nazi lockstepped and Republicans finally discovered the roots of a nation with a true fight for the people a shining light.

  34. Cathy Thompson says:

    Cultural Park
    let it be let it breathe

  35. Lynne, west Sedona says:

    I love Sedona.

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