My month-long fellowship will be with the Coconino County in Flagstaff, Arizona. It has a population of only about 75,000. Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector with an estimate of more than 20,000 visitor arrivals per year, due to its proximity to Grand Canyon National Park, Oak Creek Canyon, the Arizona Snowbowl, Meteor Crater, and historic Route 66.
I am super excited to learn about their development efforts for tourism, the regulation they implement to preserve the environment, any marketing strategies for their destinations and how they enforce the law. I will get to “work” in the county, visit famous tourist destinations I only see in books, and get to visit their jail and court house.
And among other things, experience the Northern Arizonian weather – sunny but chilly at the same time… with also a possibility of seeing snow ❄❄❄
I arrived Saturday afternoon (October 14th) in Flagstaff, Arizona after two (2) flights from Washington D.C. My placement was three (3) time zones behind Washington D.C.
From the airport, I checked into a very cozy hotel called the Marriott Residence Inn. It is the newest hotel in town which was only opened this year.
(photo from the internet)
My suite had a kitchen, a bathroom and a living room/ work space area, it was very spacious. I also had my room across the swimming pool area.
I was welcomed by a very thoughtful goody bag from the Coconino County, it contained snacks, nuts, lip balm, water bottle, a pen, a Northern Arizonian University (NAU) cap, and some sweets.
I also met the Pearlmutter Family.
Gary is an ICMA Fellow who travelled to Indonesia some years ago. He is a lawyer who now works as a Legal Defender in Flagstaff. His wife’s name is Lori and together, they took me out to dinner on Saturday evening.
They are both very passionate about helping other people. A really inspiring couple. They have hosted fellows from different parts of the globe and currently, they are hosting an exchange student from Kazakhstan for a year.
The next day, we went to the Farmer’s Market and went hiking up the Humphrey’s Peak. We were not able to go all the way to the Summit though because my body and lungs were not ready to go higher up the mountain yet. Flagstaff is 7,000 feet above sea level. Getting used to the elevation, according to Lori would take about 2 weeks.
ICMA did a really great job matching my profile with the Coconino County. They have prepared a really comprehensive program for my stay here in the county which would expose me both to their tourism industry and their law enforcement and justice system.
Thank you Coconino County and ICMA for this wonderful opportunity.