As a participant in the recent Flagstaff/NAU Community Conversation, I want to thank President Cheng for her forthright assessment about NAU’s vision. I moved to Flagstaff in 1972 to attend NAU at, what was then, a small mountain campus nestled in the ponderosa pines. Like many, I stayed because I fell in love with this community. I don’t believe that this love for NAU and Flagstaff is mutually exclusive. However, in order to maintain the beautiful uniqueness of both, there needs to be more communication, collaboration, and planning between the City and NAU.
Yes, the city needs to deal with a zoning plan that allows high-rise student housing projects that take over our historic neighborhoods. And yes, NAU can’t presume that the city can absorb the expanding student housing needs. No one may want to see empty residence halls, but the community doesn’t want to see the destruction of historic neighborhoods, traffic gridlock, or the decline in our property values.
NAU and Flagstaff need each other. By working together, these “growing pains” can be managed if Flagstaff and NAU are committed to plan for a future that recognizes the need to preserve and protect what makes our city and NAU unique.