|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Thursday, 01 March 2012 00:00|
Deanna King has taken her share of criticism.
Over her eight years as president of the Cornville Community Association, King’s been accused of everything from not listening to “the people” to, in the extreme, being some sort of fascist dictator bent on imposing her will on the Cornville community.
In reality, King said she’s just spent the past eight years doing her best to work with others to help serve and promote the community she loves.
King and her husband have lived here for the past 12 years after retiring from careers in Silicon Valley.
When they discovered the Verde Valley and Sedona, they fell in love with the area immediately. Sedona, however, was just a bit “too busy” for the couple to seriously consider putting up new stakes.
One day while driving down State Route 89A, the couple saw a sign pointing to a golf course, and they couldn’t imagine where it was. A short drive down the road they discovered a model home on display in Verde Santa Fe in Cornville.
They made an offer on the home on the spot.
“I told people back in California we had bought a house out here,” King said. “They all asked, ‘Really? Where? In Sedona?’ I told them, ‘No, Cornville.’”
Needless to say, none of those people had a clue where Cornville was.
Neither do a lot of people in Arizona itself, apparently.
When the Cornville Community Plan was given a governor’s award in the middle of the last decade, King said people in attendance were scratching their heads when they called out the winner.
King has been working to put Cornville on the map, although she never originally pictured herself getting involved in this type of community service.
In California, there was never the time and in a larger city, it just wasn’t something King concerned herself with.
Soon after moving to Cornville, King said she saw there was a meeting of the community association and decided to go check it out.
“They were discussing an annexation issue,” King said. “It was getting kind of rowdy.”
The raucous atmosphere of the meeting put her off of attending for a while, at least until she became interested in the community’s then-new Windmill Park.
Rob Adams was out looking for volunteers to help with the project, King said.
“I thought this could be something where I could get involved,” King said.
At one meeting of the association, the group suddenly found itself needing to fill several empty seats on the board.
“Larry Lineberry pointed at me and said, ‘Deanna, you want to be on the board, don’t you?’” King said.
Thus King found herself “volunteered” for community service.
“The next thing I know, I was president,” King said.
King said that at the time she still had a lot to learn about the community, but she was determined to do her best. Others who shared her love of Cornville helped out a great deal along the way, King said.
“I’ve worked with some really amazing people,” King said.
King said she remembers how nervous she was in those first meetings, seeing as she didn’t have a background in public speaking.
About a decade and who knows how many meetings later, King said it’s second nature now.
Much has changed in Cornville over those years.
When King bought her house, it was one of a handful in the neighborhood. Today that same neighborhood is packed with homes.
Windmill Park is in constant use, King said, and the community has a comprehensive plan that many people worked hard to develop.
Wineries in Cornville? King said when someone first brought up the idea, people thought it was crazy.
Now the area just wouldn’t be the same without them.
King said she’s also proud of the association’s efforts to have Page Springs Road designated an official Yavapai County historic road after the state turned them down.
It was the first to receive the title, but it’s not the last.
Of course, there have been frustrations as well, King said. Dealing with other governments inevitably involves having to deal with headache-inducing red tape, and sometimes it takes years for a plan to be executed.
There are also the personal attacks she’s received from people who may not be fans of whatever the association happens to be working on at any given time.
King said everything the group does is open and part of a public process; it’s up to the community members to decide to participate or not.
“At first I took the attacks personally,” King said. “But eventually I realized there wasn’t much I could do.”
King credits not only those in her own community but those in some of the other unincorporated areas in the Verde Valley.
Together with communities like Beaver Creek, Big Park and others, King joked that they had come together as the “unincorporated rebels,” constantly attending meetings to make sure the voices of their communities were heard.
“I’ve learned so much from the other leaders,” King said.
King also credits Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Chip Davis for being a great person to work with over the years to address Cornville’s needs.
The community is going to get a new supervisor following the recent redistricting progress. King said she hopes whoever replaces her will also have a great relationship with the new supervisor.
King is stepping down as president of the Cornville Community Association in April.
“I can’t keep doing this forever,” King said. “It’s time to get some new blood in there and some new ideas.”
King said she’ll still try to be an active participant in the community, and she’s glad she’s worked with a group determined to get Cornville’s name out there.
“Don’t forget about us,” King said. “We’re out here. We’re a part of the Verde Valley.”
As for any other spare time, King will probably keep collecting the stray golf balls that constantly end up in her yard.
“I think I’ve got around 450 now,” King said.
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