The Greenlee County Tourism Council’s collective bubble has been burst, but members aren’t giving up.

Back in June, the council applied for a $100,000 grant from the Freeport-McMoRan Community Investment Fund in the hopes they could take the initial steps toward creating the San Francisco Float and Trail.

They had envisioned luring people to Greenlee County by giving them the opportunity to float down the San Francisco River in an inner tube, passing quaint shops, a hotel and restaurants.

The council made it through a couple of meetings, but ultimately the investment fund committee passed on the idea.

During the council meeting Sept. 8, Chairman Phil Ronnerud and the rest of the council said they’ll look elsewhere.

“I know at least four people on the board expressed a strong desire to move forward” and suggested other alternative funding sources, said council member Steve Ahmann.

The council agreed they’d reach out to the United Way, Local First Arizona and the Arizona Commerce Authority.

In other news:

The Big Quack

The rubber duck race on the San Francisco River was cancelled due to the swollen banks created by monsoon rains and increasing COVID-19 numbers.

Colors of Copper Art and Wine Gala

The Colors of Copper art show is also in danger of being cancelled. The event needs participation from at least 25 artists to move forward and only three have signed up so far, said event organizer Barbara Ahmann. Artists have been reluctant to attend due to COVID-19. The registration date has been pushed back to the first week of October. The event is scheduled for Nov. 6-7.

The location of the eight-year-old event is also up in the air, Ahmann said. The Clifton Train Depot is still having roof issues and to move the show downstairs to the community room would be costly since partitions would have to be built to hang the art work.

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Clifton Town Manager Rudy Perez said after the council’s meeting he hopes the roof issues will be taken care of in time. The town has budgeted $100,000 for someone to take a look at the roof and offer a diagnosis and for repairs. He anticipated going out for bid soon.

Welcome sign

Stonemason Romero Ruiz and Ahmann are expected to begin work this month on a Welcome to Clifton sign that will be constructed out of rocks across from the Greenlee County Adult Detention Center on Highway 191.

The front will consist of a changeable banner and the rear will thank visitors for coming and invite them to come back. The first banner will have the Clifton flag on it.

The Town of Clifton provided the council $1,500 to create the sign.

Ahmann said he still needs to clear the sign with the Arizona Department of Transportation, but he anticipates the five-day project will begin in about a week.

Black Jack Climb

This fall’s inaugural Black Jack Climb on Highway 78 has been postponed.

A’kos Kovach, council member, said the council and the SportsCar Club of America’s Arizona Region need more time to work out all of the insurance requirements before holding the event.

They hope to schedule the event for April, Kovach said.

Survey results

The council conducted a Facebook survey with one question. They asked “What new event you would like to see in Greenlee County?”

The Top Vote getters: Festival of Lights, mud drags, horse racing, blues festival, county fair, drive-in theater and fiestas. (By the way, the Greenlee County Fair is this Friday through Sunday.)

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