FINALIST SPOTLIGHT: Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Lake Havasu City is a unique rural community relying on our proximity to the Colorado River for tourism and water-related entertainment, coupled with our long-standing entrepreneurial spirit. Currently, 72% of businesses employ less than five people. Our closest neighbor is nearly 40 miles away. Consequently, we must be self-sufficient when it comes to services, workforce, education and quality-of-life amenities. This has led us to the problem at hand: demographic starvation — the inability to field enough qualified workers to staff the economic base.

Lake Havasu was built as a retirement community. However, this type of demographic does not allow for growth in jobs or sustainability. Over the next 11-months, we will decrease economic starvation with our Five Pillar Revitalization Plan, Vision 20/20. The five pillars of our plan work in conjunction with each other, in efforts to not only bring down the median age of our community, but also to invigorate our community with a long-lasting and sustainable effort that is driven by the community itself.

Upon reflection of our ABC team, a first goal of the committee was to decrease the median age within the leadership of the committee, in essence, making a practice of our core goals. Assessing various industries in town, we selected eighteen new members to add to our existing twenty-one.  Each member was selected for their leadership skills in their field of work, as well as broadening our range of community partners involved.

Lake Havasu City (1)

The first meeting was met with great success as all new members added were in attendance and ready to move forward with the 11-month plan. The group’s new median age is 47, down from 62. The larger committee was assigned to five sub-committees and given the task of working to create their project goal and metrics for our first quarterly submission.

The Lake Havasu City ABC team, consisting of 45 community members, representing 16 implementing partner organizations, and roughly 53,000 residents are committed to not only our 11-month implementation plan, but to the long-term goals of sustainability and community engagement in order to reverse our demographic challenges.