Prescott Valley planner brings a love of community to her job
12/18/2013 9:28:00 AM
By Briana Lonas
New Prescott Valley planner Carmen Ogden drives 45 minutes into town each day and loves the commute. The Los Angeles transplant knows what bad traffic is so the round-trip scenic route over Mingus Mountain to her Clarkdale home suits her just fine.
"It's stress-relieving," she said. "I love the seasons here, the wide open skies and the stars," she said.
Ogden started with the town two months ago and previously worked for the Town of Jerome as its planning and zoning administrator and historical preservation officer. Prior to that, Ogden owned a dry cleaning business for many years in the City of Angels. When she realized it was time for a career change, she moved to northern Arizona and pursued a planning degree.
"You do something for so long, and at some point, you want something different," she said. A career in planning affords her the chance to give back to a community. Ogden said that everyday she is doing something meaningful that benefits future generations.
One example of Ogden's giving-back is a project with which she currently is tasked, the Owner Occupied Housing Rehabilitation (OOHR) grant-funded program, which aids low- to moderate-income level homeowners who are physically or financially unable to maintain their homes.
OOHR also provides building code and safety upgrades, Ogden said. More than 60 people have benefitted in the past decade, proving OOHR valuable. There is a waiting list of 35 qualified people and the community development department will advertise again when funding becomes available.
Ogden said staff has been meeting with the Arizona Department of Housing to find out how the next fiscal year will fare in funding due to budget cuts at the state level.
Ogden said she likes Prescott Valley because of the deep sense of community here.
"I want to grow and maintain the community feeling. People here support each other and work well together," Ogden said, adding that she appreciates the direction her department is taking with regard to its programs.
"It's quite extraordinary to see where Prescott Valley was 20 years ago, where it is now, and where it will be 20 years from now," Ogden said.