[Source: Sierra Club Sedona-Verde Valley Group] — The Sierra Club Sedona-Verde Valley Group opposes transfer of the AZ Heritage Fund Grant monies to rebuild the ”re-born” 600+ capacity Cultural Center at Posse Grounds Park. We are opposed to the construction of the proposed Cultural Center at Posse Grounds Park for the following reasons:
This property was proactively cleared of smaller plants in mid-Fall, 2007 just before the “area of construction” was outlined and a pole denoting height of structure were installed. Twenty large mature pinions and junipers and almost as many large (5’) native shrubs (Manzanita, live Oak) would have to be removed for the construction further degrading the site. Although the “Friends of Posse Grounds Park, Inc.” (“Friends”) have maintained that the trees could be transplanted; checking with local arborists suggests that the transplant success rate even under the best conditions would be far less than 50%. This Park is also already overused and overbuilt with 16 playing fields, West Sedona elementary school, a teen center, skate park, dog park, community swimming pool and popular hiking trails – and insufficient parking (less than 140 parking spaces). It is also not directly accessible from a major highway (as the first Center was) without first traversing contiguous neighborhoods.
City of Sedona money mismanagement; lack of city skills; and coercive behavior toward residents
The City has an obvious lack of skills to oversee, maintain, and run such a venue; we note the failure of the City to properly manage and ensure the Heritage Fund grant funds before its release to a non-profit organization responsible for building and operating the Sedona Cultural Park, and subsequent bankruptcy of the non-profit resulting from the City’s lack of oversight – notably Public money mismanagement. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
[Source: Sedona.biz] — The Sedona Cultural Park may have closed its doors five years ago, but it’s ghost is alive and well in the guise of the Barbara Antonsen Memorial Park and Pavilion. Plans to plop a geodesic dome in the midst of a recreational overbuilt Posse Ground Park (populated with 16 various courts, fields, underutilized teen center, dog park, swimming pool, elementary school and unregulated skateboard park bordered by two of Sedona’s longest established neighborhoods and one exclusive and relatively new subdivision) are moving along rapidly with the help of the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
The matching grant of $586,600 was awarded to the City of Sedona for fiscal year 1995-1996 and, in turn, given to the non-profit organization responsible for establishing and maintaining the Sedona Cultural Park project. However, the City neglected to protect its interest by securing the grant in the event that the Cultural Park defaulted (and when it did, the City had no recourse). Included in this grant were; a two level amphitheatre, site preparation, sod, stage utilities, tree preservation, landscaping irrigation, fencing, lighting, ticket area, picnic/shade ramadas, tables and benches, restrooms, roads, lights, sewer, potable water, gas, electric, telephone and signage. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
The 1891 Second Pinal County Courthouse at 31 N. Pinal St. in Florence is undergoing a major roof repair that will greatly improve the preservation potential for the building. The Town of Florence has contributed a significant amount of money to help with these repairs. Grants also have come from the Arizona Office of Tourism, Arizona State Parks Historic Preservation Heritage Fund, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), with the help of U.S. Congressman Rick Renzi.
Although nearly $1 million has been spent thus far on the roof alone, additional funds are still needed to repair the building’s chimneys and dormers, which are among the major defining features of the roof. Pinal County is still trying to raise money to repair these items, as well as the building’s front porch and moisture-damaged brick.
What you can do
- The county intends to once again apply for funds to the Arizona State Parks Historic Preservation Heritage Fund. Citizens can help by making sure the state legislature does not raid this fund to make up for its budget shortfall. To locate or contact your legislator, click on http://www.azleg.state.az.us/alisStaticPages/HowToContactMember.asp
- Others interested in donating to the cause can contact Ernie Feliz, Pinal County Grants Coordinator, at Ernie.Feliz@co.pinal.az.us or 520-866-7221.
- Information on the brick campaign to raise funds can be obtained by going to the Pinal County website — http://www.co.pinal.az.us/ — and scrolling down to the ‘Brick Paver Project’ link.
- For those interested in going through the building, the courthouse will be on the Tour of Historic Florence scheduled for Saturday Feb. 9. Details on the tour can be obtained by calling 520-868-4496.
[Source: Don Farmer, President, Arizona Heritage Alliance] — The Morrison Institute, in a 2007 study of ideas and public policies for livability and competitiveness, stated, “The Heritage Fund stands out in part because of the diversity of programs it supports. Funds have been used to maintain trails, acquire and maintain habitat for endangered species, preserve historic and archaeological sites, create and improve community and state parks, and provide environmental education.”
We have been so fortunate the past few years. Arizona’s economy has been robust without any budget shortfalls. That has made the Legislature much less difficult to deal with in regards to fully funded Heritage projects.
A look to 2008 has potential storm clouds. The Heritage Fund is not voter-protected. It can be diverted at any time by our state legislature. With the current state budget shortfalls and if history proves the teacher, the Heritage Fund will be subjected to diversion attempts.
The Arizona Heritage Alliance Board has been busy with the visionary project of a more protected and additive funding concept for both Arizona State Parks and the Arizona Game and Fish Department. We have engaged a public dialogue, with the goal of a consensus among the parties. One of the goals of this public working group is to see that the Arizona Heritage Fund survives the 2008 Legislative session unscathed. The working group has composed a “Pledge” for our lawmakers. We are asking them to sign onto our “Pledge” to support the protection of the Heritage Fund, wildlife programs, and State Parks from any cuts in the state’s budget during this session.
The full wording of the “Pledge” is located on the Arizona Heritage Alliance’s webpage at www.azheritage.org/. Click on link “2008 Pledge” on the left side. We already have several legislators who have made this commitment. If these are your representatives, please thank them for caring to make a difference. If your senator or representative has not yet signed the “Pledge,” please ask him/her to do so by contacting the Arizona Heritage Alliance at 602-528-7500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now is the time to work with the legislature to avoid any knee-jerk actions that threaten the Fund. We ask you to please take action this session to protect one of the most successful programs ever approved by Arizona voters – the Arizona Heritage Fund. It is not too early to contact your state senator or state representative. Just click on www.azleg.gov/alisStaticPages/HowToContactMember.asp. Thank you for your support!