Tubac Historical Society fights to keep Arizona's first state park openPosted: Updated:
The Southern Arizona village of Tubac – locals call it the place where art and history meet.
It's also popular with tourists.
“Here my mom said it was the best shopping,” said Laura Garver of South Bend, Indiana. “And very neat because you've got mountains on one side and mountains on the other side.”
Situated among the mountains and shops is Arizona's first state park -- Tubac Presidio State Historic Park.
But the park is slated to close March 29 as a result of statewide budget cuts.
“The prospect of closing it and having a thousand orange cones with 'do not trespass' signs around it is absolutely devastating,” said Shaw Kinsley, president of the Tubac Historical Society.
To prevent that from happening, the Tubac Historical Society has teamed up with other community leaders in an effort to try and operate the park without state funding.
The group has determined that if they collect $30,000, they'll be able to keep the park from being permanently closed.
Volunteers would run the park, and visitor fees would fund the rest of the $60,000 operating budget.
Local business owner Garry Hembree has sold American Indian arts and crafts down the road for 29 years. He says closing the park would be hard on the community.
“Well we'll still be here regardless,” Hembree said. “But with the economy the way it is, having the state park here is just another reason to come to Tubac.”
Hembree says he would gladly donate money to help the historical society reach its $30,000 goal, but even then, the state of Arizona would have to change its policy from working strictly with government agencies.
“Our goal is to try to convince the state to work with a non-profit agency, i.e., the Tubac Historical Society,” Kinsley said.
He's optimistic that will happen, provided they collect the money.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the State Park Board said they’re hesitant to explore the historical society’s proposal for liability reasons, but if the society can find the backing of a governmental agency, the effort might have a better shot of success.
If you’d like to help the Tubac Historical Society with its fundraising efforts, you can find more information at http://www.ths-tubac.org/