McFarland State Historic Park could face budget ax

Ernest McFarland
Ernest W. McFarland, U.S. Senator, Governor, & Arizona Supreme Court Justice

[Source: Lindsey Collom, Arizona Republic] — McFarland State Historic Park in Florence was closed last week in anticipation of structural repairs, but if and when those repairs occur is up for debate.  The Arizona State Parks Board will meet in a regular board meeting Feb. 20 to discuss how to address a deficit created when lawmakers “swept” funds to help close a state budget shortfall. The deficit has threatened the closure of eight parks across Arizona — McFarland included.  Board members plan to discuss options in lieu of shut downs and take action during its board meeting.

According to a board agenda posted Wednesday, measures could include park closures; reduced park hours; hiring freezes; salary reductions; layoffs; and grant suspension. They will also explore alternative funding sources.  But hope may be in sight: Republican lawmakers on Tuesday moved to keep state parks open by taking $20 million from a land conservation fund.  The proposal faces a vote by the Rules Committee before going to the full House, where it would need three-quarters of the vote to pass.  

McFarland State Historic Park includes Arizona’s oldest standing courthouse and is also the largest adobe structure from the territorial period.  The park sits on the northern edge of Florence’s historic Main Street and draws about 5,000 annual visitors. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

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