[Source: Pete Aleshire, Payson Roundup] — Seeking to avert an “economic disaster” stemming from the closure of Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce Manager John Stanton asked the region’s state representatives and Gov. Jan Brewer to attend a town hall meeting in Payson.
Stanton and other advocates for the nearly self-supporting park that generates $3.6 million annually in economic benefits reacted with anger Monday, when a supposed closure for repairs turned into an indefinite shutdown to shift staff to other parks. “Tourism is the Rim Country’s economic engine and the loss of the nearly 100,000 visitors would create an even greater economic hardship than now exists in this area.”
In addition to the town hall meeting, Stanton urged the lawmakers to support House Bill 2088, which would avert park closures by letting the state parks borrow money from the voter-approved “Growing Smarter” fund, intended to support parks and open space. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]