Beaudry RV Co. concerned with Arizona’s decision to close state parks

Arizona’s decision to close half their state parks has Beaudry RV Company concerned for RVers as well as the state.  RVers flock to Arizona during the winter months and bring millions of dollars in tourism to the state.  Having parks like Red Rock State Park in Sedona close will be a huge loss as a destination for RVers as well as Arizona.

Last year California’s proposal to close state parks resulted in a strong outcry from park advocates, forcing Governor Schwarzenegger to come up with an alternate solution to fund parks. Other states such as Iowa, Lousiana and Idaho may close all or part of their state parks.

The Arizona State Parks lost over two thirds of its $26 million budget in the last fiscal year. 8 parks have been closed, 13 more by June of this year.  This leaves only 9 parks open with no guarantees.  “Many local towns depend on tourism revenue that the parks create, closures could be disastrous for these communities,” says Thom Sylvester at Beaudry RV Company.  “This raises some red flags.  We strongly encourage those who enjoy our great state to write local representatives in opposition of the closures.  It is a great loss to our state.”

Santa Cruz County soccer field grant to go unfunded

[Source: Kathleen Vandervoet, Santa Cruz Valley Sun] — An $85,503 Arizona Heritage Fund grant award announced nearly a year ago to add a soccer field, bleachers and shade structures to Robert Damon Park in Rio Rico was cancelled by Arizona State Parks.  All grants on which work had not started were cancelled in February by the State Parks board as a result of budget reductions by the Legislature.

On Sept. 22, some statewide Heritage Fund grants that had been suspended in February were reinstated, said Mary Dahl, Santa Cruz County Community Development Director.  She said the Joint Legislative Budget Committee reviewed a proposal by Arizona State Parks and gave a favorable response to re-instating suspended grants.  But grants that were cancelled in February, including the one for the Damon Park, did not get funded.

In Rio Rico, the grant’s purpose was to help pay for a soccer field at the 22-acre public park where there are two baseball fields.  Damon Park is west of Interstate 19 and south of Yavapai Drive.  The money was also to be used to build bleachers and add shade structures over the existing playground equipment, Dahl said.  Dahl wrote to Gov. Jan Brewer in late February to no avail.  In the letter, Dahl said a groundbreaking ceremony was held last December and recognition was given to the late Ramon Inzunza, a resident who passed away before realizing his dream of having a public soccer field in Rio Rico.

The total cost for the project was estimated at $171,006 and the county’s matching portion was to be $76,003.  Others who planned to contribute about $9,500 were: Rio Rico Properties Inc., Rio Rico Utilities, Rio Rico Rotary Club, Farmer’s Insurance, Linda and Walter Lewis, Backflow Technologies, and Joe and Lori Adamson.

Federal stimulus funds can be used for parks & recreation, says NRPA

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is touting a major victory for communities across America in the negotiations over the economic stimulus bill that is to be considered by both houses of Congress.  In the language agreed by House and Senator conferees, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will allow communities to use funding from programs such as Community Development Block Grants, transportation infrastructure, and the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund to support community parks.  Without the work of NRPA members and staff, the bill would have explicitly restricted communities from using these funds to support parks and recreation.  

Read how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will benefit parks and recreation.  For more information, call or e-mail Mike Phillips or Ashley Futrell, 202-887-0290.