Comment sought on nature park plan in Yuma

[Source:] — The public is invited to review and comment on the preliminary plans for a new park proposed for the Yuma East Wetlands on Friday.  An open house for the Yuma Nature Park, as it is now being called, will be held 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the room formerly used as the council chambers at 180 W. 1st St.

The park is one of two envisioned in the master plan for the East Wetlands and permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The proposed location is within Yuma city limits, just inside the levee at the alignment of Pacific Avenue.  The plan calls for picnic shelters or ramadas, hiking trails and access to bird-watching, canoeing and kayaking.

“For the past five years, our focus has been, by necessity, the clearing of non-native vegetation and planting of native trees and grasses,” Charles Flynn, director of the Heritage Area, said in a news release.  “But we always planned on making the area more accessible with a limited number of parks and trails.” [Note: to read the full article click here.]

Arizona Lottery funds benefit Yuma-area projects

[Source:, Joyce Lobeck] – –  Over the years, the Arizona Lottery has provided millions of dollars for projects in the Yuma area that make it a better place to live and visit.  Those projects range from parks and recreation to wildlife preservation, education, public health, transportation and economic development, said Art Macias, executive director of Arizona Lottery, during a presentation Tuesday to Yuma-area leaders and community members. He repeated the presentation in San Luis, Ariz., for south county representatives.

Since Arizona voters first approved the lottery in 1981, nearly $30 million has gone to help fund projects in Yuma County stretching from San Luis to Wellton, Macias said. A good share of that funding has gone to local transportation needs as a partner with the city of Yuma and Yuma County, he said. Lottery money also helped fund the rehabilitation of the Yuma County Courthouse and the Historic Yuma Theatre, the development of Gateway Park and the West Wetlands along the riverfront, the Urgent Care and Family Center in Somerton, electricity for street lighting in San Luis and street maintenance in Wellton. [Note: to read the full article click here.]

Mesa to slash pools, parks, arts budgets

[Source: East Valley Tribune, Sonu Monshi] – –  Mesa’s $62 million budget shortfall is going to hit city residents, as youth and adult programs get slashed, several swimming pools close to the public, museums bring fewer exhibits and some park maintenance is reduced or outsourced.

Top officials of the Parks, Recreation and Commercial Facilities Department, as well as the Arts and Cultural Department, outlined their proposed cuts on Monday to the City Council .  Parks and Recreation would take an $8.2 million cut over the next 19 months. The department stands to lose 56 full-time equivalent positions, or nearly 23 percent of its positions, beginning in January.  That would translate next year to 957 fewer recreation and aquatics programs available to the public. Department director Rhett Evans told the council that could mean more than 50,000 fewer users across these programs next year.  The department cut $1 million last fiscal year and the renewed deficit is going to be a challenge, Evans said. [Note: to read the full article click here.]

Camp Verde Town Council shows courage in park efforts

[Source: Editorial] — The Camp Verde Town Council gets it, even if it is difficult for others to keep their eyes on the prize, so to speak. The enthusiasm Camp Verde residents once had for the new 118-acre park has begun to dim. Just as people are selling off their RVs, ATVs, boats, dune buggies and other toys just to pay the essential bills, the importance of recreation in general is sliding down the priorities list.

So it takes long-range vision from the town council to stay focused on making reality of the plans for the park east of White Bridge. Camp Verde has too much invested in the park already to suddenly change its collective mind, chuck the whole idea and stick it in the classifieds with the quads and skateboards. [Note: to read the full article, click here.]