July 30, 2008
The Honorable Janet Napolitano
State of Arizona
1700 W. Washington, 9th Floor
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Dear Governor Napolitano:
We appreciate your continued leadership in protecting and enhancing Arizona’s natural and cultural resources. The Arizona State Parks Board met on July 18 and 19, 2008, to assess the impact of this year’s budget cuts and to prepare recommendations for you for FY 2010 and beyond. We recognize the dire financial circumstances surrounding this year’s budget and applaud your ability to find and maintain a balance between the variety of needs of our citizenry and our current capacity to respond.
We are a Board that is made up entirely of your appointees and are seeking ways to reverse the deterioration of the State Park’s infrastructure. We recognize that FY 2009’s budget will be just as challenging as this year’s budget.
On July 18, 2008, the Parks Board passed a Motion regarding operating budgets in FY 2009, FY 2010 and FY 2011. The Motion is consistent with the constraints suggested by your budget staff. As part of the Motion, we unanimously voted to seek your support in appointing a Blue Ribbon Committee whose charge would be to determine the present and future needs of the State Park System and explore new revenue sources. The Arizona State Parks Board requests that you appoint such a Committee by November 30, 2008, and ask them to report back to you with recommendations on or before June 30, 2009.
Our current State Parks System is in dramatic need of new resources. There has not been adequate investment in our infrastructure for more than a decade. Hence, key conservation opportunities need to be taken to allow Arizonans and Arizona’s visitors to experience and embrace the special areas of this great State of Arizona. Arizona’s “lifestyle,” which is a major factor in our State’s growing economy, is dependant upon a good statewide parks and recreation system. State Parks has and should continue to provide assistance to local governments for their historical preservation and recreation programs. We would hope that you would charge your task force to answer some key policy questions:
- What impact does Arizona State Parks’ recreation facilities have on the overall economic development of this State?
- What new methods of financing could the State utilize in order to provide for efficient and effective parks and recreation areas and facilities?
- Should there be a priority in the acquisition and development of water-based recreational resources?
- What changes need to be made in long range planning and coordination to ensure the most effective implementation of the statewide park and recreation policies and programs?
- Are there new creative intergovernmental resources for management and acquisition strategies?
Members of our Board are willing to serve on the task force or in any manner you suggest to help with this necessary exploration of new funding sources for the Arizona State Parks. We have instructed our Arizona State Parks staff that this is a top priority for their activities if you chose to appoint a Blue Ribbon Committee. As your appointees, Governor, we share your vision of balancing smart growth with quality natural and cultural resource protection and enhancement. Arizona State Parks is a critical part of this and we are pledged to work with you to help you achieve a better Arizona.
William C. Scalzo, Chairman
William C. Cordasco
Mark Winkleman, State Land Commissioner