Open-space planning must start early, state parks director says

[Source: Sonu Munshi, Cronkite News Service] — Leaders and citizens are failing to consider spaces that should be preserved at all cost as Arizona grows, and there’s no way to replace what’s being lost, the executive director of Arizona State Parks says.  “Planning in the West is a four-letter word; it’s a curse word.  ‘You’re getting in the way of people’s rights to do what they want,'” Ken Travous said in an interview with Cronkite News Service.  “Well yeah, you are.  At some point in time, let’s get over it and talk about what’s good for our neighbors also.”

Travous said a combination of factors keeps Arizona from planning for open space ahead of growth, including a shortage of public funding for land acquisition and newcomers who lack a sense of Arizona’s history and long-term needs.  “There has to be some kind of a recognition that the cost of growth needs to be addressed in the early stage so it’s healthy growth, so it’s not malignant growth,” Travous said.  “It doesn’t all need to be saved,” he said.  “But let’s take a couple years, and let’s take a couple million dollars, and let’s get some good minds together and determine what is worth saving at all costs.”  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]