Cities ponder history projects for Arizona centennial in
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 20, 2007
A gunfight re-enactment and repairs to Hunt's Tomb could be among the history
projects that will be popping up across Arizona in the coming five years.
Representatives of communities throughout the state rallied Thursday at Papago
Park and started brainstorming how they could memorialize their chunk of Arizona
Many now will form local commissions and design projects in time for the state's
100th birthday on Feb. 14, 2012. "This celebration is going to be an opportunity
for us to highlight for our young people what Arizona has,"
Senate President Tim Bee said.
The projects will come as the face of Arizona continues to change with new
homes, developments and residents.
Preserving history in the midst of development is crucial in Florence, which has
about 6,000 residents and is expected to have as many as 25,000 in five years,
Mayor Tom Rankin said.
"One of the biggest things for me as mayor is to get the new people to hang on
to our heritage, let them become part of our heritage," Rankin said.
He said he is mulling the idea of recreating the social lives of early residents
with re-enactments of barn dances and box suppers, in which women make picnics,
and men bid on the meals, and the winners get to eat with the cooks.
Rankin also said he has ideas of parades and a re-enactment of the town's only
gunfight. All of that could draw people in to visit the town, he said.
Phoenix City Councilman Greg Stanton said he already is on a committee with
representatives from Scottsdale and Tempe, and they are talking about how to
improve Papago Park in time for the centennial.
The golf course needs to be improved, as do vegetation, signage, hiking trails
and the pyramid that entombs Arizona's first governor, George W.P.
As one of Arizona's oldest communities, but the newest municipality, Star Valley
could do a centennial project to build mountain trails, Mayor Chuck Heron said.
Star Valley, which is near Payson and has nearly 2,300 residents, became a town
A point of pride in Paradise Valley is a small park with a statue of former town
resident and 1964 presidential nominee Barry Goldwater. Town Councilwoman Jini
Simpson said she could see the community's centennial project adding to the
Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley said he is brainstorming the feasibility
of building a plaza among the county buildings in Phoenix as the county's
These and other "legacy projects" could be funded with private and public money.
The state will be able to dole out $7.5 million: $2.5 million of public funds
and $5 million yet-to-be-raised donations.
"Five years seems like a long time," House Speaker Jim Weiers said. "But it's
Applications are online at www .azcentennial.gov.
Reach the reporter at (602) 444-6848 or firstname.lastname@example.org.