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April 2 event celebrates first anniversary of local operation
Contact: Ann Walker, 928-376-0100 (office), 928-210-9044 (cell), email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 1/27/2011
YUMA (Arizona) -- The Yuma community will celebrate the first anniversary of of the successful effort to "save the prison" with a special "3:10 to Yuma" fundraiser April 2 at the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park.
It was just over a year ago that Arizona State Parks announced it would close the famed local landmark at the end of March 2010 because of the state's budget crisis.
In just sixty days, the local community organized into "Chain Gangs" that raised more than $70,000 to support local operation of the Territorial Prison park and museum. Due to that effort, the City of Yuma was able to lease the property, and the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area took over operations on April 1, 2010. Since then, the Heritage Area completed major renovations to the entire park and refreshed and updated its museum.
But "saving the prison" -- by keeping its doors open to the public day to day and year after year -- is an ongoing process, local officials stress.
"We are in a much stronger financial position than we were a year ago, but the Prison needs a lot of care and attention," said Charles Flynn, Heritage Area executive director.
"We are seeing an increase in admissions, which helps on the revenue side, we're keeping a close eye on costs and we're going after grants," Flynn added. "But we'll always need the community to remain involved and committed to the Prison."
That's the reason for the second annual "3:10 to Yuma" fundraiser, which will take place from 6-9 p.m. April 2, and includes dinner, drinks, entertainment and a live auction. The evening's highlight will be the return of the Johnny Cash Tribute Show featuring Jimmie Ray and Cyndi Cantrell, a hit with Chain Gang members at the inaugural event last March.
Tickets are $50 per person, available by phone at 928-328-8716 or at the Yuma Territorial Prison, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"The focus of our fundraising effort this year is to purchase a replica of the Gatling gun that was on the prison guard tower," Flynn said. "I have heard over and over that folks miss seeing that, so we aim to get it back."
The April event will also be a great opportunity to see all the improvements made in the last year, Flynn said.
"Even if you've visited the prison in the past, we think you'll be impressed with its fresh new look and focus," Flynn added. "We've teamed up with the Yuma Visitors Bureau to aggressively market the Territorial Prison throughout the state and region, all with the goal of making the park self-sustaining.
As part of that effort, the prison now offers a "get into jail free" annual pass, along with engraved pavers for permanent installation along a "walk of fame."
Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area is an independent nonprofit corporation governed by a local board of directors. It was among the first national heritage areas in the West to be officially designated by the U.S. Congress. The Heritage Area's master plan projects earned the Governor's Arizona Preservation Award in 2009. For more information, call 928-373-5198 or visit www.yumaheritage.com.
Yuma Visitors Bureau markets the Yuma area within the travel and tourism industry and to the general public. Direct travel spending in Yuma County totaled more than $577 million in 2009 and supported nearly 6,000 jobs. Travel spending in the county also generated more than $36 million in state and local taxes. For more information, call 928-376-0100 or visit www.visityuma.com.
The Yuma Visitors Bureau is always happy to assist members of print, digital and broadcast media, either on assignment or pitching an idea with a Yuma angle.
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For more information, contact Linda Morgan at 928-376-0100 (office), email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your interest in the Yuma area.