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Individual tickets now on sale
YUMA (Arizona) -- The Yuma community will celebrate the first anniversary 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 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.
“Almost half the tickets are already sold to companies and civic groups who have committed to buying tables of eight,” said Charles Flynn, Heritage Area executive director. “But to make this successful, we also need individuals to step forward to buy tickets and support the prison, just like they did last year.”
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 "3:10 to Yuma" fundraiser takes place from 6-9 p.m. on 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 big hit with Chain Gang members at the inaugural event last March.
"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 vintage weapon, 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,” Flynn said. "Admissions are way up, we're keeping a close eye on costs and we're going after grants. But we'll always need the community to remain involved and committed to the Prison."
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," which Flynn hastens to point out are a great way to support the Prison if you can’t attend the 3:10 to Yuma event.
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.
Media contact: Ann Walker, 928-376-0100 (office), 928-210-9044 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
Visitor Information Center: 1-800-293-0071
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