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Many improvement projects under way
YUMA, ARIZONA - As summertime temperatures settle in, the two state parks now being operated by Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area are adopting a seasonal schedule and undertaking improvement projects in preparation for a busy fall, winter and spring.
Beginning June 1, YVB's Visitor Information Center and the Yuma Quartermaster Depot Park (201 N. 4th Avenue, 800-293-0071, 928-783-0071) will be closed Mondays. Hours Tuesday through Sunday are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last entry into park at 4:30 p.m.
The Yuma Territorial Prison (1 Prison Hill Road, 928-783-4771) will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesday, and open Thursday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Prison will also close from August 4 through August 19 for summer construction work.
Among the projects planned at the Prison this summer is a new roof for the park's entrance building and gift shop, along with replacement of the sidewalks around the "great lawn," according to Charles Flynn, Heritage Area executive director.
The sidewalk work will include creating anew the popular "time line" of the Prison's history in the concrete walkway between the gift shop and the adobe sally port that was the original entrance to the prison.
"People really loved the sidewalk time line, so that is something we were determined to replace this year," Flynn said. "With last winter's restoration of the sally port by an adobe expert, the approach to the prison will really look sharp."
Flynn added that work is under way on a special exhibit called "Criminal Prosecution or Religious Persecution," about the Mormon prisoners who served time in Yuma for polygamy, with a special touch screen that will access research by David Boone, noted Brigham Young University historian.
New exhibits are also being prepared for the Quartermaster Depot, including a new railroad room that will include a model train recreation of the first rail bridge across the river and an exhibit telling the story of the lively Colorado River steamboat trade once centered here. Another new exhibit on the environmental restoration project that has transformed the East Wetlands from a wasteland of non-native vegetation to prime bird and wildlife habitat is in the planning stages.
"Almost three years since taking over operation of the Quartermaster Depot and a little more than two for the prison, we are gratified that these two parks not only remain open, but are in much better shape," Flynn said. "This has only been possible because of our partnership with YVB, capital improvement funding from Arizona State Parks, strong support from the community and operational efficiencies, including cutting hours in our slowest months.
"We apologize for any inconvenience to our summer visitors, and hope they'll schedule a return visit to see our improvements in the fall," Flynn said, adding that both parks will resume a seven-day schedule Oct. 1.
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. Don't forget that though Arizona's official "birthday" has passed, our bold Centennial offer still stands: guests at participating Yuma hotels eat free every day the sun doesn't shine - through July 31 of this year! Get more info & download a visitors guide at visityuma.com.
A longtime favorite with sun-seeking snowbirds, Yuma's population nearly doubles in the winter months, thanks to more than 23,000 spots in RV parks and resorts. The community also offers nearly 4,000 hotel rooms, conference and meeting facilities, and three casinos. For more details about Yuma's year-round attractions, special events - and the rarely "cloudy with a chance of tacos" forecast* - visit www.visityuma.com or call 800-293-0071.
Ann Walker, 928-376-0100 (office), 928-210-9044 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
Visitor Information Center: 1-800-293-0071, www.visityuma.com
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