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YUMA, ARIZONA – In the past year, Arizona’s ongoing budget crisis has posed a major challenge for Yuma, as both of its state parks – the anchors of its riverfront revitalization – were threatened with closure.
The Yuma Quartermaster Depot was first on the chopping block, set to close in the fall of 2009. Instead, the City of Yuma stepped forward to lease the property, with the Heritage Area assuming responsibility for day-to-day operations. As part of the plan to “save” the Quartermaster Depot, Yuma Visitors Bureau also moved its Visitor Information Center into the entrance building, providing a daily presence to oversee free admission to the park. This has been a “win-win,” doubling walk-in traffic at the Visitor Information Center and tripling park attendance last year. But as the state’s budget hole grew, the Yuma Territorial Prison was also slated for closure at the end of the 2010 winter season. Spurred by community reaction, the Heritage Area spearheaded a fast and furious 60-day campaign to raise $50,000 in donations to help “save the prison” by keeping it open under local control. Hundreds of volunteers joined “Chain Gangs,” each coming up with its own project to raise money. These efforts netted more than $70,000 to help preserve Yuma’s most famous landmark – more than any Arizona community has raised to date to rescue a state park. As a result, the Territorial Prison was handed over to local control March 29, with the city leasing the property and the Heritage Area operating the park. A major renovation effort was undertaken over the summer months, including replacement of the irrigation system and reseeding of the “great lawn,” along with renovation of the 1960’s-era restrooms. By the time of a grand reopening set for November, the prison museum also will have a facelift, including a state-of-the-art media room and new exhibits detailing how the Yuma community rallied twice to save the prison, first as a city museum that became one of Arizona’s first state parks -- and again from budget cuts that have otherwise decimated the state park system. Yuma is the only city in Arizona that has stepped forward to rescue and maintain two state parks, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to preserving and celebrating its rich heritage. CONTACT: Ann Walker, YVB Media Relations specialist: 928-376-0100 (office), 928-210-9044 (cell), or email email@example.com Visitor Information Center: 1-800-293-0071
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.