Protect Our Preserve is an organization dedicated to preventing inappropriate development of Scottsdale’s preserved lands.
The city wants to build a large tourist ATTRACTION in the Preserve called the Desert Discovery Center (DDC). There have been about 5 plans so far for a DDC, but the last plan (completed in 2010) had about 15 separate buildings covering over 72,000 square feet of floor area and would cost $74 Million to build. It also had a projected yearly cost overrun of $1.6 Million. It was to be located right at the Gateway trail head, the most popular trail head in the entire Preserve. Because of its popularity, this trail head is already crowded and has required several increases in parking area already since it was opened to accommodate all the users.
The special interests, pushing the DDC, have formed their own organization specifically to push the DDC forward. This organization is called Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale (DDCS). The DDCS recently got a $1.7 Million contract from the city to do yet another design of the DDC and develop a new business plan, but what they won’t do is consider ANY OTHER LOCATION. This gives residents the feeling that it is a done deal, there is nothing they can do to get it moved to another site, outside the Preserve, or stopped altogether.
We believe to build the DDC in the Preserve would violate the whole concept of a Preserve that was sold to the voters as a Preserve NOT a park. The Preserve was created specifically to prevent development in the mountains our citizens loved, and also in the desert land north of the McDowells. As development encroached on these lands, citizens got together and convinced the city council to form the Preserve and ask the voters to raise their sales tax to raise funds to buy the land. That effort has been tremendously successful and we current have over 30,000 acres of city owned land in the Preserve. The whole purpose was to keep development out of these lands, yet now the city wants to build a large tourist attraction right in the Preserve, and all without any public vote.
This is simply wrong, the Preserve was formed and bought by the public so as a minimum they should have a vote on what happens in it.