November 12, 2017
By Les Conklin
The Greater Pinnacle Peak Association’s Board of Directors has not taken a position on the Desert Edge proposal. This article expresses the author’s personal opinion and not that of the association. In December, I’ll describe the top reasons critics oppose the creation of Desert Edge.
Here are eight great reasons why Scottsdale should create Desert Edge.
2. Product of Our Community – Former Frank Lloyd Wright students, Preserve advocates, several Scottsdale City Councils, interested citizens, civic leaders and aggressive critics have contributed countless hours of thought and effort that have culminated in today’s Desert Edge proposal. I am proud to have witnessed some of this outstanding effort since serving as a member of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission and a board member of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy.
3. Showcases McDowell Sonoran Preserve – The location of Desert Edge at the Gateway Trailhead showcases the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert and provides visible proof of the outstanding work of residents to preserve our natural environment.
4. Supports Education – The headquarters of ASU’s Global Dryland’s Institute, the Bajada Trail and thought-provoking, sensitive exhibits, will provide an environment and facility to promote the education of people of all ages and physical abilities. Long ago, Scottsdale’s Florence Nelson began educating inner-city students about the desert. Desert Edge provides a fabulous opportunity for Scottsdale to share its unique landscape, knowledge and experience with students and other visitors.
Promotes Environmentalism – People and companies are becoming increasingly interested in climate change and doing something about it. Desert Edge will provide an opportunity for Scottsdale and ASU to showcase their initiatives in this regard.
6. Unique Visitor Amenity – The firm that designed the 9/11 memorial has designed Desert Edge’s world-class, environmentally-sensitive exhibits. Desert Edge has been located and designed to succeed in an area that has a wealth of visitor venues.
7. Uses Existing Funds – Taxes will not need to be increased to pay for Desert Edge. The time is right to move forward on Desert Edge. None-the-less, I encourage the city not to forget the original Planned McDowell Sonoran Preserve, especially acquiring land to expand a possible link between Scottsdale’s Scenic Drive (Scottsdale Road) and the planned trailhead at Pima Road and Dynamite Boulevard.
8. Encourages Responsible Growth – What happens at the edge of growing cities and what remains of the area’s original natural environment is a concern of residents everywhere. It was a similar concern that led the residents of Maricopa County to establish the Desert Foothills Scenic Drive in 1963. It was that concern that led Scottsdale residents to restore and promote the Desert Foothills Scenic Dive. Moving forward with Desert Edge will demonstrate that the West’s Most Western Town has become a special place for preservation, environmentalism, education, tourism and forward-thinking.