|Written by Lu Stitt|
|Wednesday, 25 February 2009 12:36|
Jerome State Historic Park will be closed to visitors for the immediate and possibly long-term future. The Arizona State Parks Board decided Friday, Feb. 20, to close the park this week.
“The board decided to close the park, along with McFarland in Florence and Tonto Natural Bridge in Payson because of needed repairs,” State Parks Public Information Officer Ellen Bilbrey said Monday, Feb. 23.
She said right now the closing of the three is a safety issue. They will be closed first to make the repairs, but also because the state is going to “Sweep $27 million out of our account Saturday, Feb. 28,” Bilbrey said.
One wall at the Jerome park’s building is caved in and the roof is in disrepair, she said. However, the park is also closing because of the budget crunch. According to state park officials, the parks that will be closed could possibly reopen once the financial woes have passed.
“We are closing. That’s it. We’ll be closed by no later than the end of the week,” Jerome Park Ranger Nora Graf said. “As far as I know, that’s the plan.”
Of concern to the town of Jerome is the drop in visitation to the town. Mayor Al Palmieri said it will be a big loss.
“The park draws a lot of people, so it’s going to hurt us. A lot of people you talk to in Jerome have either just come from the state park or are going to the state park,” Palmieri said. “I just don’t see the sense in closing those buildings and leaving them there — empty.”
Park rangers will be reassigned.
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