The city council’s decision to consider the petition to require a public vote on the Desert Discovery Center is a good first start, but if we want the preserve to remain pristine we must continue fighting against this travesty.
As a long-time resident of Scottsdale, I have followed the development and creation of the preserve closely. I attended community meetings regarding the boundaries, restrictions and proposed amenities within the preserve. Although the city intended to make some permanent improvements such as trailheads, a project the size and scope of the current proposed Desert Discovery Center was never included in the plans.
Instead, the community was promised the land on the northeast corner of Thompson Peak and Bell would remain untouched forever.
Three members of the city council including two incumbents up for re-election opposed a public vote on the Desert Discovery Center. Councilwomen Klapp and Korte will likely be re-elected; with only four candidates running for three open seats, there is literally no choice this year.
Preserve supporters should only vote for Guy Phillips to ensure he retains his seat.
Current mayor Jim Lane, also up for re-election, voted to consider the petition request. Given the immense public outcry against the Desert Discovery Center, it is likely he is hedging his bets. He has, however, shown support for the project. Lane’s opponent, former Councilman Bob Littlefield, is against building the Desert Discovery Center near the Gateway Trailhead.
He opposes its proposed scope — 30-plus acres — the proposed commercial uses — cafeteria, meeting rooms — which violate the preserve ordinance, and the expenditure of over $70 million of our tax dollars to build it.
Voters have a clear choice for mayor — either vote for the incumbent and watch the council build a facility larger than the Musical Instrument Museum across the street from our homes or vote for Bob Littlefield and allow the taxpayers to decide whether their money should be spent on this project.
For supporters of the preserve, the right choice is Bob Littlefield.
Editor’s note: Ms. Schild is a former city commissioner and Scottsdale school board member