Preserve amphitheater to don Carolyn Allen’s name

The amphitheater at Brown’s Ranch Trailhead in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve will be getting a new name.

The Scottsdale City Council on Oct. 25 approved the motion to rename the amphitheater after Carolyn Allen who was instrumental in the creation and growth of the Preserve, according to a city staff proposal.

Ms. Allen passed away on Aug. 27 at the age of 78.

With the approval, the city will now move forward placing signs to rename the facility “The Honorable Carolyn Allen Amphitheater.” The city will assist those citizens who submitted the nomination in planning and organizing a ceremony of recognition slated to happen in January 2017.

Kroy Ekblaw, director of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, said it’s fitting for Ms. Allen to receive this recognition.

Carolyn Allen

Carolyn Allen passed away on Aug. 27.

“We think it’s very appropriate from the standpoint of her involvement in the history of the preserve effort,” he said during an Oct. 27 phone interview. “Carolyn was someone who was very instrumental in some of the groundwork that was done to ultimately get the Preserve to where it is today.”

Along with the proposal, an official nomination was presented to the city council, which featured 50 signatures of residents including several city council members. The nomination outlined Ms. Allen’s contributions to the Scottsdale area.

“Anyone who enjoys Scottsdale’s beautiful, undeveloped northern desert or the Brown’s Ranch Access Area needs to know about and thank Senator Carolyn Allen,” the nomination states.

During the city council meeting, councilwoman Virginia Korte took some time to share her thoughts on Ms. Allen and recognize those who helped make the renaming of the amphitheater a reality.

“I wish to publicly and personally thank Carla for having the conversation with Carolyn on what would be appropriate to honor her with our preserve and that was Carla’s work and Carla’s conversation with Carolyn to honor her with the amphitheater,” she said during the Oct. 25 city council meeting. “We as Scottsdale citizens are incredibly blessed by Carolyn’s leadership.  So thank you, Carolyn.”

Former Scottsdale Mayor Herb Drinkwater appointed Ms. Allen to the Scottsdale Planning Commission in 1989. At the time of her appointing, many activists were organizing to challenge the city’s zoning actions, according to the nomination.

Ms. Allen was also members of the city’s first Environmentally Sensitive Lands Ordinance task force, McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Advisory Board, Desert Foothills Land Trust and McDowell Park Association and Growing Smarter Commission on Land Preservation.

As a state representative, Ms. Allen used “all of her legislative muscle” to work closely with then-Gov. Fife Symington to push Scottsdale northern state trust lands off the auction block, according to the nomination.

Additionally, she was key in convincing the governor to sign the Arizona Preserve Initiative.

When the campaign for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve was going on, Ms. Allen was involved heavily as “one of the preservation’s strongest and sometimes only champion.”

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at or at 623-445-2738

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