Manross: Scottsdale Prop. 420 prevents politicians from building what they want on Preserve lands

Proposition 420 was born and then embraced by our community from south to north because it gives us a voice regarding the future of our McDowell Sonoran Preserve, via a public vote.

Mary Manross

All those who support Prop. 420 are driven only by a passion to protect the land. The attempt by this City Council majority to build the DDC/DE inside the Preserve, use critically needed Preserve tax dollars to build a commercial development and deny a public vote is unprecedented!

Every major decision regarding our Preserve has been voted on and initiated by our residents.

The disinformation campaign waged by those who oppose 420 is flat out wrong! This proposition does not change, alter or remove the existing management structure of the Preserve.

The Preserve Commission, created in 1993 and composed of residents, will continue to make recommendations to the City Council as it has since its beginning. Maintenance, remediation, addressing any unsafe conditions and natural disasters will be addressed as they are today. 420 only prevents the politicians from building whatever they want in the Preserve.

The Preserve has been a phenomenal success and the concept discussed years ago for some type of development within the Preserve as a tourist draw is absolutely not needed today! That was then. This is now.

Folks of all ages and from countries around the globe are already coming in droves. Things have changed over time. We have all learned a great deal more about preservation and what it takes to sustain the wildlife and natural treasures that make up the heart of the Preserve. The only thing that has not changed is our commitment to preserve and protect this land for all future generations to enjoy and learn from.

The area known as the Preserve Gateway, at Thompson Peak and Bell, is the only “bajada” that exists in our Preserve. The “bajada” is the rolling desert foothills leading up to the mountain sides. It was the only McDowell Mountain “bajada,” which had not already been zoned and slated for development when we created the Preserve boundary in the 1990s.

Our beautiful Gateway major access area already provides trails — including ADA accessible trails — parking, exhibits, education programs for all ages, classrooms, restrooms, and a small amphitheater. Do we really want to bulldoze the only “bajada” we have left in the Preserve for a commercial development that would destroy an important wildlife corridor, allow 80-plus planned nighttime events, require nighttime lighting, sell alcoholic beverages and retail products, and bring in hundreds of tour buses right up to the bajada.

The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy already does an amazing job of maintaining and sustaining the Preserve in partnership with the city, providing outstanding educational opportunities at various locations throughout the Preserve and the city and partnering with other organizations on Sonoran Desert research to better understand how to take care of the flora and fauna within the Preserve.

Carla, a Preserve standard bearer, said in a message to Conservancy Stewards last year that development (DDC project proposal) is no longer needed to make the Preserve a success. It already is a major success!

Carla often quotes the late, great Chet Andrews. He is the co-founder of the Preserve Steward Program, along with Carla. His favorite mantra was, “It is a Preserve, not a park.” Once the Preserve boundary is penetrated, it is the beginning of the end of our Preserve!

Vote “yes” on 420. This is the only chance to save the largest urban preserve in the nation from becoming an amusement park.

Editor’s note: Ms. Manross is a Scottsdale resident, former councilwoman, mayor and current community advocate

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