Seiden: some thoughts on the Scottsdale Desert Discovery Center

Several weeks ago, my wife and I attended the Desert Discovery Community Workshop.

We have since read some highly negative comments about that workshop but we certainly did not come out of it with the negativity that some have expressed. We found the workshop interesting and were given the impression the consultants were invested in bringing new and exciting experiences to the proposed DDC and the architect offered to meet with any and all interested citizens to discuss potential future plans.

Actually, it appeared that some of the workshop participants attended merely to express their opposition to the project, regardless of what was discussed. In addition, we felt there were some misleading and biased comments being made by those who are adamantly opposed to the DDC before it is actually designed and proposed.

Here are some key points that we gathered from the Workshop:

  • The design of the DDC is in process. No specific design has, to our knowledge, yet been proposed. How can we be opposed to something before it has even been designed and proposed? Forty-five years in executive management has taught me to wait until the analysis is complete and the report is in before deciding on the proposal.
  • A museum off-site would not have the impact of an on-site DDC. The Museum of the West is being held as an example of why the DDC should be housed in a building in Scottsdale. While the Museum of the West and the Musical Instrument Museum are wonderful examples of cultural preservation, they house exhibits that are not part of the living desert. Like the Monterrey and Sydney Aquariums, the DDC can have a major and distinctive impact by being part of its environment.
  • This past weekend, my wife and I did some hiking along the Gateway trails among many other hikers, bicyclists and dogs. Are we all not already making an impact on the Preserve?  The Preserve is there for us to experience the beauty of our natural environment and adding a stronger educational component to the preserve will only enhance the enjoyment of our wonderful desert.

Admittedly, while we are supporters of the DDC, we do want more information and an actual proposal before fully committing to the project. We do not have preconceived notions.

The people who are leading the efforts for the DDC are the very same people who played huge roles in bringing the Preserve into existence, yet we find that their reputations are being disparaged by some of the anti-DDC forces.

We are happy to hear what both sides have to say, but we want to see what is actually proposed before making an informed decision.

Editor’s note: Mr. Seiden is a resident of Scottsdale

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