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Communities urged to plan for centennial

Cronkite News Service


Cronkite News Service

PHOENIX – State leaders, local officials and representatives of historical societies met Thursday to encourage all communities to develop plans for celebrating Arizona’s centennial in 2012.

Arizona became the 48th state on Feb. 14, 1912, and is sometimes referred to as the Valentine State.

The meeting at Arizona National Guard headquarters marked the start of a fundraising campaign to complement $2.5 million appropriated by the state Legislature last year.

The state money is earmarked for community planning and centennial projects.

The state appropriation is contingent upon communities raising another $5 million.

The state funds should help smaller communities in particular to showcase their historic points of interest, said House Speaker Rep. Jim Weiers, R-Phoenix.

Earlier this month, the Legislature approved a memorial urging each town, city and American Indian tribe to appoint a centennial committee to develop celebration plans.

The idea is to have each community start fundraising for local centennial projects, even if they haven’t been fully developed, said John Driggs, a member of the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission.

The group will oversee the funding of centennial projects.

Florence Mayor Tom Rankin said he is excited to start planning.

“Florence is trying to put together a committee that addresses all the ethnicities, religions and history of Florence,” said Rankin, whose relatives lived in Arizona before statehood.

Yuma is focusing on historic restoration projects such as Pivot Point, part of the 1877 Swing Span Pivot Bridge, where trains crossed the Colorado River, Mayor Larry Nelson said.

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