[Source: Gary Nelson, Arizona Republic] -- One of Mesa's most treasured cultural gems is also one of its least accessible. The Mesa Grande ruins at 10th Street and Brown Road, regarded by many as a sterling example of the Valley's ancient Native American culture, has been fenced off for years because the city has lacked money to develop it. That will begin to change, thanks to Indian casino money. Mesa applied earlier this year for $600,000 from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to begin developing what will be called the Mesa Grande Cultural Park. The Native American community now has agreed to grant $150,000 for the project, according to Scott Butler, Mesa's governmental relations director.
Tom Wilson, director of the city-owned Arizona Museum of Natural History, which oversees the ruins across from the recently closed Banner Mesa Medical Center, was ecstatic when he heard the news Tuesday. "Fortunes are smiling on us all around," he said. While the grant was smaller than what was sought, Wilson said it will be enough to build shelters over the ruins to keep them from eroding further. Those shelters, he said, also will provide shade for eventual visitors. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]