Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Quechans funded to finish Yuma nature park

[Source: Darin Fenger, Yuma Sun] -- With the recent receipt of a $600,000 grant, work is expected to begin soon on the Quechan Nature Park that will transform 10 acres of rough and overgrown land into a well-developed addition to the Yuma East Wetlands. Arizona State Parks issued the grant, which joins an existing $600,000 in the kitty to fund the project. Those original funds come from the city of Yuma and the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area. The park will be on tribal land, starting just east of the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge and following the Colorado River. Brian Golding Sr., director of the Quechan Indian Tribe's Economic Development Administration, stressed how the park will be good for people on both sides of the river. "It's really going to be an exciting opportunity for both the tribal and Yuma communities in developing addition recreational opportunities along the river, a place we're trying to mutually re-establish and focus upon for recreational, environmental and economic development needs."

The Quechan Nature Park will feature 4.5 acres of heavily developed land, which will offer an amphitheater, park ramadas and irrigated grass. The rest will be restored to a more natural and native state, but then left less disturbed. That latter land will boast a network of paths. Golding said construction will likely start in April or May, pushing toward completion in October or November. He added that the Quechan Nature Park will fit in nicely with restoration and development work already finished or going on along the river. He pointed to nearby Gateway Park as just one example. The land involved in Quechan Nature Park, although part of Yuma East Wetlands, will remain part of the tribe's reservation and under tribal control. In addition to sharing the land with the restoration vision, the Quechan Indian Tribe also contributed the time and talents of Golding and another staff member. Both he and Allyson Collins, an economic development specialist, have contributed a great deal of time during the planning stages of Quechan Nature Park. [Photo source: Terry Ketron, Yuma Sun.]