Supervisors Join Congresswoman Kirkpatrick at Casa Grande Ruins

9/5/2013

FLORENCE – Supervisors Cheryl Chase, Todd House and Pete Rios joined District 1 Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick for an open house to learn more about a bill designed to increase the acreage of the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.

The bill, H.R. 2497, titled the “Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Boundary Modification Act of 2013,” would add 413 acres of culturally significant land to the monument. Congresswoman Kirkpatrick introduced the bill in July which has bi-partisan support from fellow Congressmen Gosar, Grijalva and Pastor.

“It’s great to see support grow for this bill,” the Congresswoman said to a room filled with supporters of the expansion. “We are standing on ground that is one of the most significant sites in the world. It is some of the best persevered 13th century land. This bill is trying to tie together the 13th century Hohokam and 21st century America.”

In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison placed the Casa Grande Ruins aside as the first federal archeological reservation in the United States. Twenty six years later, the Ruins were placed into the National Park System as a national monument. Currently the Casa Grande Ruins are the top tourist destination in Pinal County.

“Congressman Rick Renzi introduced a bill in the 109th Congress to modify the boundaries,” said Supervisor Cheryl Chase. “Congresswoman Kirkpatrick introduced a bill in the 111th Congress that passed out of committee and was eventually voted down in the House. I’m pleased she is trying again with this new bill. We can hope the third time is the charm.”

The boundary modification would take in land that belongs to private individuals, the State of Arizona, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Land Management.

“This would be a significant improvement to the monument,” said Supervisor Todd House. “It looks like everyone is on board to increase the amount of archeological sites in this area. We are early in this process, but the partnerships needed to make the modification go forward are already in place.”

Looking at a map of the proposed sites to be added to the national monument show that land to the west, directly east and by Adamsville all have significant Hohokam sites that were a part of a larger community in the 13th century.

“This could be a good shot in the arm for the local Coolidge economy,” said Supervisor Rios. “The Casa Grande Ruins Director said that over one million dollars are spent locally from people who visit the Ruins. If this bill will increase the tourism, historical perspective and the money spent in Coolidge and Pinal County, I am all for it.”
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