Thursday, June 7, 2012

$350K sought to build Scottsdale Airport desert refuge

Courtesy of John Meyer "One With the Eagle" as it originally stood in the Scottsdale Airpark.

A Scottsdale foundation is seeking volunteers and sponsors to transform a vacant lot near the Scottsdale Airport into a garden sanctuary.

The Airpark Eagle Foundation needs $350,000 to develop and maintain a Sonoran desert refuge on about two acres northeast of Scottsdale and Thunderbird roads, said LaureenLeston, executive director.

The non-profit, still in its infancy, has reached out to the private sector and city officials. Its board of directors is comprised of business owners and advocates who want to enrich the Airpark, Scottsdale's largest employment center, "while capturing the sense of our Scottsdale community, art culture, nature and sustainability of the region," Leston said.

The botanical garden is their first undertaking.

Businesses and the public can donate by purchasing garden "areas" in the native Sonoran plant palette, she said.

Sponsorships range from $500 to $25,000. Sponsors will be memorialized on a plaque in the garden sanctuary, Leston said.

"Our goal is to raise the $350,000 before we even begin digging dirt," Leston said. She estimated that it would take about six months or longer to raise the full amount.
A huge bronze eagle statue was recently rededicated on the city-owned property.

The "One with the Eagle" statue sat at its previous location at the airport entrance near Scottsdale Road and Butherus Drive for about two decades until it was relocated in 2011 to the northeastern corner of Scottsdale and Thunderbird roads.

Kate O'Malley, an airport spokeswoman, said the foundation requested use of the land for the statue and a viewing area. The Scottsdale City Council agreed to the plan, "although the land still remains city land," she said.

There is no public funding dedicated to the project, O'Malley said.

Leston said the garden will mesh with the city's goals for the Airpark gateway. The Airpark generally is bounded by Thompson Peak Parkway to the north, Thunderbird Road to the south, Pima Road and 90th Street to the east and Scottsdale Road to the west.

The plan is to mirror the garden after landscaping of a future park-and-ride facility across the street.

by Beth Duckett - Jun. 5, 2012 10:59 AM The Republic |

$350K sought to build Scottsdale Airport desert refuge

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