July 8, 2024

Public meeting will discuss new Sabino Canyon visitor center

The Thursday meeting will include a first look at initial plans for the redesign

bear canyon hero Walking down the road near the Bear Canyon Trail in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, February 2018.
Nick O'Gara, AZPM

People will have chance to weigh in on a new visitor center at Sabino Canyon Recreation Area this week.

Friends of Sabino Canyon will hold a public meeting at 4:30 on Thursday at the Sheraton Hotel at 5151 E Grant Road.

Talk of the new center began after a 2015 visitor survey, and is now taking a step toward being built.

"And one of the outcomes of that work was the need to upgrade and in essence reimagine the visitor center. The canyon sees millions of people a year, and the center just was not keeping up with the demand on the facility," said Jim Darling, President of the Friends of Sabino Canyon.

He said the plan that will be discussed is not final, and those who attend the event can expect to see an initial mock-up and will have their comments considered for the final version.

"The US Forest Service and the Friends of Sabino Canyon got together and we partnered in a collaboration to do a master plan of a visitor center re-imagined, and we're about half-way through that work right now."

The first draft of the new facility includes new amenities such as more interactive areas for people to learn about the canyon, light dining, staff work area and an outdoor auditorium.

Darling hopes to have a timeline for the project when the plans are finalized this fall, which will then allow for a tentative timeline for construction.

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