October 11, 2019 / Modified oct 11, 2019 10:41 a.m.

Douglas is turning to tourism for an economic boost

The city is conducting tours twice a month in the community.

Douglas Car Art 1 Art Car World is a museum that exhibits decorated vehicles from different places and artists.
Tony Paniagua/AZPM

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Douglas, Arizona, hopes its buildings, history and culture will bring some welcome visitors to the border city.

The community of about 17,000 residents recently resurrected tours in the area to educate locals about the city and try to attract new blood to the region.

Douglas, which is about 120 miles southeast of Tucson, has struggled to attract new industries since a copper smelter went out of business in the 1980s.

According to demographic data, about one-third of the residents in Douglas live below the poverty level and livable wages are highly coveted.

Many young people leave once they graduate from high school, and the downtown area has various empty buildings.

But there are efforts to attract new tenants and residents.

Ginny Jordan was born in Douglas and worked in Tucson for many years, but she returned to her birthplace about 20 years ago.

She's a history buff and volunteer tour guide, and conducts the tours the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.

"I am addicted to Douglas," she says.

Her stops include the historic Gadsden Hotel, the new Car Art World museum, a drug tunnel that is attributed to Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán and one city block in the city where each corner houses a church from a different denomination.

Jordan says despite complaints from some people who don't like the area, she is a big fan of her border city. She and like-minded residents are encouraging more neighbors to become active and work on behalf of the community.

"We've got the best people. It's a great place to raise your kids. It's a great place to grow old. It's a good place," Jordan adds.

Douglas Visitor Center Douglas, like many other small cities in Arizona and United States, is trying to increase tourism to its community.
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Douglas Tour Van The border City of Douglas is promoting tourism to enhance the economy and understanding about the community.
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Douglas Car Art 2 Art Car World is a museum that exhibits decorated vehicles from different places and artists.
Tony Paniagua/AZPM

Douglas Gallery Post Office Douglas has various types of architecture as illustrated by the this colorful gallery and brick U.S. post office next to it.
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Douglas Drug Tunnel Building 1 A drug tunnel from Mexico ended inside this warehouse in Douglas, Arizona. It is attributed to Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.
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Douglas Drug Tunnel Building 2 A drug tunnel from Mexico ended inside this warehouse in Douglas, Arizona. It is attributed to Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.
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Douglas Drug Tunnel Inside 1 This drug tunnel from Mexico ended inside a warehouse in Douglas, Arizona. It is attributed to Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.
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Douglas Drug Tunnel Inside 2 A drug tunnel from Mexico ended inside a warehouse in Douglas, Arizona. It is attributed to Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.
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Douglas Border Fence USBP Douglas is on the border with Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico and the US Border Patrol is a common sight.
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Douglas Mural The history in Douglas includes ranching, mining and sports.
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