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By: Mark Brodie on 01/18/2013
Mesa officials will open a new city park Saturday morning. The Mesa Grande Cultural Park includes an earthen mound created by the Hohokam, along with trails and pottery. It will include trails and several stations to interpret what visitors are looking at.
Aerial photograph of the Mesa Grande platform mound from the southwest. (Photo courtesy Arizona Museum of Natural History)
Mesa Councilman Dave Richins says the park is intentionally simple, he expects lots of people to visit.
"This one has been off limits to people for a pretty long time," Richins said. "We have a big fence around it, we have only opened it up once a year during a special event to let the public view it. So, I think there’s some latent demand to come and see what it is that that big pile of dirt on 10th St. and Date is."
Richins said it's important for the city to send the message that it values its history, especially since it doesn't have a lot of historic buildings.
"I think it’s fantastic that we could have something that really goes back to the earliest inhabitants of the Valley, and be able to show that Mesa values its history, Mesa values historic preservation," he said. "It’s an important economic development tool around the nation now. We just don’t have a lot of buildings that Founding Fathers sat in in 1700, but we have stuff that predates even them in the Mesa Grande Cultural Site."
Richins said the site had both religious and administrative significance to the Hohokam. The city bought it in the 1980s.