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New Partnership Leads To Re-Opening At South Mountain Park

south mountain education center
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
After budget cuts led to its closure, Phoenix is planning to re-open the South Mountain Education Center.

For more than a year, visitors to the South Mountain Education Center have only been able to look at a map posted outside the building, but starting next month they’ll be able to step inside and learn about the area’s flora and fauna.

"They get the opportunity to run the facility that we couldn't run ourselves," said Phoenix Parks and Recreation Director Inger Erickson.

She said the non-profit Arizona Center for Nature Conservation will handle daily operations.

“They’re paying a portion of the utilities that escalates over years. They also pay for all the maintenance on the inside," she said. "We own the building still ,so we pay for (it) if the air conditioning unit say went out, we would have to pay for that, major plumbing issues, things of that nature.” 

Erickson said the city has similar partnerships at 13 other facilities. The South Mountain Center is scheduled to re-open February 13.  

There is no admission fee, and the initial hours will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Wednesday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. the fourth Sunday of every month. Sunday operations coincide with the Silent Sundays program held every fourth Sunday at South Mountain Park.

After the first year of operation, the Arizona Center for Nature Conservation told the city it will consider expanding hours.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been modified to reflect details about the center's Sunday hours.

Updated 1/29/2016 at 2:37 p.m.



As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.