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Disagreement Over The Future Of Scottsdale's Desert Discovery Center

The McDowell Sonoran Preserve has been one of Scottsdale’s more popular public projects over the past couple of decades.

The preserve attracts thousands of walkers, joggers and hikers over its more than 30,000 contiguous acres, which host 170 miles of trails.

But there’s passionate disagreement over whether the preserve should soon include the Desert Discovery Center, which its website describes as “an interpretive center for residents and visitors and an important attraction for Scottsdale’s tourism industry.”

Melinda Gulick, is an advocate of the center. She’s also a former member of the Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale board.

"The Desert Discovery Center gives us a chance to educate people about the Sonoran Desert," Gulick said.

"The vision for the Discovery Center is that it's a world-class place for education and research about the desert" Gulick said. "In an ideal world it would do both of those things and it would be financially sustainable."

Jason Alexander is part of No DDC, an organization opposing the center.

"What we do not support is how this project has been driven forward from a group of special interests largely out of the public eye," Alexander said.

"I think we would support something that first and foremost has more voter input and participation in it," Alexander said.

Scottsdale is scheduled to hold a public meeting about plansfor the Discovery Center in fall 2016.

Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.