A Battle Over Grand Canyon Development Nears A Grand Finale

Ken Belson reports on a massive development planned for a town located five miles from the south rim of the Grand Canyon, and the decades long battle amongst high powered interests and 600 local townspeople over the future of the area.
February 21, 2012, 8am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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With the decades long battle to develop tiny Tusayan, Arizona set to be decided this Spring, the future of the area and one of the seven natural wonders of the world is at stake.

With more than four million visitors passing through the town each year on their way to the Grand Canyon, a group of Italian investors have bought up thousands of acres of property with the intent to develop three million square feet of hotels, homes, stores, and other attractions, in the hopes of capturing the spending power of this customer base, writes Belson.

"Even in a state known for grandiose real estate deals, the proposed development has set new standards for ambition or, depending on one's view, recklessness."

However, "with just two water wells, no public works department and the thinnest of bureaucracies, the town is barely able to handle its present population, let alone a flood of newcomers."

According to David Uberuaga, the superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park. "Everything is getting maxed out. They're just doing it for the almighty dollar. It's a gold mine they're trying to exploit."

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Published on Friday, February 17, 2012 in The New York Times
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