Proposed Park

The 498-acre Peralta Regional Park is expected to include areas for camping, picnics, hiking and climbing. It will be east of Gold Canyon and south of the Superstition Wilderness.

FLORENCE — The future Peralta Regional Park is closer to becoming a reality after winning a major federal grant.

The park could be open to the public in 2021 after the Arizona State Parks Board Thursday approved the county’s application for a Land and Water Conservation grant, county officials said.

The project, set in the shadows of the Superstition Mountains and described as a spectacular natural jewel in northern Pinal County, will now move to the final design phase, with construction targeted to get underway later this year.

The grant, which amounts to $2,051,203.50, will be matched equally by the county and means the project is now fully funded.

“Securing this LWCF grant is a critical component to beginning the final design and development of this fantastic recreational resource,” said Kent Taylor, Pinal County’s Open Space and Trails Director. “We greatly appreciate the assistance of both Arizona State Parks and Trails staff and the Arizona State Parks Board for sharing our vision for the park. While we can’t wait to finalize the design and begin construction, we are more excited about finally being able to see residents and visitors enjoying this park in the not too distant future.”

Plans for the 480-acre park, off of Peralta Road east of Gold Canyon, include around 8 miles of multi-use trails, as well as areas for picnicking, camping and rock climbing. Despite being so close to civilization, its deliberately limited infrastructure and primitive setting will also allow it to feature a dark-sky designation for night sky viewing, county officials said.

In other discussion, County Assessor Douglas Wolf told the board that widows and widowers have until Feb. 28 to apply for property tax exemptions. He thanked Supervisor Pete Rios, D-Dudleyville, and the city of Maricopa for providing space for his staff to take those applications.

Supervisors Mike Goodman, R-San Tan Valley, and Steve Miller, R-Casa Grande, said the assessor may use their offices as well to take these applications.

Wolf added that county property owners will begin receiving their annual notices of value in the mail, perhaps on Friday. He also said he is supporting a bill in the Arizona Senate that would allow disabled veterans to receive a property tax exemption. Pinal County has 1,700 veterans who are partially disabled and would “benefit to some degree,” Wolf said. A previous law providing exemptions to disabled veterans was overturned in court.

Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Roger Biede invited the board to the third annual Memories on Main custom car and bike show, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday on Main Street in Florence. More than 350 cars are expected. There will be vendors, raffles, food and beverages, and awards.

Andersen also introduced the county’s new risk director, Cynthia Perez, who has worked in risk management for seven years, and James Daniels, formerly of the BBC in London and Arizona State University, who is the county’s new communications and marketing director.

Andersen added that a future state workforce training center for automotive skills at Central Arizona College’s Signal Peak Campus is out for construction bids.

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.

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