Flag will fly at Thunderbird Conservation Park

By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Staff Writer

Following more than a year of staff research and discussion, council approved the permanent installation of a flag pole in Thunderbird Conservation Park.
“This is an agreement for the Chamber of Commerce’s Military & Veterans Affairs Committee (MVAC) to install a 20-foot flag pole at no cost to the city,” Director of Public Facilities Jim Burke said during the June 12 council meeting. “They will come back with an item for maintenance agreement in perpetuity at a later meeting.”
Council approved the flag pole 6-1, with Cholla District Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff the lone dissenting vote.
According to the agreement, MVAC would be responsible for the cost of the project, maintaining the flag, lowering the flag to half-staff when necessary, and lighting the flag at night. MVAC is prepared to install the flag manually so as not to disturb the trails on Arrowhead Point.
Mayor Jerry Weiers read 22 cards in favor of the flag pole and multiple residents spoke during the meeting in favor of the installation of the flag pole with some hesitation.
“I am 100 percent in favor of this flag pole at Thunderbird Conservation Park,” Cholla District resident Ted Hanson said. “Residents’ concerns fear that once this is approved, it may open Pandora’s Box for future development at this location.”
Tolmachoff said since the park has a master plan, any changes should go through that process to make changes at the park.
“I have been clear on my position and I feel like Thunderbird Conservation Park is one of two with a master plan and that makes it special,” Tolmachoff said. “I believe in the process with the park master plan and there is $50,000 allotted to update that master plan and that is how I feel this should have been done and I wish our parks and recreation commission would have directed this in that.”
During staff research, the parks and recreation advisory commission’s surveys showed 1,087 people responded to the survey; 929 residents said they were in favor of a permanent flag pole at the peak, while 159 opposed it.
Two American flags presently fly on temporary flag poles atop the mountain and have been replaced numerous times as a city code that protects the 1,185-acre park against encroachment forbids such placement. The city had been removing the flags when someone called and complained and now the pole will be installed permanently.
“I cannot think of a single place where it is inappropriate to fly the American flag,” Yucca District Councilmember Joyce Clark said.

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