New plans for Old Tucson on the horizon - Tucson News Now

New plans for Old Tucson on the horizon

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Old Tucson Studios plans to take on a new direction in the new year.

CEO of Old Tucson, Pete Mangelsdorf, says the company has created a nonprofit called Arizona Sonora Western Heritage Foundation to take over its lease with Pima County.

The idea is for Old Tucson to continue to operate the park at first, but the foundation to run its programs.

Old Tucson is located at 201 S. Kinney Road on the west side. It currently rents the land it sits on at Tucson Mountain Park from Pima County. Mangelsdorf says it is in discussion with the County about its new direction and that leasing the land under the foundation model could be cheaper.

Mangelsdorf says the nonprofit foundation model will help the park be financially stable, sustainable, and help attract more visitors, especially over the next 10 years.

Another benefit?

The park could apply for federal grants and solicit private donations.

Mangelsdorf says the proposed changes will mean a more historically accurate experience of Arizona's territorial days for visitors. Right now, Old Tucson is working on partnerships with the University of Arizona and the Arizona Historical Society to do just that.

Movies could still be filmed at Old Tucson, but the experience will have more of an educational emphasis. It will expand the site into a multi-cultural western heritage center with interactive living history programs as the main attraction.

At this point in the proposal process, Old Tucson is waiting for IRS approval and word from Pima County.

Mangelsdorf hopes to hear from the IRS within at least a month.

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