February 9, 2005
The Legislature has decided a committee of state history experts should plan for Arizona’s 100th birthday instead of two private entrepreneurs.
The first bill adopted by the Legislature this year places the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission in charge of preparing for the state centennial in 2012. Supporters hope Gov. Janet Napolitano will sign SB1065 on Monday, the official anniversary of when Arizona became a state.
The 20-member commission is made up of several state agencies and private experts who strive to preserve records and objects from Arizona’s past. The obscure group will become the lead planner and fund-raiser as the state counts down to the historic milestone.
"We need a central coordinating point at this time, and I think they can do it and do it well," said Sen. Jay Tibshraeny, R-Chandler, who authored the bill.
But there still could be a role in the yearlong festival for Arizona Centennial, a nonprofit company founded last year by two Phoenix men. Charles Baumgartner and Jim Kellerer told the Tribune in April they were trying to convince state leaders to work through them and avoid the use of tax dollars for the centennial.
State library director GladysAnn Wells said the state commission will invite Baumgartner and Kellerer to help. The Legislature hasn’t provided any public money, and private fund-raising will be critical to a successful celebration.
"This is going to be plenty of work for everybody, and plenty of room for everybody," Wells said.
Napolitano launched a countdown to the centennial last year with students who were in the fourth grade. Those students started studying state history in that grade and will graduate from high school in 2012.