The monument at the northeast entrance to Apache Junction on State Route 88 and Hackamore Road is a well-known landmark for locals and visitors alike. However, it's no secret that the area around the monument has suffered damage from wildfires over the years. Fortunately, a group of dedicated individuals have come together to revitalize the space in front of the monument.
"It's heartening to see such a collaborative effort to restore this important landmark,” said Apache Junction Mayor Chip Wilson. “The work being done here not only benefits the monument but also contributes to the health and vitality of the surrounding ecosystem. We can all look forward to enjoying the beauty of this area for years to come thanks to the hard work of these dedicated volunteers.”
The rehabilitated monument was unveiled on Friday.
Working with Mayor Wilson, the Apache Junction Parks and Recreation Department, and Pinal County Supervisor Jeff Serdy's office, the group secured support from the local Modern Woodmen of America chapter and Siphon Draw Fire and Fuels. Long-time Apache Junction resident Sandie Russell, the Modern Woodmen chapter representative, worked with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and identified native vegetation species to donate to the renovation. Siphon Draw Fire and Fuels provided planting and watering services.
In addition to the new vegetation, four mature 35-foot saguaros that were salvaged from the Parks and Recreation administration building expansion at the Mulit-Generational Center were donated and moved to the location.
“All of this will add to the visual appeal of the monument and help to preserve these iconic plants,” Mayor Wilson said. “The monument has been a long-favored pullout to take pictures for visitors along SR88.”
The county recognizes Russell and the Modern Woodmen chapter, which strives to improve the quality of life for its members and the communities where they live, work, and play. Supervisor Serdy’s office approached Alan Sinclair, owner of Siphon Draw Fire and Fuels, and the city to identify how to address the monument, which suffered vegetative damage during a devastating brush fire on May 7, 2020. Sinclair also noted that local residents Dan and Lisa Kelly brought equipment to dig the holes for the project.
The monument itself also received much-needed attention, getting patched up and re-painted, ensuring that it remains a striking symbol of the city's entrance for years to come.