The economic recovery from the closure of the Grand Canyon will not happen overnight, the mayor of Tusayan, Ariz. said Monday.
“I believe that things are changing and what we’ve really done is maybe not turn the full valve on that’s just going to come rushing back,” said Mayor Greg Bryan. “What we’ve done is stopped the bleeding and turned it around.”
Bryan said he knows it will take time for the tourism industry around the canyon to recover, but it was fun to see people at the park when he arrived to reopen Saturday with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.
“It was awesome to see a backup at the gates, people waiting to get in,” he said, adding that he and Brewer arrived about 6 a.m. to reopen the park.
Bryan owns a Best Western hotel in Tusayan and said he was expecting a minor uptick in the number of rooms filled and is also expecting that number to grow.
“As the weather stays nice, people will stick around,” he said.
Some are concerned that the park could be closed again if Arizona fails to pay the bills, but Bryan said he’s not worried.
“Our money and their money is almost $1 million,” he said, adding that it costs about $93,000 per day to keep the canyon open.
Arizona committed $651,000 to reopen the park. Bryan’s community added about $426,500 on top of that.
“I was told they were going to utilize our funds as well, not just state money,” he said.