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Mayor: Tusayan will never recover from Grand Canyon shutdown

PHOENIX — The mayor of the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon” said the town of Tusayan, Ariz. will never fully recover from the closure of the Grand Canyon National Park caused by the partial federal government shutdown.

Mayor Greg Bryan estimates the shutdown cost his community $1.5 million and those dollars aren’t coming back.

“That doesn’t include the concessionaires inside of the park who lost around $6 million to $7 million,” he said. “It’s like produce. When it goes bad, it’s gone.”

But it could have been much worse. The state, Tusayan and private donors came up with funds to keep the canyon open for five days during the 16-day shutdown.

Bryan said his city has been able to refund about $225,000 to private donors but the community is still waiting to be reimbursed by the federal government for $142,000.

Because Congress came up with a temporary solution to the shutdown and not a permanent deal, Bryan is worried about another possible shutdown that’s just two months away.

“Especially since we didn’t believe that it would happen last month,” he said.

On Wednesday, a coalition of Arizona lawmakers wrote a letter to the National Park Service requesting a full refund of the money used to reopen the Grand Canyon.