Old Tucson to close indefinitely due to coronavirus impact

Sep 8, 2020, 2:01 PM | Updated: 2:41 pm
(Facebook Photo/Old Tucson)...
(Facebook Photo/Old Tucson)
(Facebook Photo/Old Tucson)

PHOENIX — A popular Tucson attraction will close indefinitely due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Old Tucson, the Western-themed venue and filming location situated in Tucson Mountain Park, won’t be open to the community because of financial struggles and limited attendance numbers brought on by the pandemic.

Pima County, which owns the park’s land and leases out the attraction, will assume responsibility of it and begin determining its future Monday.

“The decision to close Old Tucson indefinitely due to COVID-19 was made with a heavy heart. We know how important Old Tucson is to our community, guests and employees,” Terry Verhage, Old Tucson’s general manager, said in a press release.

“We did everything possible to keep our loyal fans safe when we were open, but the ongoing COVID-19 public health protocols and restrictions limited park attendance to the point where Old Tucson could no longer stay in business.”

Verhage said the county will be responsible for determining when the venue can reopen.

Old Tucson’s signature event, Nightfall 2020, was recently canceled because of the pandemic.

The event, which had more than 34,000 in attendance in 2019, typically covers the attraction’s operational costs for the year.

This won’t be the first time the attraction will have been closed for an extended time period.

Most of Old Tucson was destroyed by a fire in 1995 and the venue remained closed until the park reconstruction was completed in 1997.

Old Tucson, built in 1939, has also been the filming location for more than 400 movies and commercials.

That includes “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” “Rio Bravo” and “El Dorado.”

“Old Tucson is a cultural and historic icon, not only for Pima County and Arizona, but for the country,” Pima County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ramón Valadez said in the release.

“Whatever the park’s future may be, the county will endeavor to preserve and honor that history.”

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Old Tucson to close indefinitely due to coronavirus impact