Arizona's 100th birthday is still six years away but some Arizonans already have a case of centennial fever. This past session, the State Legislature appropriated $2.5 million to kick off plans for the celebration.
Some community activists have called for a complete renovation of the State Capitol just in time for the festivities. Recently in the Arizona Republic, Andrew Ortiz criticized the building for its inability to "inspire awe." His idea of an appropriate Capitol being "gleaming and majestic marble-columned buildings capped with an impressive dome and surrounded by a stately ground," perhaps something more akin to the ancient Roman palaces or Chateau De Versailles.
100 years of history is surely something to celebrate, but a fancy celebration need not come at the taxpayer's expense. For this, Arizona should take its cue from Utah. As reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, the State commemorated its Centennial in 1996 with "a project that ended in the black and exceeded fiscal expectations without spending a tax dollar."
Inspiring a sense of history and pride in Arizonans has little to do with marble statues or grand capitol buildings. A true celebration of Arizona's heritage would focus on the history, individuals, and entrepreneurial spirit that created our great state.
Jessa Haugebak is a Goldwater Institute Ronald Reagan Fellow.
- Arizona Republic: "Shabby Capitol Complex Doesn't Reflect Arizona"
-Celebrating Arizona's Centennial: 1912-2012
- Salt Lake Tribune: "The Utah Centennial Is History: Affair Was Productive, But Was It Inclusive?; Centennial Year Called A Success"