We here at The Times have been big fans of the proposed International Dark Sky Discovery Center from the beginning. We stated as much in June 2019, and we remain eager to see the project get back up and running.

Like pretty much everything else in this world, the ambitious fundraising for the facility had to be put on hold throughout the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But as you’ll see in our 1A reporting, organizers have officially restarted their efforts.

As we stated nearly two years ago, the Dark Sky Discovery Center sounds like the kind of project that could evolve into a big win for Fountain Hills.

Taking advantage of Fountain Hills’ Dark Sky designation, the Discovery Center would serve as a gateway to the stars, including a telescope observatory, planetarium, exhibit hall and more. The Dark Sky community is already thriving in Fountain Hills, with activities and educational events scheduled throughout the year and members of the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association recently partnering with ADERO to offer unique stargazing opportunities.

Now imagine how much these opportunities can grow, both from an educational and tourist perspective, with a dedicated facility to call home.

As members of the Dark Sky crew are eager to point out, these types of offerings don’t really exist in the Valley, forcing enthusiasts to hop in the car and head up to towns like Flagstaff to get their fix. And again, there’s the educational benefits a Discovery Center would afford to local students, not to mention the interest being shown at the collegiate level from the onset of planning.

Finally, there’s the proposed location, right alongside the local museum, library, Community Garden, Community Center and Town Hall; all just a short stroll from Fountain Park. It’s an ideal spot to bolster the heart of downtown while helping serve as a draw to both locals and visitors from around the Valley.

The International Dark Sky Discovery Center was an appealing project back in 2019, and it’s just as appealing today. We hope to see the community, and investors, rally behind it in the coming years.