The Town of Marana has formally recognized the Marana Heritage Conservancy and its efforts "to preserve and enhance Marana's rich cultural heritage," according to a town resolution adopted last Tuesday.

Marana Town Council members unanimously adopted an intergovernmental agreement with the conservancy.

"This is a big day for the Marana Heritage Conservancy," said Ora Mae Harn, the former Marana mayor who leads the conservancy. Two years have been invested by a number of people "to bring our organization up to the place where we could ask the town to recognize us as the organization" responsible for heritage protection and education.

The conservancy is a non-profit corporation with a goal "to educate, engage, help to preserve and enhance our great culture and history," said Tom Ellis, Marana Parks and Recreation director.

The Marana Heritage Conservancy has spearheaded Marana's Founders Day celebrations, and played major roles in the Fall Heritage Festival, the Marana Heritage Farm and recognition of the de Anza Trail.

Harn said the conservancy wants to reach people of all ages, from students to seniors, with the messages of Marana's rich and diverse culture and history. She introduced members of the committee. "I'm very proud of them," Harn said.

Ellis called Harn "our ambassador of heritage" and "my boss."

"We owe something tonight to Ora Mae Harn," Town Manager Gilbert Davidson told the audience. "I don't know if everyone understands the depth Ora contributes to our community, day in and day out. … She is the living, breathing component" of the work to appreciate Marana's past. In doing so, "she has made all of us better as a community."

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