Fountain Hills project could house Valley's largest telescope, create discovery center

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Posted at 8:47 AM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-18 14:57:29-05

An $18 million development — proposed to include the Valley’s largest telescope — is planned for downtown Fountain Hills, and supporters are kicking off a capital campaign, hoping to gain sponsorships to bring the project to fruition.

The project, called the International Dark Skies Discovery Center, will feature an observatory, planetarium, theater and immersion zone with exhibits.

“We started working on this five years ago when we started working to get Fountain Hills designated as a dark sky community,” Joe Bill, president of the International Dark Sky Discovery Center, said. “We thought we could do more, and build a facility that would be like no other.”

The town of Fountain Hills has already agreed to lease to the center the land near Centennial Circle that is needed to create the project, and once the $18 million is raised, Bill said, the project will take between 18 and 24 months to complete design and construction.

Fountain Hills received the dark sky community designation in 2018. Around the world, there are 130 dark sky places around the world, about 30 of which are communities. Other places include parks and preserves around the country.

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