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American Heritage Railways to assume Old Tucson lease

Old Tucson Studios
Posted at 3:45 PM, Mar 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-20 18:45:38-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — American Heritage Railways, based in Durango, Colorado, is poised to take over Old Tucson Studios.

In a Notice of Recommendation for Award memo to supervisors, Pima County has confirmed its recommendation that American Heritage Railways is awarded the Old Tucson Lease.

KGUN 9 has confirmed with American Heritage Railways general manager John Harper, his company's intent to reopen Old Tucson.

"We're all so excited for this opportunity to be in Tucson, to work at Old Tucson, which is such an historic site, and to really bring what we do best -- which is the entertainment, the preservation, and bringing this property back to life," shared Harper.

American Heritage Railways operates several railways in the United States, including the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

They will operate Old Tucson Studios under a subsidiary corporation called Old Tucson Entertainment LLC. They do plan on keeping the name Old Tucson Studios.

"The county's been wonderful to work with. We've obviously gone back and forth on many different line items, but it's been a good process," explained Harper. "It's been a long process, but it's been good."

Old Tucson closed in August of 2020. The lease reverted back to Pima County — which owns the property.

Pima County opened a bidding process and began negotiating with American Heritage Railways back in September.

"We're hoping it goes through and that we're able to see the movie production ramp up again at that location," added Harper.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on approving the lease at its April 5 meeting.

Pat Parris is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. He is a graduate of Sabino High School where he was the 1982 high school state track champion in the 800 meters. While in high school and college, he worked part-time in the KGUN 9 newsroom. Share your story ideas and important issues with Pat by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.