PHOENIX -- A group of Arizona lawmakers wants the National Park Service to refund money the state used to reopened the Grand Canyon during the government shutdown.
A coalition of northern Arizona business owners and the state combined to provide about $465,000 to reopen the park for a five-day period to ease the economic hit taken by northern Arizona.
The group asked for the refund in a letter sent to National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis. In the letter, they stated that, unlike 1995 when the state funded the park for 21 days, the Park Service collected entrance fees during the shutdown. It also said the Park Service received a "shutdown windfall" after it was reimbursed by the federal government for the shutdown.
The letter went on to say that the Park Service has a history of refunding Arizona, as it did in 1995 when the state provided $370,125 to keep the park running. All of that money was returned to Arizona.
A spokesman for Gov. Jan Brewer says Arizona received a refund of $186,000 on Oct. 25. That money was divided between the state tourism office and the town of Tusayan.
The northern Arizona economy was hit hard by the closing. The small town of Tusayan lost about $200,000 per day while the park was closed and about 2,200 people lost their jobs during the shutdown. Valley food banks had to supply food after some cities were cut-off.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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