Legacy of a Leader

At this point it’s a sign and a dream. It won’t be long, however, until it will be an incredible asset for the citizens of Scottsdale and our guests.

Today the City of Scottsdale officially named the Equidome expansion as “the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center.”

There’s so much great information and human interest story to share that I’ll have to do at least one or two more related columns. For the moment, however, I want to share with you the thoughts of Tony’s good friend and colleague on the Scottsdale City Council, Vice Mayor Bob Littlefield:

Almost immediately after my friend Tony Nelssen passed away in May of 2010, people started coming to me with ideas for things we could name after Tony.  Parks, mountains, even a statue of Tony, all sorts of ideas were tossed around.

But the idea to put Tony’s name on the Equidome was certainly the most fitting.  Tony was not just an equestrian; he was an equestrian advocate, so an equestrian facility bearing his name makes sense.  Also, when Tony and I were on the WestWorld Subcommittee together he was a passionate advocate for WestWorld and for the economic benefits it brings to the city he so loved.  He would be so happy we are expanding this facility and we not only help Scottsdale but we also honor him by making that expansion happen.

But there is another big reason why putting Tony’s name on the Equidome is so fitting.  A statue might be nice, but it is static and lifeless.  This facility, on the other hand is alive and active, filled with purpose and meaning.  When we have events here this place is filled with horses, people who love horses, and people who just want to see horses because they are so beautiful and interesting.

And so, whenever I see Tony’s name on this building, I will think of Tony the way I think he would want to be remembered, and certainly the way I want to remember him:  alive, vibrant, purposeful, and looking to the future.  And I hope that people who never had the privilege of knowing Tony will come away from this place with that same sense about him, that seeing his name on this special place will help them better understand the extraordinary person he was and how much he meant to Scottsdale.  I hope that putting Tony’s name on the Equidome will do more than just honor his memory; I hope it will inspire people who see it here to emulate his passion for and his dedication to the causes and things he loved. I can’t imagine anything more fitting way to honor Tony than that.

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