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PHOENIX-A $330-million project that will be built near the southern rim of the Grand Canyon is one hurdle away from reality after a decade-long battle to bring it to fruition.

Voters in Coconino County, which encompasses a large portion of northern Arizona, will vote on Proposition 400 on Nov. 7. The ballot measure is a referendum on whether to approve the project’s zoning for a hotel, retail shops and housing in what is now pristine forest land.

Canyon Forest Village would be built on 220 acres next to the national park boundary. Plans call for 900 hotel rooms, 240,000 sf of commercial space and up to 2,500 units of employee housing.

The U.S. Forest Service approved the project more than a year ago, and Coconino County Board of Supervisors approved the zoning in March.

The project could set the standard for introducing commercial projects near national parks. With bike trails and an electric train, Canyon Forest Village is expected to reduce auto traffic along the canyon’s southern rim. The housing is hoped to resolve the issue of inadequate and substandard employee housing for those working near the park.

Business leaders in the nearby communities of Tusayan and Flagstaff have opposed the project from the start, worried that they would lose their monopoly grip on tourism traffic through the area. Nevertheless, nine major environmental groups have backed the project, as have the Navajo and Hopi tribes.

Proponents have spent nearly six times as much money as critics to win the hearts of voters, $913,000 compared to just $147,000 by opponents.

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