Rocks stacked 3 feet high mark the remains of an ancient Native American marketplace on a dirt road in northern Peoria. Past saguaro cactus and spiky shrubs, cars zoom by on the freeway headed toward suburban neighborhoods that blur the landscape to the south.
"We're at a crossroads now," said Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat as she walked past the ruins. "We are at the situation where growth is about to boom again. We have a lot of areas that have beautiful land at stake right now, so if we don't do something to preserve and conserve those spaces, it will be lost to us forever."