We visited with Oro Valley's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources the other day. It was our opportunity to share our thoughts on future directions.
Here's a list of some opportunities we shared during our visit:
Resolving Senior Leadership
Director Ainsley Legner is retiring in February. Under her watch, Oro Valley's facilities have grown and developed. She's been at the helm for much of what we now have, including our new Aquatic Center. Thank you, Ainsley. Next: Oro Valley will need to find the individual who will take us to the "next level."
Generating Revenue For Our Programs
The days of relying on the town's budget for all revenue sources have long passed. Seeking out and securing sources of funding for important projects is the future. Sources include more than user fees. Sources include naming opportunities, corporate sponsored events, and private and public grants.
Oro Valley's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources events are an all too well-kept secret, Did you know that this March there's a Kids Fun Run and a Catalina State Park Hiking Challenge? Did you know that there are fitness classes? Did you know that there are pet obedience classes? Probably not.
Implementing The Town's Strategy
The Oro Valley Town Council and town staff are working on the 2013 strategic plan. How will the department integrate these strategies into its plan? "Supporting cultural events and opportunities" and "Support local, national and international sporting events" are two of the goals being considered for the plan. These goals are directly in Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources' "sweet spot."
Improving Youth-Related Activities
Oro Valley needs more youth oriented activities; activities that keep our kids out of the malls and away from the violent video games; activities that promote healthy living and healthy social interaction. Perhaps the town's youth advisory board can help here.
A Recreation Center
We don't have a recreation center; that is, a separate building that is a focal point of parks, recreation, and cultural resources activities. It is a place for activities for all ages. It can be a centerpiece for Oro Valley as it is for many other cities and towns.
A Real Senior Softball Field
Oro Valley does not have a senior softball field; one where the left and right field line is 275 to 300 feet; one with a fence. What Oro Valley does have is a field at Kreigh Park with no fence and a 225 right field line. It's too small and unsafe. There are a scores players who live in Oro Valley. Some play on the Oro Valley team. Some play on other teams because the facilities in Oro Valley are negligent. Saddlebrook has a nice field. Tucson has many. Green Valley is putting the finishing touches on theirs. It's time for Oro Valley to have one. Heck. Why not four? Then we can host tournaments in Oro Valley; and tournaments bring players from across the nation. This means money for our hotels and retail businesses.
A Master Plan For Naranja Park
Yes. The voters rejected a master plan accompanied by a property tax for Naranja Park; but the rejection was about a property tax, not about developing the park. Yes. There is now an archery center and there is talk of a dog park and Naranja Park. Where, though, is the master plan? What should this property look like when it is "built out"? Should the recreation center be there? Should senior softball fields be there? Should a shell for concerts be there?
Those are our thoughts. What would you like to see?