Monday, September 29, 2014

Many Agree: Its Time For An Oro Valley Community Center (Part 1)

Oro Valley leaders have been talking about a community center for years.  Now, we think, its time to take action.

There is agreement among Oro Valley's elected officials and many residents of the town that Oro Valley needs a community center.

"It is one of my top three priorities because it will help Oro Valley create a sense of identity." Mayor Hiremath wrote us.

"The development of a community center long precedes me being Mayor. It actually originated when I was on the Board of Directors for the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council (now known as the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance)."

Indeed, the idea of a community center dates back many years. Former Council Member Barry Gillaspie reminded us:
"In regards to a Community Center, it has been in the sights and on the drawing board for many years. In 2008 when we attempted to pass the bond for the Naranja Town Park, the Community Center was a part of an overly ambitious master plan and it got lost in the ensuing debate and vote.
Gillaspie supports the Mayor's objective.  "Now may be the time, I sense that many in our Town would like a Community Center as a core focal point."

Council Member Mike Zinkin agrees that a Community Center is needed. "There is no question that Oro Valley could use a Community Center. A place where the Town can identify with. A place that can meet the needs of the majority of the Citizens."

Council member Joe Hornat agrees: "I think we need a community center here in Oro Valley, I don’t think anyone disputes that or should I say I hope not!!"

According to Council Member Brendan Burns a community center would the town it will enhance a sense of community, provide activities during the hot summer months, and it will provide free programs for the disadvantaged in our society. As a community of excellence, we have not addressed our citizens’ needs."

We spoke with Council Member Bill Garner.  Bill has been and continues to be a long-time proponent of an Oro Valley Community Center.

We asked Mayor Hiremath why Oro Valley needs a community center.  He provided several reasons:
  • "As we all know, Oro Valley was developed with the concept of having 'Neighborhood Centers'. The downside of not having a universal go to place, such as a downtown, means that in theory, residents can live an isolated life to a great degree. "  
  • "We have no real physical gathering place where residents can go....A community center can help to break down the barriers of isolation and get people to interact with other people thereby creating a closer knit community."
  • "A community center can also provide residents with opportunities that may not currently exist or it is not financially feasible for them to participate in."
So, if indeed, Oro Valley's leaders think that Oro Valley needs a community center then are the challenges to make it happen?  Read our Wednesday posting for more.
What do you think?


Richard Furash, MBA said...

Great, and who is going to pay for this community center?

I think the county should pay for it. God knows they taxi us to death now. I would like to see something for my tax dollar.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

Hiremath: "We have no real physical gathering place where residents can go."

Ahem...Oro Valley Marketplace? Wasn't that sold to us partly on how it would be a great place to meet your friends and could sit in the courtyard and have an ice cream and chat? Or was that just another sales pitch that turned out not to be true?

Maybe the community center could have that outdoor courtyard.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

One of our readers email the following to us:

"Any "center" needs programming. Creating a center isn't a place3 for people to "hand out". It's supposed to be place to go to participate. Our Library is such a place now. Numerous programs that are largely free exist every week. A Community Center needs the same administrative leadership that a library does. It needs staff, and it needs programs of a wide variety from exercise to literature.

People better start identifying the programs that such a center would provide that aren't available now. I suspect the Town could bond the construction. But the administrative, operational and upkeep cost would be daunting."

Richard Furash, MBA said...

VC... You always make me smile!

Richard Furash, MBA said...

I plan to get as much mileage out of "Oro Valley Marketplace" as Ross Geller got with, "We were on a break!" Now if only I could charge for that mileage.