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 ..as 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."
What do you think?