No Agreement On What A Community Center Should Include
There are countless examples of what a community center is. Glendale has one. Chandler has one. Fountain Hills has one. Scottsdale has several. In Oro Valley, there is no general agreement on what a community center is and what it should include. Some may say a community center should have a game room. Some may say it should have a multi-use gym. Some may say is should have a senior center. Some think it should include a teen center. Some believe it can be a home for the Historical Society. It could be the home of the Parks and Recreation Department. Maybe it could be all of these things.
But, if our leaders "dabble in the details" of what a center should and should not contain, then we may never get agreement.
Mayor Hiremath recognizes this.
"A community center may mean different things to different people," observed Mayor Hiremath, "so I don’t get too hung up on trying to define what one would look like as far as specifics are concerned. For instance, some may think it should contain educational classes for art, photography, writing, sculpting, to name only a few. Others may look for a quiet open air lobby with some sofas and a big screen TV with a coffee bar so they can relax and then there are others that may look more for recreation opportunities such as table tennis, tennis, basketball, weightlifting, etc".
In the Mayor's view: "The community can decide what they would like to see. My goal is to provide the bricks and mortar so that the above things can be made into a reality. Again, philosophically, a community center would help the Town continue on its current path to creating a “sense of place.”
No Agreement On Where It Should Be Located
Some say it should be located in Naranja Park. Others stay it should be located in Steam Pump Ranch. Some would like to see it located in San Dorado.
No Agreement On What It Will Cost Or How To Fund It
"The major issue moving forward on a community center is revenue. Any community center will run at a significant operating deficit with high operating and maintenance costs." Council Member Burns wrote us.
As Council Member Joe Hornat agrees:
"The questions, as I see them are:
- What will it cost?
- Where would we put it?
- How would we come up with the money to build or buy it?
- How would we pay for the operating and maintenance on an ongoing basis of the building and the programs that would be part of it?
Council Member Mike Zinkin also agrees:
"Once we define the services we desire from our Center, we now have to decide how we are going to pay for it. Do we look at increasing existing taxes, do we attempt to pass a bond that will expire as soon as it is paid off, do we look at existing revenues and see if we can cut existing programs to pay for it? Do we enter into a private/public partnership?"
Will The Disagreements Of The Past Prevent A Collaborative Effort?
We hope not. We have every expectation that it will not.
In 2011, the council worked in unity to approve and fund the Oro Valley Aquatic Center. It was a win for every council member, past and present, and a win for our community.
As Council Member Zinkin wrote to us: "The Mayor stated during the campaign that a Community Center was one of his highest priorities. Believe it or not, I do not disagree. I would love to work to see a Community Center and will do all I can to see it come to fruition."
What do you think?