Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Consolidate Needs-Emphasize Tourism Are Key Elements of Oro Valley's PREC Draft Strategy

Oro Valley's Parks and Recreation Department has created a draft strategic plan. The draft was reviewed the Parks and Recreation Commission in January.  The draft calls for meeting the needs of both Oro Valley's residents and those it can attract to play in Oro Valley.

The strategy identifies 3 areas of emphasis:

Consolidate Needs

According to the draft, Oro Valley Valley's recreational facilities are scattered all over the town.

"Currently, the use of the athletic fields within the Town’s two current active use parks (James D. Kriegh and CDO Riverfront) is very fractured and puts added stress on users, as well as on the maintenance staff. For example, there are softball fields at both parks; a family with children of differing ages could be shuttling between two parks for both practices and games, making it extremely inconvenient. In addition, the maintenance requirements for the types of fields at both parks mean that often staff needs to make changes such as moving outfield fences, and rotating fields to allow them to “rest.” These periods of non‐field use often result in unhappy teams who are forced to practice or play their games elsewhere."

The draft strategy calls for consolidating the needs of large user groups. Once the fields at Naranja are completed, Kreigh Park fields would be converted to little league baseball fields. Riverfront fields would be converted to softball only fields. The tennis court at Riverfont Park would be converted to a second basketball court, pending the town's purchase of the El Conquistador Country Club.

"While this consolidation plan for park uses will result in dedicated parks for certain types of activities, it is the goal of the Department to ensure that there is a net gain of fields during and after the transition, rather than a loss in capacity."

Tourism Emphasis

According to Parks and Recreation Department Director Kristy Diaz-Trahan, the town has identified promoting tourism to bring dollars to Oro Valley. Oro Valley wants to promote events. such as those at the aquatic center.

"In addition to its primary purpose of meeting the recreational and programming needs of its residents, the Town has placed an additional emphasis on tourism as a revenue source for the future."

This includes sports tourism, historical and cultural tourism and eco-tourism.

The strategy notes that: "The Department must be cognizant of this additional focus in determining the mix of facilities for the future, as bed tax revenues play an integral part in providing funding for Departmental goals in the absence of a property tax on residents."

Park Facility Acquisitions

The strategy also identifies opportunistic acquisition of property as a way of growing the parks and recreation infrastructure.

"Many of these opportunities may appear in a manner which requires a timely response, such as in the case of new development or a property sale." Perhaps this is in reference to Oro Valley's planned purchase of the El Conquistador Country Club. If the purchase is consummated, it will add tennis and golf recreation to Oro Valley's public offerings.

The draft strategy will be reviewed a second time by the Parks and Recreation Commission in March. It will then be reviewed with the Oro Valley Town Council later that month. Once approved, the Parks and Recreation Department will use it to create a master parks and recreation plan.

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