Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Stinnett: "We Need A Change. We Need It Now."

Jack Stinnett is an Oro Valley resident and member of Oro Valley Citizens For Open Governmant (OVCOG).  Jack served as chairman of the Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Advisory Board the past two years.

Jack told us that he resigned from that position on December 26th because he felt he could do more for Town parks opposing this El Conquistador Country Club fiasco and did not feel it would be appropriate to remain on Parks and Recreation Advisory Board while trying to put this issue before Town voters.

A sudden turn of events had "startled" the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

One minute the 2015 Parks and Recreation Department plan included a community center at Naranja Park. And then it didn't. Jack relates that "The Parks and Recreation Board November 17th meeting was abruptly cancelled and rescheduled to December 9th. In the meeting the detailed layout for the Naranja Park build out was presented but the [originally included] 40,000 sqft Community Center had vanished and was replaced by an “Event Center.”

At that same meeting: "In the Town Staff presentation, we learned that Town was buying the El Conquistador Country Club resort properties from HSL, a major campaign contributor to Mayor Hiremath, and Council members Hornat, Snider and Waters.

The deal supposedly cost $1 million. The real cost, according to Stinnett, will be closer to $13 million.

Town Manager Caton requested a motion of Parks and Recreation Advisory Board support for this proposal. I proposed the Town requested motion and it did not pass. A subsequent motion to only buy the facility and reject buying the three golf courses passed 5-1. The rest is history."

Jack believes that the town's representation that Oro Valley is getting a community center in the El Conquistador Country Club deal is a smoke screen. "Town Manager Caton represented that the 21,000 soft single story 30 year old, Racketball club with a $2million in repairs and upgrades would miraculously become a 40,000sqft two story Community Center meeting Town resident needs."

Even in the original Parks and Recreation Department plan, The Community Center was seen as a second tier town need that would be developed after the resident’s more desired park’s features were built.

"It would have been a beautiful center, like the Apache Junction Multi Generation Center which was built in 2006 for $5 million," Jack noted to us. "A dream center for young families. It was going to have a child watch room, a teen center, and a climbing wall. Basketball courts for our kids and an indoor walking track for our seniors.  Take a a virtual tour of the center. Instead we're getting a run down recquetball club that fails to address the youth and the senior needs"

"Any council that would approve such an insane deal, without any resident input, doesn't deserve to represent us," noted Jack. "We need a change and we need it now."