Monday, March 4, 2013

Parks and Rec: A Community Asset and An Economic Driver

We met with Kristy Diaz-Trahan, the Town Of Oro Valley's Director of Parks and Recreation several weeks ago, shortly after Kristy had joined the town. We found her to be enthusiastic, energetic and excited about the opportunity to shape Oro Valley's parks and recreations program. You can read about Kristi's background here. Suffice it to say that she is a 20-year experienced veteran in this area.

Kristi was very enthusiastic about the town's aquatic center:
 "This facility was a bold investment in our future, and thankfully, Council had that long-term vision. Council understood its potential not only as a community asset, but as an ongoing economic driver for Oro Valley. [The Aquatic Center} is already drawing national interest, and is putting Oro Valley on the map for those who live outside the region."
Kristi embraces the link between the development of outstanding parks and recreational facilities and Oro Valley's economic viability. This thinking that Parks and Recreation's can drive economic growth and generate a return on investment represents a "sea change" in thinking.

Can you imagine other parks and recreation facilities in Oro Valley that would be both an asset to the community and an economic venture?

Here's an example.

Oro Valley does not have any senior softball facilities. Yet, Senior softball is an economic driver. This is because tournaments can be sponsored that bring in thousands of participants with their families. There can be several tournaments during the year. This would drive business activity in Oro Valley . The only other true senior softball facilities in the majority of PIMA County are located on the east side of Tucson at Lincoln Park or down near Davis Monathan Air Force Base. There is nothing north of 22nd St. The field that is used by the Oro Valley softball team is so bad that opposing players don't want to play there. Imagine world-class softball bringing thousands Oro Valley.

There are other opportunities though. For example Oro Valley has world-class bicycling capabilities. Why not convert that into a moneymaking opportunity by sponsoring bike tours or races? All we need to do is simply finish the CDO Wash trail. This is slated for 2013.

It is amazing what we could all come up with if we were think about parks and recreation facilities as both a community asset and a money making opportunity.

What do you think?

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