Thursday, October 22, 2020

Parks and Recreation Master Plan Is Taking Shape (Part 2)

This article is the second regarding the status of the development of the 2020 Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The first article appeared yesterday.
Concept plans on display

Mike Svetz from Pros Consulting, the firm that is building the master plan, unveiled five concept plans during his discussion with the Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Commission this past Tuesday.

Concept plans for the towns are site-by-site
He presented one plan for each of the five Oro Valley community parks. This is a sample of what is being proposed:
  • Community Center would get a reconfigured parking lot and replaced tennis courts
  • Kreigh Park would have basketball courts replacing the racquetball court, a relocated dog park and a new adventure play area
  • Riverfront Park would have splash pad and a dog park. Consideration would be given to changing the soccer fields into diamond fields
  • Steam Pump Ranch would have an upgraded area that is better organized for seating and possible relocation of the farmers market to the "panhandle" area
  • Naranja Park, the town's only truly regional park, would continue on its building path: More fields, as skate park and better buffering to adjacent homes
Svetz included the following critical items in the concept plan. These are items that pose a risk or safety issue:
  • Steam Pump Ranch update of the historical buildings' core
  • Playground replacement at Kreigh Park
  • Stabilizing erosion areas at Naranja Park
Spending is yet to be determine
The cost of the plan and the funding for such have yet to be determined. Regarding cost, Svetz stated that The Parks and Recreation Master Plan will have three "buckets" of spending. One will contain those items that are "life-cycle" replacements. The second will contain items that upgrade the town's parks. The third  will contain the continued spending needed to build Naranja Park.

The plan still has a long way to go...Virtual Meeting on November 12
Residents will have the opportunity to share their thinking. The town will host a virtual meeting on November 12 to discuss community needs, park classification, level of service standards, mapping and the framework for concept plans. The town will seek community input via the town's web site for a month, starting November 18. 

What's not in the plan
The plan does not include anything regarding the former Vistoso Golf Course land. This, we suspect, is because it would be unwise for the town to state a position on this while land sale negotiations, though on hold at the moment, are very much in play. The plan also did not include discussion of the program and cultural aspects of parks and recreation activities.

click to enlarge
How will this plan get the  town get to "Excellent"
The plan is based on a metric of the number of something in relation to a Pros Consulting standard For example, there is now one pickleball court per 7,600 residents. The Pros Consulting target is one per 4,000 residents. Therfore, according to Svetz, there is a need for eight more pickleball courts. That will bring the total to 14.  The panel that follows shows the recommended level by amenity.

What the discussion did not consider is how this plan, if implemented, will improve resident rating of the quality of recreation programs and services. According to a May staff presentation to council, only 2% of residents consider the current situation as "excellent." 91% give a current situation a fair or poor rating. "The national benchmark for excellent is 33%," according to that May staff presentation.

It is important, we think, for the plan to be measured against how it will help Oro Valley achieve excellence, rather than how it can meet or exceed "standards" for each amenity it could provide.