Monday, November 15, 2021

The Town of Oro Valley Embarks On An Extraordinarily Ambitious Set of Parks Projects

Investment will result in massive change to the town's parks and recreation system over the next three years
Based on town council direction in July, and funding secured in September, Town of Oro Valley staff has embarked on a set of major parks projects. Over the next three plus years the town will build, upgrade and improve the town’s Parks and Recreation system. 

$25 million in spending from the parks bond...
The town will spend tens of millions of dollars in doing so. $25 million of this is from a bond that the town issued on September 22. Those monies are specifically to be used for three facilities: Naranja Park; Golf and the Community Center; and multi-use paths. The council has defined specific projects. (See panel) These projects can be changed by a future council as long as the funds are used to improve the facilities. The town is required to spend 85% of the $25 million within three years per bond requirements.

Plus another $6.9 million in non bond related projects this year
The town will also spend money from the annual parks and recreation budget for parks and recreation facilities. These are annual appropriations, subject to the discretion of the current and future councils. 

This year’s budget for parks and recreation capital improvements is $29.2 million. That includes spending of $22.3 million dollars from the bond funds. Thus, there is additional $6.9 million on projects this year that are not related to the projects reported in this article. (Source: 2021-22 Town of Oro Valley Final Budget, pages 225 and 230).

These non bond related projects are either lifecycle replacement projects or park improvement projects. This year's lifecycle replacement projects are the rehabilitation of the garage at Steam Pump Ranch, the rehabilitation of the BBQ and bunkhouses at Steam Pump Ranch, a playground upgrade at Kreigh Park, and an upgraded sanitation unit at the Aquatic Center. The sole parks improvement project is a hardscape walkway at Naranja Park.  (Source: 9/21/21 Town Council Agenda item 3)

Financial impact of the Vistoso Preserve is on the horizon
The operating cost and investment impact of adding the former Vistoso Golf Course to the town's parks and recreation system won't be known to the public until after the purchase occurs, hopefully early in 2022. There is work that the town will need to do there as the course has been abandoned for four years.  This will add to the complexity of what is already a very ambitious set of Oro Valley parks projects. 
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Wednesday, we explore the complexity of actually spending the $25 million bond funds and building the projects within a three year horizon.