Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Kristy Diaz-Trahan Celebrates A Decade of Service and Extraordinary Change As Oro Valley Parks Leader

Diaz-Trahan celebrates a decade with Oro Valley 
Kristy Diaz-Trahan joined the Town of Oro Valley as the town's Director of Parks on February 4, 2013.  That's ten years ago. 

My, how things have changed... from then...
At that time, the town had completed the rehabilitation of the town pool. The town had two major parks: Kreigh Park, which the town got for free from the County; and Riverfront Park, which the town had built a few years prior. The town also had the county bond purchased Steam Pump Ranch. The town had several multi-use paths.

...To now... A decade of major change
Diaz-Trahan has overseen tremendous change in the town's parks facilities and programs. Today there is much more to Oro Valley's Parks and Recreation system. There is a community center building that houses an exercise facility, meeting rooms, golf retail, and a restaurant.  There are also two locations for tennis courts. Town has converted some of these to Pickleball courts.  There is a resturant. There are three town owned golf courses that comprise 45 holes. Naranja Park, which was a gravel pit when Diaz-Trahan joined, is being built into a regional park.  Diaz-Trahan is overseeing the conversion of the Vistoso Golf Course into the Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve. Over the decade, the town has done much to increase its multi-use path and trails system.

Making Oro Valley's parks and recreation a source of economic vitality
When Diaz-Trahan joined the town, the focus of Parks and Recreation had been changed by then Mayor Hiremath. The focus had been to provide facilities and programs primarily for Oro Valley residents.  Hiremath wanted the town's parks facilities to be a revenue source for the town.  The thought was to use the facilities to bring those who live outside of Oro Valley into the community to spend their dollars. As reported in LOVE from our interview with her in March of 2013, Diaz-Trahan bought into that concept. She has implemented it. Today's majority council has retained that philosophy by not making any change to it. Thus, the creation of Naranja Park into a huge regional sports facility under their leadership.

Spending change from $2.8 million in 2013 to $15.4 million today
All of these changes have consequences in terms of the spending on Parks and Recreation by the town. The total Parks spending in 2013 was $2.8 million. The 2023-24 requested Town Manager Recommended Budged [TMRB] is $15.4 million. That is a five times increase. Total staff was 47 in 2013. The 2023-24 TMRB number is 69 staff. 

Rising to the challenge
It is hard to imagine that Diaz-Trahan anticipated all of the change that town councils have visited upon the parks department. None of these changes were envisioned in the town's 2006 or 2016 General Plans. The golf courses, tennis courts, and community center came about through a happenstance purchase from HSL Properties when it shed itself of these facilities for $1million in 2015. The Winfield Council decided to buildout Naranja Park through a $25 million bond offering in 2019. The town virtually had the Vistoso Property delivered to it so that the town could maintain and protect it in perpetuity in 2022. 

Nonetheless, Diaz-Trahan has risen to the challenge of helping to envision and create these facilities; and then to manage and operate them.

Add to this the major changes and increases in program offerings that Diaz-Trahan has authored and attendant increase in resident participation.

Congratulations Kristy....It's been an awesome decade of change
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