Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Here’s What Happened While We Were Away

The ATM Explosion
In July, someone used explosives to blow the side off an ATM at Wells Fargo (Tangerine and First Avenue). No money was taken. The matter is still under investigation.

Bookstore Cafe opens.. fifteen businesses under construction
Also in July, Stacks, an independent book store and full-service coffee bar, opened in the Oro Valley Marketplace. Read more about Stacks here. They are planning a ribbon cutting this fall.  At the moment, there are fifteen other businesses “ under construction” according to the town’s August “Commercial Project Status Report.”. No commercial occupancy permits were issued in July. There were fourteen single family residence permits issues. 

Diaz-Trahan leaves 
Kristy Diaz-Trahan, the Director of Parks and Recreation in Oro Valley, resigned her position in July. Diaz-Trahan had reached a significant milestone of 10 years with the town in May and was responsible for overseeing considerable improvements to the town's Parks and Recreation facilities. We extend our best wishes to Diaz-Trahan and express appreciation for her efforts in expanding the town's system. In the interim, Matthew Jankowski has assumed the role of Director.

Town plans pedestrian safety improvements at Naranja Park entrance… final design and funding approval pending
In July, Paul Keesler, the Town’s Engineer, presented recommendations of the town's safety committee to the Council for enhancing pedestrian safety on Naranja Drive at the entrance to the park. The proposed improvements encompass the installation of rapid rectangular flashing beacons, mumble strips designed to alert drivers to the fog lane, vertical flexible devices that sit on the fog line, and a high-visibility crosswalk. The diagram on the right provides a preliminary visual representation of this plan. Keesler is in the process of finalizing the design and intends to present the completed plans to the Council soon for budgetary approval.

The town has completed a paved pathway on the north side of the road. This pathway ensures that individuals can now access the park safely without having to walk within the lane designated for vehicle exits.

Sabrina Garcia case moves slowly
Very little progress occurred in the misdemeanor hearing of Sabrina Garcia. Garcia was the driver of the vehicle that the tragic St. Patrick’s Day death of Olivia Villalobos and injury to her sister Avry.  The court held a pre trial conference in July. The next court date is a trial management conference on October 3 at 4pm. It is this tragic accident that, after our urging, spurred the town to take action to Improve pedestrian safety in the area.

Vandals wreck pagoda at Steam Pump Ranch
In large July, a vehicle drove recklessly around Steam Pump Ranch, damaging a pagoda. The police have yet to apprehend the culprit.

Town issues easy to read budget
“The Town of Oro Valley’s Know Your Town’s Budget [for fiscal 2024] document is now available online for residents to read or download.” (Source: Town of Oro Valley Media Release)

Oro Valley implemented a storm cleanup plan
This summer in Oro Valley, the monsoon season was almost nonexistent. There were sporadic instances of light rain, with just one significant storm on August 16 that brought heavy rain, strong winds, and many fallen trees. Thankfully, Oro Valley didn’t lose power like the 56,000 people in Tucson who endured up to 3 days without electricity during temperatures over 100 degrees. In response, the town announced a storm clean up plan: “Immediately after the storms, the Public Works crews worked in the evenings to clear debris and fallen trees from the roads, guaranteeing a safe commute for drivers.” As of now, the town should have completed its cleanup efforts. (Source: Town of Oro Valley Media Release)

Oro Valley Village Center Economic Development Agreement is still a mystery
At July Town Council Meeting, the Council met in Executive Session to discuss an “Economic Development Agreement” with Town West, the owners of the Oro Marketplace. The “agreement” is a request by Town West for town funding of their planned recreation area. The recreation area is part of their vision for what will be the Oro Valley Village Center. We’ve heard that the cost to the town would be more than $10million.