Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Winfield: "Together We Guide Our Future"

Winfield's "State of the Town Address" paints bright future
Last Thursday, the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted Mayor Joe Winfield as he presented the Town's 22nd Annual "State of the Town Address." Mayor Winfield outlined a compelling vision for the future of Oro Valley as he shared the remarkable progress the town made in 2023 in the pursuit of this vision.

Oro Valley is about "Community Building"
The Mayor emphasized that thoughtful planning and core services are vital in making Oro Valley an exceptional place to live and do business. "It's about building parks to provide places and activities for individuals and families. It's about investing in quality roads and maintaining an adequately staffed police department. It's about the sustainable management of our water assets to ensure residents now and well into the future that we have a safe and reliable water supply. It's about shaping our built environment to serve the community while also preserving Oro Valley's stunning views and unique character."

Oro Valley is "Evolving to Meet Future Needs"
"Momentum" also emerged as a recurring theme, symbolizing the driving force behind the council's actions and decisions. "I'm excited about the direction and momentum this Council has charted to bring us closer to Oro Valley's vision for the future as stated in the 2016 General Plan....Having momentum can increase confidence and enable bold decisions, because, like a sports game, you have a strategic plan so that everyone understands the shared goal." 

The town's new short-term rental ordinance is an example. "Our goal is to support our rentals and hotel properties while also preserving the quality of life in our neighborhoods for residents who call Oro Valley home."  Winfield also referenced a revisioning of the Oro Valley marketplace into the Oro Valley Village Center. "While we're still finalizing some details, this project is moving forward, and these new opportunities will better serve our residents, guests, and businesses."

Oro Valley Strives to Provide Outstanding Core Services and Infrastructure
Public safety and parks played a crucial role in the address. The Oro Valley Police Department's accreditation and commitment to excellence were recognized, demonstrating the town's dedication to safeguarding its citizens.

The Mayor shared the many park and recreational improvements this past year, highlighting the town's Naranja Park expansion project, improvements in municipal golf irrigation, the acquisition and planned conversion of the Vistoso Golf Course into a nature preserve, and the upcoming elevator installation at the community center. "All of this is great news, especially as the Community Center is at record-level memberships and serving more residents and guests than ever."

Oro Valley Leads in "Environmental Stewardship"

"Thoughtful resource management and a series of successful projects and initiatives have solidified Oro Valley as a community that continues to place high value on sustainability and the natural environment." 

Oro Valley's commitment to water conservation, resource management, and community beautification are examples. He showcased the town's efforts in water resource management and efficient water infrastructure. [See panel above right]  "In April, the Town, in partnership with several regional agencies, cut the ribbon on the Wildlife Protection Gate and Fence Project on Oracle Road, which prevents wildlife from dangerous road crossings and keeps them in the Big Wash wildlife corridor."

Next Year We Celebrate 50 Years
The speech also unveiled exciting plans for Oro Valley's 50th-anniversary celebration in 2024, which will include a range of community events and a business-focused program. "For history lovers, there will be an interactive timeline on the Town's website, and we'll be publishing a new podcast series and 12 monthly articles about Oro Valley's first 50 years."

The town is determined to involve its business community in these celebrations, fostering community engagement. "To that end, the Town and the Greater Oro Valley Chamber are creating a special 'shop local' program that incentivizes shopping at participating businesses by holding prize drawings throughout the year."

The 2026 General Plan will be "Oro Valley's Path Forward"
Winfield announced "Oro Valley Path Forward" as the theme of the 2026 General Plan. "The General Plan is our 'true north' because it is informed and shaped by the citizens. It identifies our values, priorities, needs, and wants. It articulates our goals, policies, and measurable actions. The community-based process of developing a general plan is how we turn the community's vision into reality, as the plan becomes our playbook for the next ten years."

The Mayor also underscored the importance of public engagement in shaping the future of Oro Valley through this plan. He announced the official launch of an online engagement platform, encouraging residents to participate in discussions and provide feedback on crucial focus areas. OVPathForward.com is the link to that platform.

Thanks to Staff 
In a heartfelt moment, the Mayor acknowledged the hard work and dedication of the Town staff, whose efforts are foundational to the quality of life in Oro Valley.

Our Future Is Bright
The Mayor concluded: "Together, we can guide our town toward a future envisioned by its citizens, setting the stage for a community that flourishes while preserving what makes Oro Valley special. Together, let us continue this momentum for a brighter, more peaceful, and prosperous tomorrow."
Watch Mayor Winfield's speech.
Read a transcript of his remarks.