Tuesday, May 21, 2024

A Grand Celebration of Naranja Park's Expansion

Community excited with new amenities
It was an opening like no other. Excitement buzzed as the community gathered to celebrate the expansion opening of Naranja Park. Smiles were everywhere, and the atmosphere was filled with joy. The park now boasts two new soccer fields, a beautiful splash pad, and newly added pickleball courts.

The "Pump Track" is a highlight
The highlight of the celebration was the pump track, Arizona's largest, swarming with enthusiastic BMX riders. This was the central spot for the festivities, drawing everyone from town council members and candidates Mary Murphy and Elizabeth Robb to the press and Recreation Director Roz Epting. Epting led the celebration, congratulating the hundreds who contributed to making this phase of the park’s development a reality.

Mayor Winfield excited "...to see park come to fruition"

Mayor Winfield was beaming as he stood at the podium to give brief remarks. His council's expansion financing creativity brought this expansion of the park to life. "This event marks a milestone for our community as we unveil the much-anticipated Naranja Park Expansion. It’s been exciting to see the vision of this park come to fruition,” said Mayor Joe Winfield.

Winfield should be excited. His council accomplished the expansion without new taxes, achieving what the Loomis (2008) and Hiremath (2017) councils could not. Both had proposed a secondary property tax to finance an expansion, but the residents soundly rejected both.

A big effort on the part of many over many years
The park’s creation has many heroes, tracing back to the original committee in 2000. Dick Eggerding, one of the early Naranja Park “what should we do with this gravel pit” committee chairs, was present and beaming with pride. His dedication and those of others has finally paid off, culminating in this beautiful park expansion.  The park also will have an independently financed "Heroes Memorial" of which Eggerding is Founder and Chairman. It is under construction. Donations accepted.

Significant construction work
This phase of the expansion of Naranja Park was no small feat. Over 23 months, Oro Valley Director of Public Works Paul Keesler and his staff oversaw this ambitious project. Nearly 1.2 billion pounds of earth (or 350,000 cubic yards) were moved to complete this project. Hundreds of new trees and plants have been added, including 477 trees, 204 shrubs, 42 succulents and cacti, and nearly 40 acres of native plant hydroseeding. All of this was completed three months early. Fifty-five saguaros will be planted this summer.

Investment and future plans
This phase of the park represents an investment of more than $20 million. While the majority of the park is now built out, the Town will continue to explore opportunities to add even more amenities in the coming years, pending new funding options.

Now is the time to celebrate! 
The park is open and ready for everyone to enjoy. Grab your swimsuit, check out the splash pad, bring your soccer ball and pickleball racket, and join the fun. Naranja Park is open – it’s time to party!
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