County buys Painted Hills for $8.3 million - Tucson News Now

County buys Painted Hills for $8.3 million

  • Most ReadMost ReadMore>>

  • One man dead after officer involved shooting at South Lawn Mortuary

    One man dead after officer involved shooting at South Lawn Mortuary

    Saturday, May 27 2017 1:14 AM EDT2017-05-27 05:14:00 GMT
    (Source: Tucson News Now)(Source: Tucson News Now)

    The shooting happened at the South Lawn Mortuary cemetery on Friday night and has left one man dead.  The officers involved in the shooting were not hurt, according to Sgt. Bay. 

    The shooting happened at the South Lawn Mortuary cemetery on Friday night and has left one man dead.  The officers involved in the shooting were not hurt, according to Sgt. Bay. 

  • Tucson woman claims husband burned her house down; husband charged with arson

    Tucson woman claims husband burned her house down; husband charged with arson

    Saturday, May 27 2017 12:13 AM EDT2017-05-27 04:13:39 GMT
    (Source: Tucson News Now)(Source: Tucson News Now)

    Rhonda Grace Smith, 53, claims her husband Timothy Darnell burned down her mobile home on the south side after she received a series of voicemails from Darnell the night before.

    Rhonda Grace Smith, 53, claims her husband Timothy Darnell burned down her mobile home on the south side after she received a series of voicemails from Darnell the night before.

  • About Tucson News Now

    About Us

    About Tucson News Now Tucson News Now is the Internet home for KOLD, the CBS affiliate in Tucson and KMSB, the FOX affiliate in Tucson. On Feb. 1, 2012, Raycom Media, Inc., which owns KOLD and the Belo

    Learn more about Tucson News Now.

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -  In 1997, the voters gave Pima County $6.5 million to buy Painted Hills on West Speedway for open space.

Nearly 290 acres on Tucson's westside, it's a unique parcel with more than 9,000 saguaro and many types of wildlife.

But the owner found a buyer willing to pay more, who in turn found another buyer willing to spend $27 million for the property and develop it.

"At that point, we knew we were out of the game," says Pima Board Chair Sharon Bronson. "We could never afford that."

But the housing market collapsed, the city denied water rights to the property and so the owner decided to eat the loss and sell to the county for $7.5 million plus interest bringing the total to $8.3 million.

"With inflation, we probably bought it for less than the original amount," says Bronson. "I think we saved some dollars and saved a beautiful piece of land."

But the vote from the county board was not unanimous. It was four in favor and one against the purchase.

Voting against it was District 1 Supervisor Ally Miller, who doesn't not think it's money well spent and also complained during the same meeting on a different development issue, "that Pima County has a reputation across the state and nation for blocking development."

Open space preservation has caused a rift at times between the county and development community.

The pygmy owl issue during the 1990's and into the 2000's, which was resolved in court, is a prime example.

 But county voters have given the green light to the county for projects like the Painted Hills.

"Voters in Pima County voted for open space bonds and these are open space bonds," says County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. "So we're doing nothing more than fulfilling the wishes of the voters."

Huckelberry says "natural resource preservation enhances values."

Bronson agrees.

"I think the value is it enhances our economic development by providing the open space that we need," she says. "We know that this generation of high tech folks want to see."

The property will be added to the Tucson Mountain Park, the biggest addition to the park in more than a decade.

 What makes it even more valuable according the Huckelberry it that it's so close to town.

"Historically, it sets Tucson apart from other urban communities that consume natural resources." he says. "We're preserving them."

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.
  • Local newsMore>>

  • Police ID man shot, killed by officers at cemetery in Tucson

    Police ID man shot, killed by officers at cemetery in Tucson

    Saturday, May 27 2017 4:13 PM EDT2017-05-27 20:13:57 GMT
    Joseph Zimmerman, 34, was shot and killed Friday night, according to TPD (Source: Tucson News Now).Joseph Zimmerman, 34, was shot and killed Friday night, according to TPD (Source: Tucson News Now).

    Police in Tucson released new details about a deadly shooting involving police officers on the south side of the city Friday night.. An update from Tucson Police Department Saturday afternoon identified the man who died as 34-year-old Joseph Zimmerman.

    Police in Tucson released new details about a deadly shooting involving police officers on the south side of the city Friday night.. An update from Tucson Police Department Saturday afternoon identified the man who died as 34-year-old Joseph Zimmerman.

  • Overnight crash leaves three hurt, baby dead near border crossing

    Overnight crash leaves three hurt, baby dead near border crossing

    Saturday, May 27 2017 2:24 PM EDT2017-05-27 18:24:12 GMT

    A six-month-old child is dead and three other people hurt after a four-car crash near the Lukeville Port of Entry. According to Arizona Department of Public Safety, the crash happened on State Route 85 heading south near Lukeville late Friday night.

    A six-month-old child is dead and three other people hurt after a four-car crash near the Lukeville Port of Entry. According to Arizona Department of Public Safety, the crash happened on State Route 85 heading south near Lukeville late Friday night.

  • Pima Co. Flood Control restores Burrowing owl habitat

    Pima Co. Flood Control restores Burrowing owl habitat

    Saturday, May 27 2017 1:17 AM EDT2017-05-27 05:17:54 GMT
    (Source: Pima County)(Source: Pima County)

    Volunteers from Flood Control, Wild at Heart, the Tucson Audubon Society and Tucson Electric Power built 16 new burrows using plastic buckets, tubing, and PVC pipes to mimic natural burrows. These burrows were then covered in rock to provide additional protection to the habitat entrances.  

    Volunteers from Flood Control, Wild at Heart, the Tucson Audubon Society and Tucson Electric Power built 16 new burrows using plastic buckets, tubing, and PVC pipes to mimic natural burrows. These burrows were then covered in rock to provide additional protection to the habitat entrances.  

Powered by Frankly