What's next for Naranja? Park plan will slowly move forward

What's next for Naranja? Park plan will slowly move forward
(Source: Tucson News Now)
(Source: Tucson News Now)

ORO VALLEY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Don't tell these soccer kids and parents it wasn't needed - Naranja Park in Oro Valley is a second home for some of them.

Autumn Dorschner said she is at the park, "five to six days a week" during soccer season.

It's why there was so much excitement knowing that improvements could quickly come with Proposition 454.

The bond would have authorized, "the issuance and sale of $17 million in general obligation bonds to fund improvements at Naranja Park. The bonds would be repaid through a secondary property tax, which sunsets after 20 years," according to the Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Department website.

The bond would have helped to pay for new baseball diamonds, new multi-sport fields, and new concession stands.

"We asked the community, 'is this how you would like to pay for this project?' And the community gave us the answer," said Parks and Recreation Director Kristy Diaz-Trahan.

It was a resounding 'no.'

72 percent of the 16,000 registered voters gave a resounding 'no,' according to the election results.

"I think we're kind of disappointed. We were hoping to see this whole area grow," said Abbie Rouintree, another soccer parent attending practice Wednesday.

The Oro Valley bond may have been turned away on election night, but there is still hope for the park. They'll be headed down similar paths of other cities.

The Tucson Parks and Recreation Department said they have had bonds fail in the past and many parks remain unfunded. They are still on lists as future needs in the community when that funding becomes available.

"The few projects we have been able to get done recently that were part of those failed bonds, have been completed with impact fees. There is also an opportunity for private citizens, community groups, or other organizations to raise funds for specific projects they would like to see completed in the parks using the Tucson Parks Foundation 501(C)(3)," Sierra Boyer, Community Promotions and Marketing Manager with Tucson Parks and Recreation, said in a statement.

Boyer explained that playgrounds at Groves Park and Lincoln Park were built using those development impact fees, and are set to be dedicated on December 6.

Sports field lights were also built at Silver Lake Park and Udall Park using those impact fees.

It's a path Oro Valley will look to follow.

"We'll continue on the direction that we had planned on. It is all funded through our General Fund Capital Improvement. It will likely be about a 10-15 year build out," Diaz-Trahan said.

If the bond was passed, she said the project would only take about two to three years to complete.

It's only a matter of time, that some might not have.

"My youngest will be, probably, in her last years of soccer," Dorschner said. "I see now just how crowded it is between all the different organizations who need to be out here and sharing this space, it's difficult. There's just not a lot to go around."

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