For quite some time, the 213-acre plot of land known as Naranja Park in Oro Valley has sat with very little improvements as there were many discussions surrounding what to do with the property.
During the last few years, the park has begun to take shape with the addition of an archery range, a multiuse path system, an area designated for the Sonoran Desert Flyers to fly their remote controlled airplanes.
Now, the infrastructure for two multi use fields is nearing completion with the irrigation and lighting being installed, including a reclaimed water system, which is the first Oro Valley park to be on reclaimed water. The sod for the fields is expected to be put down some time in July.
Greg Caton, the town manager for Oro Valley, said the town was able to utilize a lot of its own resources to minimize costs. The project is budgeted to cost $2.3 million, with $1.403 million coming from the General Fund Contingency Reserves, $400,000 from Bed Tax Fund Contingency Reserves, $197,000 from council-designated reserve in the General Fund, and $300,000 from parks and recreation impact fees. In addition to that, $540,000 of the water infrastructure is paid from the water utility.
“We have the people with the skills to do it and it saved us a considerable amount of money for using those staff members,” Caton said. “We’ve done more of that in recent years, so it is just maximizing our resources. When you have a low, overall budget – $2.3 million – utilizing that existing staff allows us to get more done.”
The current reclaimed water line ended at La Cañada and Naranja. In order to use the reclaimed water, the town extended the line all the way into to the park. In addition to the lines being installed, the town has taken special precautions with the development of the ground under the fields. The complex draining system is designed to help alleviate some of the issues that might arise from using reclaimed water, such as the pooling of salt.
With longevity in mind, Caton said the town has taken numerous precautions toward maintaining high quality fields. That included trucking in a significant amount of sand to act as a buffer between the sod and the hard desert ground.
Caton said the fields were built with United States Soccer Association Standards in mind.
The fields will not be open to public for an expected six months to let the grass grow in and become well established.
After construction on the fields is completed, workers will then focus their attention toward constructing a dog park. The dog area will be 1.1 acres with areas for both large and small dogs. The dog parks will have grass interior with dirt perimeters, along with a ramada in each area and lighting.
The area between the dog park and the fields will be a 180-space parking lot with lighting.
The town also approved funding from the capitol improvement project for restrooms during the 2014/15 fiscal year.
The property was owned by the State of Arizona and leased for cattle grazing from 1954 to 1982. It then became a sand and gravel operation along with being an asphalt mixing plant through 1999.