A 1.6-mile, 12-foot-wide, $550,000 multiple use path through Oro Valley Marketplace was formally dedicated and trod upon Thursday morning by 20 people from Vestar Development Co., town government and the community.

“We are very pleased to celebrate the opening of this trail,” Vestar spokeswoman Denise Hart said.

“It’s very, very exciting to see this part of the trail being complete,” Mayor Paul Loomis said. “It’s a benefit for Vestar, and a benefit for all of the town. It’s a great asset to our community.”

The new trail extends from Tangerine and Innovation Marketplace Road through the open space and riparian areas of the western portion of Oro Valley Marketplace. Its terminus is at the foot of a planned pedestrian bridge over the Cañada del Oro Wash just above the confluence with Big Wash.

The Vestar-constructed trail surface is paved. Runners, walkers, cyclists, equestrians and others can utilize the trail, which is wheelchair-accessible. “It’s made for everyone to use,” Hart said.

Loomis pointed out the path system will provide “an alternative way to get to the center, and the amenities of the center,” for young people. “Kids going to the movie don’t have to ride their bikes on Oracle Road,” he said.

Vestar donated $80,000 to the town of Oro Valley to complete an additional 700-foot portion of the trail on town-owned land just north of the wash. There was “a break in the trail,” Loomis said, so “Vestar jumped in and said they would build that part of the trail.”

That section of path will wind through a mesquite bosque. “We’re not going to take any trees down,” Town Engineer Craig Civilier said. “It’ll be pretty neat.”

A transit center, located near the center of the path’s course through the commercial development, has public restrooms, benches and shade structures.

When the new bridge and another trail segment is finished, the Oro Valley trail system will hook into the town’s new Cañada del Oro Wash Linear Park trail. Ultimately, Loomis said, path users should be able to go from north to south Oro Valley, on to the Santa Cruz River and beyond. “You could start here, and end up in Sahuarita,” Loomis said.

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