Council to vote on Steam Pump Ranch final plan
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, The original ranch house at Steam Pump Ranch, above, was likely built in the 1880s. Architects call the building an example of transitional Sonoran style, with its adobe walls and timber-framed roof.

At Wednesday’s Oro Valley Town Council meeting, members plan to vote to formally accept the Steam Pump Ranch master plan.

The document, several months in the making, outlines the town’s vision for the historic Pusch family residence.

Dating to the 1870s, the former home of German-immigrant George Pusch has undergone numerous changes since its founding as a working cattle ranch and popular stopover for cattlemen on their trips to deliver herds to rail yards.

The property draws its name from the steam-powered pump Pusch used to plumb water from the depths.

The town bought the home and surrounding acreage from the Leiber family in 2007 for $3 million.

In May 2007, the council hired the architectural firm Poster Frost to conduct research and shepherd the town-appointed citizen’s task force through the master planning process.

The town paid the company nearly $250,000 for its services.

Town leaders hope a thorough restoration will make the property and its buildings a destination for residents and visitors.

The master plan outlines three phases of restoration, each opening more of the property to the public over time.

During the pre-opening phase crews would work to stabilize the crumbling circa 1870s pump house, paving the way for a more thorough restoration.

The plan also calls for roof and structural repairs at the Pusch ranch house.

Pre-restoration work may also be required for the Procter/Leiber residence, built in the 1930s.

That house, which the Leibers left last month, eventually would undergo numerous changes, including the removal of a second-story addition.

The master plan calls for the construction to be done in three stages, the first of which would last through late 2009.

The second stage of construction would be complete by February 2012, according to the master plan, which would coincide with the state’s centennial celebration.

The plan sets no date for completion of the final stage of restoration and construction.

Total capital costs for the restoration could reach $8.2 million.

The town manager’s recommended budget for fiscal 2009 sets aside $914,000 for Steam Pump Ranch’s restoration.

Town leaders have said they want to include some of the costs for Steam Pump Ranch restorations in a possible 2009 Pima County bond election.


The restoration of Oro Valley’s historic Steam Pump Ranch would come in three phases.

First phase

• Capital: Up to $700,000

• Operation: $104,406

• Estimated revenue: $0*

• Work on Pusch Ranch House, pump house, Procter/Leiber residence, worker’s house

Second phase

• Capital: $5.3 million

• Operations: $439,775

• Estimated revenue: $119,700

• Additional restorations, infrastructure, ramada construction, landscaping

Final phase

• Capital: $1.99 million

• Operations: $567,720

• Estimated revenue: $298,950

• New caretaker’s quarters, Procter-era chicken coop replicas, event and equestrian centers

Total capital costs: $8.2 million

* Officials anticipate fewer visitors during the first phase of the project.

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