Democracy can be messy and complicated. But in some circumstances—like right now in the Town of Oro Valley—democracy in action is a beautiful thing. Boiled down to its simplest components, it looks like this:
Step 1: Citizens make a request.
Step 2: Government works with citizens to create a proposal to fulfill that request.
Step 3: Citizens vote.
This is exactly what is happening with Naranja Park.
Citizens made a request.
Over the past few months, and culminating at the Feb. 15 council meeting, members of the community—including youth sport parents, athletes and Oro Valley user groups—asked Council to take action to construct additional sport fields at Naranja Park. While the Town Council adopted a 2015 Naranja Park Master Plan, the Town’s phased approach to development (setting aside one-time revenues for one-time expenses) was not progressing quickly enough to keep pace with user demand. Thus, the request.
Your town government is working with citizens to create a proposal which fulfills that request.
Town council directed staff to return at a future meeting with a proposal that meets the needs of this request, as well as a plan for financing. After collaboration with user groups, stakeholders and the design firm, staff presented that proposal on April 5, which includes only the elements that the community has identified as being in greatest demand (sport fields and related amenities and infrastructure).
For those of you who are still relatively new to this project, let me give you a quick overview.
The proposal, which aligns with both the 2015 Naranja Park master plan and the 2016 voter-approved Your Voice, Our Future General Plan, includes (among other things): three multi-sport fields, a baseball/softball complex, lighting, restrooms, shade structures, a playground, mass grading, utility systems and an improved roadway from Naranja Drive to Tangerine Road.
The infrastructure work on this project is substantial, and the proposed improvements would require approximately $17 million. (To put that into perspective, the price tag for a full build-out of the 2015 Naranja Park Master Plan would be $33 million.)
The proposal also includes a recommendation to issue general obligation bonds to fund the project, which would be repaid through a secondary property tax, costing about $4.50 a month for the average homeowner with a home valued at $250,000. And since citizens can’t run a referendum on a bond, it is the job of town council to place this item on the ballot for public vote.
Now that the proposal is on the table, we need your help. It’s time for the community to weigh in. Dozens of residents and park users have already shared their input, either via email or during the public comment portion of the April 19, 2017 Council Meeting. If you missed the April meeting, there will be a second opportunity for public comment at the May 3, 2017 Council Meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. (11000 N. La Cañada Drive). That evening, Council is also scheduled to make a decision on whether or not to refer this item to the November ballot. So before that decision, make sure you’ve read through the proposal (information at www.orovalleyaz.gov), and let us know if there are any details we haven’t considered or any questions you need answered.
If you can’t make the May 3 meeting, don’t worry. Our Constituent Services Coordinator Jessica Hynd is gathering input and will provide that to Council and staff for their consideration. So be sure to email her at email@example.com.
Citizens will vote on the proposal.
If Council decides to refer this to the ballot, then it’s up to you, Oro Valley. Voters will make the final decision in November. And whether the bond measure passes or fails, well, that’s the beauty of democracy.