Regarding May 29 article: “Real estate appraisal: Home Values drop if Oro Valley closes golf”: I feel that one of the statements might be, I’m sure not intentional, on the misleading side. The subject matter is the “Golf Course” and the statement ends “acquired the facilities in December 2014 for $1 million.” This might make some believe that the only purchase for the $1 million was the golf course. If I am not mistaken the purchase also included, both club houses (La Cañada and Pusch Ridge) tennis courts at both locations, swimming pool at the La Cañada site, restaurant, building that now is the center which has meeting rooms and a gym.
More was purchased for the $1 million then just the golf courses. As I continued to read the article I saw where Mayor Winfield said that he had a copy but had not read it, then goes on to say that he does not discount the conclusions but feel that it an unfair comparison. How can anyone make a statement about a conclusion unless they have read the report? It’s like reading the last page of a book and not understanding why it ended the way it did. Or, I hope not, like the old saying: “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind’s made up”.
—Garry Lawrence, Oro Valley
What about seniors?
As the town council debates the future of the golf courses and the community center, I ask: Where are the facilities and services for the seniors of our community? The population of Oro Valley is approximately 44,000 and the average age is 52 years. The median household income is $79,000. This is compared to an average age of around 35 years for Tucson, Phoenix and Marana, with average incomes of about $40,000. Twenty nine percent of both males and females are over 65.
As I review the amenities of parks and recreation on the Oro Valley website, I see lots of smiling faces on bicycles, at swim meets at the Aquatic Center and the archery range and on local hiking trails. While this is all very attractive, I do not see any mention of activities for seniors. Many seniors may not be able to hike due to knee or hip problems, nor ride bicycles due to diminished balance, reflexes and sight. Splash parks? I don’t think so. Archery? I doubt it.
However, seniors with infirmities can and do play golf with access to golf carts; they play cards and mahjong and bridge where they can have lunch with friends. Many have given up tennis for pickleball. They exercise in a place that is safe and not subject to the millennial madness of a commercial fitness center. There is really no other public place in Oro Valley where all these amenities are available. In addition, any decrease in property values due to closure of the golf courses would have a financial impact on seniors who may be depending on the equity in their homes for their long term financial security.
So I urge the council to consider the town’s demographics in planning for the future of Oro Valley. It appears they’ve left seniors out of their plans.
—Janis Johnson, Oro Valley
Let them Govern
Isn’t it time we take a breather from the acrimonious diatribes of the former mayor and his sycophant Don Cox? It seems like disparaging the current administration is just a wee bit too soon. Mayor Winfield and the newly elected council have demonstrated a transparency that is far beyond anything that we had experienced in the prior administration. A review is in order to remind the former mayor and his erstwhile supporters of recent history. Proposition 454, which the Council and former Mayor Hiremath supported, was overwhelmingly defeated in 2017 by a plurality of 72% of the voters of Oro Valley. The mayor and his council suffered a recall in 2015 that was averted on a 51-49 vote. In addition, it was surprising, although predictable, that all four incumbent councilmembers lost their seats to the four candidates running against them in 2018.
I certainly support Mayor Hiremath’s right to his opinion and willingness to provide us with his version of the budget statistics. However, the statistic that stands out in most citizens’ minds is the one documenting the millions in losses at the golf courses. These losses are ingrained in the citizens of Oro Valley. If the former mayor thinks that by highlighting these new statistics that starting a recall petition is possible or his reelection in four years, think again Mr. former mayor.
The citizens of Oro Valley can no longer tolerate the fiscal irresponsibility that was demonstrated by the prior administration. Mayor Winfield and Vice Mayor Barrett have shown transparency and a focus on the budget control necessary so we can move beyond the foibles of the eight years of Hiremath’s administration.
So let’s sit back and see what this new administration can do for Oro Valley.
—Jim Horn, Oro Valley
My husband and I moved to Oro Valley in 2015 and really love it. Its recreational facilities, biking and hiking trails and parks were a huge attraction for us. Though not golfers when we moved here, the well-maintained community golf courses enhanced Oro Valley’s value and beauty for us. However, it now seems that is all at risk. Even though they are included in the town’s proposed fiscal year budget, the Town Council is considering whether or not to close and/or repurpose (not sure what this entails) one or all of the golf courses.
There has not been an open and balanced public discussion about the fate of these golf courses. There is not even a consensus among Town Councilmembers on this issue, which raises a lot of concerns for me and other residents. So much so that the Cañada Hills Community Association has sponsored an independent study that is now publicly available on the CHCA website.
The study analyses the impact of closing one or all of the golf courses on property values, tax revenue, and the overall desirability of our town, including the actual effect of closing, “The Club” at Rancho Vistoso.
I believe an open, public forum should be held on this critical issue, where all sides can be heard before any decision is made. If you agree, please let the City Council know you want to be heard.
—Jane Shurtleff, Tucson
Golf for safety?
As a resident of Oro Valley since 2004, I question the notion that there has been a safety “funding neglect” for six years. Perhaps Oro Valley, which received an “Arizona’s Best Small City,” “Top 20 Safe City” and “One of Arizona’s Safest Places to Live” designation during this period, has well managed, well equipped and dedicated staff.
Granted, as the town grows, there is a need for additional staff. The council approved four positions which equates to an initial cost of $466,353 and a one-time cost of $258,000. Some of the cost should be offset from an increase in tax revenues from added growth. With the increase in the spending cap of $3 million to a budget of $111 million, I believe the impact to the budget is minimal.
When I hear “we have to close the golf courses to fund public safety,” I say: “Bunk.”
—Dr. Willis Kittleman, Oro Valley
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