Preserve Vistoso has raised almost $1.2 million of their $1.8 million goal for The Conservation Fund to purchase the defunct Vistoso Golf Course from Romspen Vistoso LLC, a Canadian non-bank mortgage lender.
“We’re taking every opportunity we can to make our case to the community and they have responded generously,” President of Preserve Vistoso Gayle Mateer said.
Preserve Vistoso has until Dec. 15 to raise $1.8 million for TCF to purchase the property in order to set it aside for as a nature reserve with six miles of paved trails. Preserve Vistoso has been working with community members who donated last time they attempted to purchase the property as they develop more strategies to get new donations from the community this time around.
Preserve Vistoso added links to their website for people to donate directly with card payments. They also held informative public Zoom meetings to give interested parties an explanation of their mission and are setting up booths at community events like the Steam Pump Ranch farmer’s market and the Vistoso Community Association shredding event.
“Overall the process is working very well, we’re excited and grateful to the community for stepping up to the challenge,” Mateer said.
This purchase is the culmination of 18 months of collaborative efforts between TCF, Preserve Vistoso and the Town of Oro Valley. After some ups and downs in the negotiation process, the Town of Oro Valley asked Conservation Fund Southwest Director Mike Ford to come back in April 2021 to resume talks and seal the deal. This time he was
TCF will place a conservation easement on the property after purchase. A conservation easement is a legal agreement that permanently protects property from development. Ford said this guarantees the $1.8 million given by community members isn’t wasted.
This protection is exactly what community members in Oro Valley have been working towards. When the Vistoso Golf Course closed in 2018, community members later formed the nonprofit Preserve Vistoso in 2019. Preserve Vistoso and its supporters made it abundantly clear they wanted the golf course to be protected from development.
In March 2020, Romspen filed a general plan amendment with Oro Valley to rezone the property to sell to developers. This is when Rosa Dailey, a founding member of Preserve Vistoso, sought out Ford’s help.
Donate to Preserve Vistoso at www.preservevistoso.org.