OV asks $6M in federal funding for Steam Pump
Explorer file photo, Oro Valley officials have asked Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to seek a $6 million appropriation for Steam Pump Ranch. This file photo shows the pump house.

The historic Oro Valley homestead known as Steam Pump Ranch has been a fixture of the Northwest side since the 1870s.

Today, with Steam Pump Ranch owned by the town of Oro Valley, local officials are looking to the federal government to lend a hand with the extensive historic preservation effort planned for the property.

Oro Valley officials have asked for help from Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Dist. 8), sending the congresswoman's office an appropriations request for fiscal 2011.

The town has asked for $6 million to complete the opening phase of the Steam Pump Ranch historic restoration project.

According to the document submitted to Giffords' office, the total cost of the project could top $13.6 million. That total included the initial $4.5 million in Pima County bonds used to purchase the property, and $440,000 of Oro Valley general fund spending used to complete emergency stabilization work on dilapidated structures at the site.

A multi-year building plan the town commissioned in 2008 estimated the total cost of restoration work at $8 million. In 2009, the town successfully lobbied to have the property placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Appropriations, also known as earmarks, are what members of Congress use to acquire federal funding for projects in their home districts. In this case, the money could be placed in a U.S. Department of Interior spending bill. Town officials might not know until the end of the year if the project will receive the requested funds.

A completed list of appropriations that Giffords intends to push for should be available later this month, a representative from the congresswoman's office said.

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