OV Town Talk: Celebrating 50 years of community

Published on March 26, 2024


By Misti Nowak, Communications & Marketing Administrator, with assistance from Jeff Hidalgo, Public Information Officer

A word like “community” is imbued with positive sentiment. Concepts like togetherness. Sharing. Sense of place. Pride. You get the idea. And while those sentiments certainly ring true for Oro Valley, the word community—or more specifically, the idea of building community—is more complex.

When Town staff landed on the theme “Celebrating 50 Years of Community” for our 50th anniversary, it was with the understanding that in Oro Valley, community is an ethos, a guiding principle, which often requires perseverance, compromise and sometimes sacrifice in the service of the greater good.

In the short-term, community building happens in our day-to-day living when we come together in times of celebration, such as the upcoming 50th anniversary parade and special event (more on those in a moment). It happens when we get to know our neighbors. It happens when our kids make friends at school or at the park. It happens when we patronize local businesses. Opportunities are everywhere.

Long-term community building, such as the Town’s struggle for incorporation 50 years ago, requires vision, leadership and citizen engagement. A prime example of residents working to build community is the personal sacrifice of time and resources to donate $1.8 million for the purchase of what would become Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve. The incredible work being done at Naranja Park is also community building, both in the geographical sense of the word, but also in its role as a space where new friendships and memories will be created. It is fitting that the upcoming grand re-opening of this community gem should occur in our 50th year.

It is also fitting that right now, Oro Valley residents and staff are working together to identify priorities for the next General Plan, which will serve as our town’s blueprint for the next 10 years. This critical effort will only be successful if our residents are part of the process. To those who are already participating, we say: Thank you! And to those who haven’t yet joined us, we say: It’s not too late! Your path begins at OVPathForward.com.

In the meantime, let’s talk about some of the 50th anniversary opportunities for celebrating and building community!

We invite you to:

Attend the 50th Anniversary Parade, Saturday, April 6, from 9 to11 a.m., along Naranja Drive. The procession begins at Ironwood Ridge High School and ends at the Oro Valley Library. It will feature motorized floats, vintage cars, and a variety of featured animals, marchers and performers that showcase our residents and local community groups.

Enjoy the festivities and fireworks at the 50th Anniversary Community Celebration, Saturday, April 13, from noon to 9:45 p.m., at James D. Kriegh Park. This free, family-friendly event promises entertainment for all ages, including live performances, kids' crafts and games, an array of food trucks and beverage options for purchase. It all culminates with a stunning fireworks show at 9:30 p.m.

Join us for the “50 Trees for 50 Years” community tree planting, Saturday, April 27, starting at 9 a.m. Roll up your sleeves and help us plant trees at four Oro Valley locations: Naranja Park, James D. Kriegh Park, Riverfront Park, and Steam Pump Ranch.

Shop local in support of the “50 Businesses for 50 Years” Shop Oro Valley program. In collaboration with the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Oro Valley launched this effort to highlight our local businesses throughout this year of celebration. Visit orovalleychamber.com for program details, including how to win free stays at the Hilton El Conquistador and free passes to Tohono Chul.

Dive into Oro Valley’s history by checking out the 50th anniversary series of podcasts, articles and video interviews with the people who have helped build and shape this community. Explore the pivotal moments, milestones and cherished memories from the last five decades on the interactive 50th Anniversary digital timeline, A Journey through the Years. Just visit orovalleyaz.gov and click on the blue “50th Anniversary” button. New content will be posted throughout 2024, so check back often!

In addition to exciting activities and celebrations that bring the community together, a strong and enduring community is built on a foundation of engaged citizens and a shared vision for our quality of life. That’s why efforts like OV’s Path Forward are so important. 2024 isn’t just our 50th anniversary. 2024 is the beginning of Oro Valley’s next chapter, and it offers so many opportunities to be part of building the community we want for the next 50 years.


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