Town Talk: Coming soon: New memories at Naranja Park
Published on May 19, 2022
I was blessed to spend this past Mother’s Day with my mom and family. Typical for us, after lunch we sat out front under the big willow tree and reminisced, recounting our favorite memories and telling stories about each other. Each story is followed by laughter or a few blushed cheeks. One story that comes up on a regular basis is “The time Kristy gave herself a black eye at the ball field.” Good times. Most of our family stories took place in a park and include great memories of time spent with each other, with extended family and with old friends. Those parks are also where we met new friends. I remember our little town gathering there to watch fireworks fill the sky, or to cheer for us kids at sporting events. Parks connect us, both in the moment and decades later.
In Oro Valley, we are on the cusp of a new era of memory-making moments—millions of them—with the expansion of Naranja Park. Yes, that 206-acre piece of land we purchased some 20 years ago is approaching its final stage! This is happening now, after a multi-year Parks and Recreation Master Plan process in 2019-2021 that focused on the priorities of this community. After hearing from residents, the Oro Valley Town Council approved $25 million in bond financing in May 2021, for parks and recreation improvement and expansion projects. (Bond financing is not a voter-approved bond and does not increase taxes. Rather, it is a funding method that is repaid with the sales taxes the Town already collects.)
At least half of that $25 million will be used to invest in the remaining Naranja Park amenities. The remaining funds will be utilized for improvement projects at the Oro Valley Community and Recreation Center such as golf irrigation replacement, tennis court replacement, the addition of pickleball courts, and an upgraded/improved parking lot. Funding is also targeted for several multi-use path connection projects throughout town.
The Naranja Park Expansion Project includes four multi-sport rectangular fields (for soccer, football, lacrosse and more), six pickleball courts, a splash pad, two basketball courts, a skate park, pump track, an ADA/inclusive paved walkway, ramadas that will be available to rent, new restrooms, a relocated remote control flyer airstrip, and a new park entry from Tangerine Road (off Musette Drive) which also includes a multi-use path.
By now, you might be wondering when all of this will actually start happening. The answer is: SOON! We will be breaking ground with Mayor and Council on Tuesday, May 31 at 9 a.m., and I would like to personally invite you to join us. (810 W. Naranja Drive). This can be the start of your lifelong memories that will take place right here, at Naranja Park.
The project designer is McGann & Associates, and the project contractor is Haydon Construction. Haydon will be moving into the park the week of May 23 which will include fencing off the northern half of the park. This is necessary for public safety since Hayden will literally be moving tons of dirt as they begin forming the final footprint of the park. There will be wonderful elevation changes throughout, which will add to the uniqueness of Naranja Park. During this time, community meetings will be held to finalize designs for the skate/pump track park (May 26) and for the splash pad (details TBD). Meeting information will be posted to the project web page, where you’ll find regular updates on our progress. Just visit www.orovalleyaz.gov and enter NARANJA in the search bar. Project info and updates will also be sent out in the weekly Parks and Recreation e-blast and posted to the Parks Facebook Page. Like or follow us to stay in the know.
This is a very exciting time for Oro Valley, and I am proud to serve as your Director of Parks and Recreation as we begin this new chapter. I’ll see you in the parks, OV!