Council halts plans for new municipal complex - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

Council halts plans for new municipal complex

$33M project on hold for at least 1 year; police substation at Marketplace gets OK

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Posted: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 11:00 pm | Updated: 1:23 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

A planned $33-million project intended to house Oro Valley police, water and public works departments has been put on hold.

The Oro Valley Town Council on May 6 unanimously voted to postpone the project in lieu of budget constraints in fiscal 2010, which begins July 1.

The town bought the 23-acre site at Rancho Vistoso Boulevard and Innovation Park Drive in 2006 for $4.7 million.

The council considered four options for the property — including building the facility in one phase as originally planned, building over several phases, selling the land and transferring the project to a portion of the Naranja Town Site property, or putting the entire project on hold until the economy improves.

Much of the town's public works department has already moved into temporary buildings at the site. Those workers will continue to work at the Rancho Vistoso site.

The council plans to revisit the municipal operations center issue annually at budget time to determine if the town has facility needs that would make moving ahead with construction plans necessary, and to assess the inflation-adjusted costs of building the complex.

Putting the project on hold would still cost the town roughly $450,000 annually in debt service costs, according to town officials.

POLICE SUBSTATION ON TRACK

Town council members voted to move ahead with a plan to equip and staff a police department substation in the Oro Valley Marketplace shopping center at Oracle and Tangerine roads.

Councilman K.C. Carter voted against the project.

The town has already accepted a construction bid for the project. The price to outfit the building is estimated at $264,000. The project was given a $375,000 expense limit.

The proposed substation is intended to provide workspace for the department's bicycle and traffic teams. The site would also house a detainee holding facility.

In addition to the workspace, police intend to have additional communication devices installed that would improve radio communications in the area.

Police Chief Danny Sharp said the area has poor reception and the new technology would improve capabilities.

The town rents the facility from Vestar Development Company for $1 per year with a 20-year option on the property.

"I think this is a win-win for the town," Councilman Al Kunisch said.

The police also rent a facility at Oracle and Magee roads, and another on Rancho Vistoso Boulevard. The department pays in monthly rent and utilities for the facilities $4,200 and $2,400, respectively.

RANCHO VISTOSO PLAN ON HOLD

The council also voted unanimously to postpone a requested general plan amendment.

Tempe-based Vistoso Partners asked that the council wait until October to consider its request for land-use designation changes in the center of Rancho Vistoso.

The changes Vistoso Partners seeks would, in part, move a proposed school site and decrease the area set aside for a golf course.

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