On the first day of June, the Arizona summer granted Marana town officials a reprieve. In a month when temperatures routinely break triple digits, on this morning a gentle breeze and a lightly overcast sky allowed for an unseasonably pleasant morning.
In a small clearing just south of Tangerine road, between Camino de Oeste and Camino de Mananña, amid the teddy bear cholla and blooming saguaros, a clump of Town staff chatted with residents, contractors, and their colleagues under the pyramid of a white tent. Glancing around, they started to imagine the plans for this clearing and the surrounding desert. Visions of swings rocking back and forth, dogs frolicking in a dog park, kids running through the open grass—these images would soon become reality. This is the site of Tangerine Sky Community Park, Marana’s first new park since 2009, and today is the groundbreaking.
“Who here has memories of playing in a public park?” Town Manager Gilbert Davidson asked of the small assembly. “Who here has taken their kids or grandkids to the park? Think about those moments when you watch your child go down a slide for the first time. This park is about real people enjoying a public park.”
In 2015, during the preliminary planning stages of this park, Marana staff surveyed the neighborhood surrounding it to find out what some of those real people would want in this new amenity. As a result of that effort, the final design for this park includes two dog parks, a playground, a basketball court, a turfed area, and a paved path and a nature trail that will meander through undeveloped Sonoran Desert.
“This final design reflects exactly what we learned from residents,” says Parks and Recreation Director Cynthia Nemeth-Briehn. “This 12-acre park balances natural elements with developed features so that users of all kinds can find something to love about this location.”
The location of the park, south of Tangerine Road is conveniently located near both Dove Mountain and the Twin Peaks Corridor, benefiting a wide array of visitors. Currently, the Town of Marana is working with Pima County and Oro Valley to widen Tangerine Road between Dove Mountain Blvd and La Cholla Dr. As part of this project, a shared-use path will allow cyclists, walkers, joggers, and any other non-motorized users to enjoy a car-free pathway. Tangerine Sky Community Park, when complete, will serve as an ideal trailhead for this route.
“Our aim with this park is to create a point of pride in this community, a gathering place for our residents,” continues Nemeth-Briehn. “We’ll host free concerts here, and no doubt there will be birthday parties, quinceañeras, and family picnics. We can’t wait for this park to open next year and to see our residents start using it.”
Town staff expect construction on the park to continue from now into 2018, just in time for a ribbon cutting in the spring. Keep checking back in the Marana Newsroom, like the Town on Facebook, and follow the Town on Twitter to stay in the loop on all project updates.