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  • 1974 Bond Program

    By The Numbers:

    $6 million in voter approved bonds

    7,000 acres acquired
    In 1973, the Board of Supervisors turned down a rezoning along Oracle Road and the western flanks of the Catalina Mountains after the public repeatedly opposed the project. The Board then created the Oracle Road Greenbelt Committee, made up of federal, state, county, city and citizen representatives, to instead recommend ways to preserve the land. The committee’s final recommendations included a 1974 bond election to acquire the land for a future park – later to become part of Catalina State Park. The voter-ballot also included funding under a separate question for expansion of Tucson Mountain Park and acquisition of other natural areas to meet the future park needs of residents around the periphery of Tucson.


    Roy P. Drachman Agua Caliente Park

    agua calienteOriginally homesteaded in the early 1870s, Agua Caliente Ranch became Tucson’s first destination resort in the 1880s because of the natural hot springs on the site. Nearly 100 years later, Pima County purchased this 100-acre property on Tucson’s northeast side in 1984 to preserve its unique natural and cultural values. The purchase was funded with 1974 and 1986 bond funds, as well as a $200,000 donation from Roy Drachman. As a child, Drachman reportedly had fond memories of trips to the hot springs. State historic preservation grants and 1997 bond funds were later used to renovate the historic ranch house and convert it into a visitor center, which includes an art gallery exhibiting works of local artists.

    Tucson Mountain Park Eastern Expansion

    bowen houseBetween 1974 and 1985, the County added 6,900 acres to Tucson Mountain Park’s eastern boundary, the majority of it funded with 1974 bond funds. Over 2,000 acres were acquired from David and Rose Dortort. Mr. Dortort was best known for creating the TV series “Bonanza” and another series, “High Chaparral,” filmed at Old Tucson. The Dortort’s property was originally homesteaded by Sherry and Ruby Bowen in the 1930s, and the walls of their old stone house still remain. Another 2,000 acres was acquired from several private landowners. The remainder was State Trust land acquired through a complex land exchange related to Catalina State Park, and federal lands added to the park through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act. Future bond elections expanded the park to over 20,000 acres.

    Catalina State Park

    catalina state parkIn the early 1970s, controversy over a proposal to develop a large satellite community on land known as Rancho Romero led to the creation of Catalina State Park. Voters approved bond funding to purchase the land east of Oracle Road, along the Cañada del Oro Wash. Pima County purchased 2,655 acres that later became a State park through a series of complex land exchanges. The land west of Oracle Road became the Rancho Vistoso community. In 1983, Governor Bruce Babbitt praised the long-awaited Catalina  State Park as Arizona’s first “great urban park.”
    1986 Bond Program
    1997 Bond Program
    2004 Bond Program
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