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  • Supervisors approve improvements to Mike Jacob Sportspark

    Dec 13, 2016 | Read More News
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    The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 at its Dec. 13 meeting to make up to $1 million in capital improvements at Mike Jacob Sportspark, 6901 N. Casa Grande Highway, using funding from the Arizona Department of Transportation’s right-of-way acquisition as part of I-10/Ina Road construction. District 1 Supervisor Ally Miller was not present at the meeting.

    Sportspark softball fieldThe Board also agreed to allow Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation (NRPR) to enter into a month-to-month agreement for six months with the park’s present operator while a request for proposal is conducted to select a single entity to operate the park. 

    Presently, Sportspark, built in 1984 as a softball tournament complex using private funding, is operated through a complex public/private partnership that has a number of shortcomings, according to Chris Cawein, NRPR director.

    Tucson Bowling Corporation and its assignees operated the park for more than 23 years. Since its original construction, very little has been reinvested in Sportspark other than lighting modifications made a number of years ago due primarily to community complaints regarding light pollution.

    In 2010, the county moved to the current operating model in which it performs much of the turf and field maintenance operations and contracts with two operators who are responsible for field scheduling, tournament play, fee collection and concession operations. That division of labor has created challenges. In fact, a recent operational review found several issues, including infrastructure safety concerns, issues related to utilities, regulatory compliance matters and site access concerns.

    In addition, the upcoming closure of the Ina Road traffic interchange at I-10 will make access to Sportspark increasingly difficult. The Arizona Department of Transportation project, expected to begin spring 2017, will last 18-24 months and will take a portion of the Sportspark property as well as property where the county’s Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department’s Tres Ríos facility is located as right of way for the construction.

    NRPR officials, therefore, recommended to the county administrator and the Board of Supervisors that the construction offered an opportunity to review and retool park operations. NRPR will assemble a team to start a facility audit in the next few weeks. The audit likely will take four to six weeks to complete, Cawein said. Depending on the audit findings, partial closure of the facility may be necessary for safety purposes. 

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