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  • County acquires 818 acres at state auction to expand Tortolita Mountain Park

    Dec 05, 2013 | Read More News
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    Pima County acquired 818 acres of state trust land at an Arizona State Land Department auction on Wednesday, Dec. 4, to expand Tortolita Mountain Park.

    Tortolita Mountain ParkThe land was auctioned for its appraised value at $2.45 million. Arizona State Parks awarded the County a Growing Smarter matching grant in September in the amount of $1.225 million, which will be used towards this purchase.

    This was Pima County’s last opportunity to defray the cost of acquiring state trust land for the park with a Growing Smarter grant.

    Tortolita Mountain Park was established in 1986 with voter-approved bond funds. Additional bond funds, a donation of land and a Growing Smarter grant in 2012 have grown the park to 5,600 acres. The park is the principal natural open space park for the northwest Tucson Basin, including Catalina and the towns of Oro Valley and Marana.

    Pima County's mountain parks – Tucson Mountain Park, Colossal Cave Mountain Park and Tortolita Mountain Park – are travel and tourism magnets that benefit the local economy. Visit Tucson’s 2012 Visitor Survey found that visitors cite the surrounding natural environment and outdoor/desert activities as Tucson's greatest attractions. The Arizona Office of Tourism estimates that direct travel spending generated $2.6 billion in revenue, 22,300 direct jobs, and $150.5 million in local and state tax revenues in 2012.

    In August, the Pima County Board of Supervisors approved allocating $775,000 in development in lieu mitigation fees toward the acquisition, with the remainder coming from unallocated excess 2012-13 general funds.