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Some Oro Valley residents upset at decision to not restore pond at Vistoso Trails

A desert garden will be built in its place
Pond at Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve
Posted at 6:27 PM, Apr 26, 2024

ORO VALLEY, Ariz. (KGUN) — During the most recent town council meeting, a unanimous decision was reached to proceed with the master plan for the Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve in Oro Valley. However, the decision has left some residents disappointed as plans do not include the restoration of an empty pond, a feature many had hoped to see revitalized.

Resident Ken Chaney expressed his disappointment, stating, "I was always told there would be some kind of pond restoration. Then all of a sudden, poof, it disappears."

Initial feedback from residents indicated strong support for water features within the preserve, with nearly 40 percent of survey respondentsexpressing interest. Among these desires, restoring the old pond ranked as the second most important project.

Long-time resident Dick Surowisc criticized the decision-making process, suggesting that if town leaders were going to disregard resident preferences, they should have abstained from conducting the survey altogether.

"If you were going to dictate to the residents as to what you wanted, you should have saved the money for conducting the survey," he said.

Another resident, Rosa Dailey said "I ask that you reject the plan before you. From version to version, it has not been done very well."

However, plans are now set to move forward with the addition of a desert garden in place of the artificial pond. Oro Valley Mayor Joe Winfield defended the decision, emphasizing that the proposed desert garden aligns better with the natural Sonoran desert landscape.

"I believe that the pond, like the tees, greens, fairways is a feature of the golf course."

Mayor Winfield stood firm on the decision to proceed with the current plan, stating that allocating upwards of $2.2 million towards a water feature would detract from the primary focus of revegetation.

"It’s time to make a decision and to move on and really to focus on addressing the revegetation that’s really needed."

While some council members advocated for further study on the feasibility of incorporating a water feature, Mayor Winfield emphasized the need to make a decisive move forward and prioritize revegetation efforts.

"It’s time to make a decision and to move on and really to focus on addressing the revegetation that’s really needed," Mayor Winfield concluded.