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Funding for parks in Tucson could be at risk, City Councilman says

Posted at 10:18 PM, Feb 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-10 00:18:39-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Impact fees are paid by developers when they build new homes or businesses in Tucson.

The fees pay to expand road, parks, and police and fire services for these new developments.

Tucson Councilman, Paul Cunningham, said a proposal to change how developers are charged that fee could hurt Tucson's parks.

Cunningham said the City of Tucson charges anywhere between $6,000 and $7,400 as an impact fee for single family homes, apartments and town homes.

Cunningha, said the citys Department of Developmental services wants to change the impact fee structure.

"The new proposal is basing the impact fee on square footage," Cunningham said, that would lower the amount developers pay for city services, he added.

"You're not taking into account lot size, you're not taking into account the amount of acreage on the plat."

To that end, Cunningham adds, the biggest impact could be to city parks.

"We'd probably never be able to build another park."

A problem, Cunningham said, for Tucson, which already lags behind other cities in building parks.

The Trust for Public Land" even ranks Tucson 78th in the effectiveness of it's parks system.

Cunningham said impact fees were vital in the revitalization of Jesse Owens Park, helping fund the installation of lights and an irrigation system.

"We were using way too much water there and we didn't really have any grass, now we've got a really great running space."

Cunningham said input by the public will be limited because of a decision last week by the council in a 5-2 vote.

"I didn't want the public hearing to be closed but we closed the public hearing and now public input is limited to emailing council."

That will be the extent of the public's input on this issue.

Cunningham said the next discussion will be a study session for the City Council, that will be on 19th of February.