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Jesse Owens Park scheduled to open on May 7th

Posted: 10:13 PM, Mar 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-16 05:13:51Z

For the past several months, Jesse Owens Park on the east side has been fenced off and under construction. Last May, the city announced that $1 million would go towards park improvements.

"A shade structure for one of the playgrounds, we're going to cover the basketball court and resurface it," Ward 2 Council Member Paul Cunningham said. "We're going to resurface the entire parking system, re-do it so we add some parking spots and expand parking capacity."

These are just some of the improvements the park will get. A new irrigation system is in the works right now as well.

Before that announcement in May, 9 On Your Side viewer Debi Beatty contacted KGUN9 and said the park was in dire need of a makeover. Some of her concerns included renovating the baseball and softball fields, and fixing the parking lot because it was full of pot holes.

"When this is all done, this is going to be awesome," she said. "But when will it be done? I don't know."

The park is set to open on May 7th, according to Cunningham.

Dominic Rullo works with Tucson Parks and Recreation. He explained once the irrigation infrastructure is finished, then crews can get to other pieces of the puzzle, like the parking lot.

"Once the pipe is laid, the dirt goes back in very quickly," Rullo said.

Barring any unforseen circumstances, such as tricky weather, he believes the project is on schedule.

"This project will be on line for the deadline," he said.

But Beatty, and some others who live nearby, say they don't buy it.

"I know this will eventually be done," Beatty said. "It's positive, it's better than nothing."

"There's nothing that I see progressing toward any potential opening in May," another neighbor, David Sullivan said.

Cunningham is sticking with the May 7th deadline, and says the crews are making great progress.

"We're going as fast as we can," he said. "We're telling them May 7th, the people that are working out there are telling me May 7th. If that's what they're telling me, that's what I have to go with."

The money for the project comes from a variety of sources, including impact fees, private contributions, and grants, according to Cunningham.