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Old golf course to be turned into a nature preserve

Preserve Vistoso
Posted at 6:16 AM, Dec 16, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN 9) — In the heart of Oro Valley, there's a stretch of 202 acres of pure Sonoran Desert. Before the desert took over, the land used to be a golf course called the Golf Club at Vistoso. In 2018, the golf course closed and its owners announced plans to develop the land.

Residents like Rosa Dailey fought back, going to council meetings and enlisting the help of The Conservation Fund, a nonprofit that is dedicated to conserving land across the country. She said buying the property was a great way to fight against development.

"Many communities are faced with this issue, you know, you live next to a golf course, the golf course ceases operations – what do you do with the land," She said. "And as you know this community launched a pretty vehement battle against development, but what do you do after that.”

Mark Ford, the Nevada and Southwest director of The Conservation Fund, said came down to inspect the property and said it has the makings of a great open space for wildlife and residents.

"This has some potential," he said. "First of all, there is some wildlife and there was a corridor that showed a phenomenal view of the surrounding mountains. There was even some petroglyphs on the property."

The neighborhood recently raised $1.8 million dollars to buy the property. Dailey said since March of 2020, the community has been working to conserve this land.

"We're a pretty awesome community." Dailey said. "Over 400 households - not individuals but households, which is more individuals - participated in the fundraising in five weeks. That's amazing!"

Ford said it's important to keep parts of nature untouched.

"Open space, clean air clean water regardless of where you are is important to all Americans," he said. "This resonates with them and there's a lot of development that has gone on in Arizona and that’s a good thing – it shows that the state has grown - but not every acre needs to be developed."

The sale of land is expected to go through at the end of December so Ford said people can start using the preserve in January.
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