Sentinel Peak Park gets an upgrade

2013-08-05T12:06:00Z 2013-08-05T16:50:43Z Sentinel Peak Park gets an upgradeTony Davis Arizona Daily Star
August 05, 2013 12:06 pm  • 

A Mountain, Tucson's birthplace, got a $320,000 set of improvements at its Sentinel Peak Park finished this past week. The improvements come in the form of new trail and park entry signs, two new, handicapped-accessible parking spaces, two shaded plazas and a paved path connecting the improvements.

The paving is known as Xeri Tec, a stable, porous, natural rock surface designed to blend in with the mountain's natural features. The improvements were done as the first phase of a 2010 master plan for the park, known as Tucson's largest natural resource park within the city limits, at 272 acres.

The trail improvements and other projects in this upgrade were done with the community in mind, Councilwoman Regina Romero told a gathering at the park last week at a dedication ceremony. The trails are also "ADA accessible," she said, meaning that they meet Americans for Disabilities Act standards for handicapped access.

"We wanted this place to be available to 100 percent of the community, from 0 to 150," said Romero, whose Ward 1 includes this park.

City officials hope for more improvements to this park in the future, if the Pima County Bond Advisory Committee and ultimately, county voters, approve $2.5 million worth of additional projects that park backers would like to see on a 2014 countywide bond issue.

The $320,000 for the current projects came from a number of sources: the city's general fund, federal Community Development Block Grant money, developer impact fees, a 2000 city bond package and state Highway User Revenue Funds allocated to the city.

For the future, the city has an ambitious plan for the park, for which it hopes to secure $2.5 million in the next Pima County bond election, which could come as soon as 2014. Here's the Sentinel Peak Park wish list, now being considered as part of the $1.2 billion worth of projects now before the County Bond Advisory Committee:

-- Tohono O’odham heritage education interpretive panels and benches.

-- Comprehensive buffelgrass management plan.

-- Comprehensive trail plan, including trail building, repair, and decommissioning of wildcat trails.

-- Construction of a shaded trailhead facility at the lower parking lot.

-- Construction of a shade ramada at the upper parking lot trailhead.

-- Safety Improvements for pedestrians and cyclists.

-- Solar lighting for the upper and lower parking lots.

-- Safety and landscape Improvements at the upper and lower parking lots.

-- Public Art.

-- Restoration of historic (WPA) structures in the park including the viewing gazebo located west of the upper parking lot.

-- Construction of shaded picnic ramadas.

-- Mapping of all archaeological and historic sites within the park property.

-- Identification, mapping, and enhancement of wildlife corridors.

-- Erosion control along roadway.

-- Restrooms with composting toilets.

-- Joint projects with Tumamoc Hill. 

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Star reporter Tony Davis covers topics in this blog that you have read under his byline for more than 30 years in the Southwest: water, growth, sprawl, pollution, climate change, endangered species, mining, grazing and traffic.

To reach Tony call 806-7746 (office) or 349-0350 (cell) or write him at tdavis@tucson.com.

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