Oro Valley is weeks from expanding its borders to encompass Tohono Chul Park and surrounding, currently unincorporated areas.
The Oro Valley Town Council voted April 17 to annex 107 acres, including the park, at 7366 N. Paseo del Norte. The annexation will take effect May 17.
The area is between West Chapala Drive to the north, West Ina Road to the south, North Paseo del Norte to the west and North Oracle Road to the east. The annexation includes the rights of way for all of the border streets except North Oracle Road.
According to Oro Valley spokeswoman Misti Nowak, the town commissioned an economic analysis about the annexation that concluded it would help the town's bottom line, adding tax revenues that will offset the increased costs, which will include road and drainage improvements over the next two years.
Oro Valley persuaded seven of 11 residential real property owners, six of 11 commercial and nonprofit real property owners and seven of 13 business personal property owners to agree to the annexation.
To persuade Tohono Chul to sign on, Oro Valley agreed to give the park the right to advertise with as many as 10 six-foot-tall, 18-inch wide signs on 20-foot roadside poles along West Ina Road and North Paseo del Norte. The town also agreed to repair North Northern Avenue - which runs behind the park - and work with the park to promote arts and culture. Tohono Chul signed the agreement in March.
Michael Racy, president of Tohono Chul's Board of Directors, said no decision has been made if or when to put up the signs - the park just wanted the legal authorization to put up the signs before agreeing to the annexation. Racy said the annexation will mean increased tax costs for the park, but said those will be offset by the partnerships with the town.
"We ultimately decided the opportunities with Oro Valley were ones we were interested in taking advantage of," Racy said.
Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath said the annexation was not about revenue or adding Tohono Chul to its boundaries, but about squaring up the border in a deal that helped all parties.
"We were definitely very fortunate to have (Tohono Chul) in it, but it wasn't especially geared toward them," Hiremath said, adding that Oro Valley will continue to look to square up its borders in annexations that make economic sense.
The town is attempting to annex about 550 acres near West Tangerine and North Shannon Roads. Hiremath said the process has been stuck for two years due to procedural hold-ups and that he expects it to take "at least another year" before the annexation is complete.
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