Voters in Oro Valley have decided against a $17 million general obligation bond proposal to build new fields and other amenities at Naranja Park.
An overwhelming majority — nearly 72 percent — voted against Proposition 454, according to preliminary results released Tuesday night. The county still had provisional and other ballots to count, but they likely won’t change the results.
Resident Jim Horn, who was part of a group opposed to the measure, said its defeat wasn’t always certain, saying his group was outspent 10-to-1 by proponents.
“It is a true David and Goliath story,” he said.
However, supporters of the measure said the decision will keep local children playing in other towns instead of Oro Valley, which they say has a shortage of suitable playing fields.
“This ensures another generation won’t be able to play baseball or football in their hometown,” said Brian Mitchell, who led the Yes on 454 group. “I am more disappointed in the people who didn’t want to support the kids.”
The general obligation bonds would have paid for three multi-sport fields with lights; four baseball diamonds with lights; a concession stand, restrooms, four ramadas, playground, a maintenance facility and other infrastructure projects at the park. A homeowner with a property worth $250,000 would have paid about $54 in additional property taxes a year if the bonds were approved, the town estimated.
Mitchell said the community reaction to the measure was surprising, saying more than 60 percent of his election signs were vandalized.
Horn said the issue isn’t over, and he wants to see the town build the ball fields.
But rather than going into debt, Horn wants the town to use the roughly $2.5 million it has in surplus funds to build two or three playing fields immediately.
After that, he said, the town could build more playing fields on a pay-as-you-go system, something the town has traditionally done with other infrastructure improvements.