Reid Park’s beloved duck pond was spared. Now the baseball fields are on the chopping block in a new set of draft options for the future of the park.
Most of the five ball diamonds west of Hi Corbett Field on the north side of the park would be eliminated under a trio of proposals drawn up as part of the city council’s effort to create a new master plan, a document which would prioritize public spending on the site. over the next few decades.
The park space now used for ball tournaments would house new amenities such as landscaped desert gardens, bird-watching stations, new walking and biking trails and a lounging area with hammocks in the proposals developed by recreation planning consultants.
The rest of Reid Park would also see changes. They include the addition of one or more wading pools, new playgrounds, new art plazas and performance spaces and “viewing structures” in natural areas, depending on the elements found in the final version of the master plan.
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None of the concepts are set in stone at this point, according to the city Reid Park Reinvented website, which details each of the three draft proposals. Public comments can be submitted online until Friday, September 30 at 11:59 p.m.
The three option projects are “intended to stimulate conversations and creative thinking about the future of the park,” the project’s website says.
The concepts are based on feedback the city gathered over several months through an online survey, stakeholder interviews, outreach events and nearly 90,000 emails to community members, the site says. website. More than 2,700 Tucson residents have responded to the online survey so far, which asks them how they use the park and what features they most want to see in the future.
Baseball was not identified as a high priority use, according to survey results posted on the project’s website. Respondents said their favorite features of Reid Park include the park’s natural areas, water features, gardens, walking and biking trails, picnic areas, lawns and outdoor entertainment venue. .
City Councilman Steve Kozachik, whose Ward 6 includes the park, said he’s been hearing complaints from baseball organizations that use the fields and wondering if the city has done enough to solicit their input. The ball diamonds are used by adult leagues, out-of-town tournaments and by Korean baseball teams during spring training, Kozachik said in an interview.
Other baseball facilities are available in the Tucson area — for example, those at the Kino Sports Complex four miles away — but Kozachik said Reid Park is the most desirable site because it’s close to hotels and restaurants.
Greg Jackson, assistant director of the Tucson Department of Parks and Recreation, said the city has invited all groups that have booked Reid Park baseball diamonds in recent years to a meeting on May 3 to discuss the situation. – but none showed up. So the city held another meeting a week later and sent out more invitations, this time receiving a response from someone in the baseball community, Jackson said in an interview.
The council is expected to finalize the park’s master plan early next year after staff create a final version of the draft and solicit a final round of public comment.
The new master plan will only cover Reid Park itself, not the adjacent Reid Park Zoo. The zoo has its own separate plan – one that no longer encroaches on the Reid Park duck pond after a public outcry in 2020 over plans to use the duck pond for new tiger habitat.
The Tucson City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday to move forward with a northwest zoo expansion that is a hybrid plan of two concepts that have the most support among stakeholders.
City Manager Michael Ortega is recommending that the Tucson City Council vote for the northwest expansion of the Reid Park Zoo. The expansion would still take up space in the park, but preserve Barnum Hill and the southern duck pond.
Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at 573-4138 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @AZStarConsumer