Santa Cruz County soccer field grant to go unfunded

[Source: Kathleen Vandervoet, Santa Cruz Valley Sun] — An $85,503 Arizona Heritage Fund grant award announced nearly a year ago to add a soccer field, bleachers and shade structures to Robert Damon Park in Rio Rico was cancelled by Arizona State Parks.  All grants on which work had not started were cancelled in February by the State Parks board as a result of budget reductions by the Legislature.

On Sept. 22, some statewide Heritage Fund grants that had been suspended in February were reinstated, said Mary Dahl, Santa Cruz County Community Development Director.  She said the Joint Legislative Budget Committee reviewed a proposal by Arizona State Parks and gave a favorable response to re-instating suspended grants.  But grants that were cancelled in February, including the one for the Damon Park, did not get funded.

In Rio Rico, the grant’s purpose was to help pay for a soccer field at the 22-acre public park where there are two baseball fields.  Damon Park is west of Interstate 19 and south of Yavapai Drive.  The money was also to be used to build bleachers and add shade structures over the existing playground equipment, Dahl said.  Dahl wrote to Gov. Jan Brewer in late February to no avail.  In the letter, Dahl said a groundbreaking ceremony was held last December and recognition was given to the late Ramon Inzunza, a resident who passed away before realizing his dream of having a public soccer field in Rio Rico.

The total cost for the project was estimated at $171,006 and the county’s matching portion was to be $76,003.  Others who planned to contribute about $9,500 were: Rio Rico Properties Inc., Rio Rico Utilities, Rio Rico Rotary Club, Farmer’s Insurance, Linda and Walter Lewis, Backflow Technologies, and Joe and Lori Adamson.

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