by Steve Miller
I have been a resident and property owner in Hidden Valley since 2004. I am an avid off road enthusiast and I have spent a considerable amount of time on state land and BLM land throughout Arizona.
I support development of Palo Verde Regional Park and I believe it’s completely selfish to deny everyone the use of a regional park just because of the opposition of a few nearby residents. Everyone has an equal entitlement to the use of that area and when the county makes improvements and enhancements to that area it benefits us all – especially those who live nearby.
Neighboring parks enhance property values. Absence of a regional park in this area does not protect the open space or our freedom to use it. Most of this is BLM land and the Bureau of Land Management can close or restrict access to this area any time they see fit. A good example of this is the Butterfield Pass/Mormon Trail area north of Highway 238 between Mobile and Gila Bend. This area was closed in 2008 because BLM felt that off road vehicles and ATVs were damaging the area.
Yes, there has to be a fee to make a regional park sustainable without having to dip into tax revenue to maintain it. Pay per use is fair because those who use it and benefit from it are the ones who support it financially. The fees in place at similar parks for day use are about six dollars.
This isn’t the only regional park under consideration. There will be regional parks, the only question is where they are located. This park could just as easily directly benefit the residents of Eloy or Apache Junction or Queen Creek.
Palo Verde Regional Park will directly benefit the residents of western Pinal County more than anyone else. We should be welcoming this park, not opposing it – especially when the reasoning against it is based upon misinformation and flawed reasoning.
Look, I don’t like government meddling in our daily lives any more than anyone else. It bothers me to see tax dollars and resources going overseas. I hate knowing that the government spends billions on secret projects that they refuse to tell us about. This regional park project used money that the county already has and it is being spent to directly benefit the people who live in our community. I am sure there are secret conspiracies in government at all levels. This, however, isn’t one of them.
Those who are responsible for planning this project have been very open and transparent every step of the way. There have been multiple meetings, announced well in advance, and published online and in the local media. The planning session meetings have been open and the minutes have been published online. There has been an extraordinary effort on the part of the planning committee to reach out to everyone regarding this project. If someone isn’t informed, it’s certainly not the fault of the planners. Not only have they been open and forthcoming in announcing their activities, they have encouraged citizen contribution and participation in the development of their plans.
To counter some of the misinformation out there:
- The Palo Verde Regional Park will not raise taxes. It’s self sustaining through the use of impact fees and park day use fees.
- The park will not provide a nocturnal safe haven for those crossing the border illegally. The place to stop illegal immigration is at the border, not by denying US citizens the use of a regional park.
- There are already fences around the BLM land in question. There are also several entry gates which don’t have locks on them – yet.
- There is no government conspiracy to steal land. That land is already under the management of the federal government. The park would put it under the local management of the Pinal County government.
- Nobody’s hiding anything. There is a plethora of information published at this link:
We should be supporting the plans to develop this regional park and using the time we have to help plan the park rather than participate in futile attempts to discourage it.