On Nov. 6, 2018, the City of Tucson voters approved Proposition 407, a $225 million bond package for capital improvements via General Obligation bonds. A bond oversight commission oversees funding and monitors the progress of projects.
The bond funds will be dedicated to improving City parks amenities (including playgrounds, sports fields, pools, splash pads, and recreation centers) as well as connections (pedestrian pathways, bicycle pathways, pedestrian, and bicycle safety).
The bond package will generate $225 million over nine years, 2020-2028. The first issuance and sale of the bonds will occur in 2020. The program will be implemented in three phases; 2019-2022, 2023-2025, 2026-2028.
Up-to-date information about the Parks + Connections program and individual projects is posted on the Tucson Delivers: Parks + Connections website and on the PDFs below.
Learn more about the approved Parks and Connections projects using the Interactive Story Map. The Story Map is a great online tool that will work with your computer or mobile device allowing you to obtain detailed information about the types of projects, read definitions and see illustrations of elements like Greenways and Walkability Projects, and identify the specific locations of the approved capital bond projects.
The Story Map is divided into two sections:
- A Story Panel, on the left of the map screen, that allows you to scroll up and down vertically when on a computer or pad/tablet device to explore the different categories of projects via narrative text and images
- And an Interactive Map, taking up the rest of the screen, that identifies the locations of the projects you are seeing as you scroll through the story and allows you to use your cursor to click on specific Parks or Connections projects activating a pop-up information box.
On a smartphone, the GIS map will take up the top of the screen and the Story Panel will be at the bottom where you will swipe horizontally to navigate through the information and tap to go into greater detail.
Instructions in the Story Panel help make the map easy to use and the legend at the top right of the GIS map will help you identify the types of projects displayed on the map.
To access detailed information about each Park and Connection project you can click on the features on the map or explore the projects by Park or Connection list.
System-wide improvements, informed by our Parks Master Plans, for Regional, Community, and Neighborhood parks including aquatics facilities, splash pads, sport courts (tennis, pickleball, and basketball) resurfacing and reconstruction, new sports fields with LED lighting systems, new and upgraded LED lighting systems at existing fields, irrigation Improvements and turf reduction at Randolph Golf Course, new driving range netting at El Rio Golf Course, park walking path resurfacing, new and reconstructed parks ramadas, irrigation improvements, new playgrounds with shade structures and new shade structures at existing playgrounds.
Pedestrian Safety and Walkability, Shared-Use Paths, Protected Bike Lanes, and Bicycle Boulevards
A Greenway is a park-like vegetated walking and biking corridor that connects neighborhoods and community assets, such as our parks, historic landmarks, schools, colleges, our university, and commercial areas. In Tucson, many of our planned Greenways will follow our urban waterways, our arroyos that carve unique and often lush corridors throughout our city, and the abandoned historic railway easements that run through the oldest parts of the community.
The Truth in Bonding Policy is intended to provide assurance to voters and residents of the City that the bond proceeds will be used for the purposes approved by voters and that the informational pamphlet that will be provided to voters will accurately reflect how the bonds will be spent. The Ordinance provides that if any unforeseen circumstances or extraordinary considerations make a change from the previously approved allocation necessary, any such change must be approved by a majority vote of the Mayor and Council after a public hearing is held on the matter, and only after the Bond Oversight Commission has studied the change and has made a recommendation to the Mayor and Council.
- Approved Proposed Bond Project List(PDF, 160KB)
- Truth in Bonding Policy and Bond Oversight Commission(PDF, 133KB)
- June 10, 2018 Mayor and Council Communication(PDF, 133KB)
- June 19, 2018 Mayor and Council Communication(PDF, 134KB)
- June 19, 2018 Bond Question Language(PDF, 923KB)
- June 19, 2018 Bond Ordinance(PDF, 2MB)
Question: Why can't the City use existing funds to fund Parks and Connections improvements?
Answer: There is currently limited funding for Parks and Connections-related capital, maintenance, and staffing needs. Since the recession, due to a decline in sales tax revenue and rising costs, the City has been unable to invest in large capital needs, like parks and facility improvements.
Question: Will this bond program raise the secondary property tax rate?
Answer: No. The sale of $225 million in General Obligation (GO) bonds under the Parks and Connections program will not result in a secondary property tax increase. The City of Tucson will issue new GO bonds as older bonds are retired, with the intent to keep the tax rate constant.
Question: Can Proposition 407 funds be used for items not described in the ballot language?
Answer: No. The money generated through Proposition 407 can only be used for Parks and Connections projects. A citizens' oversight commission will examine the expenditures to ensure the funds are spent as directed by the voters. Bond money cannot be used for City employee salaries or pension costs.
Question: Why are Parks projects included in the same bond program as Connections projects?
Answer: The Parks projects included in Proposition 407 are capital improvement projects that respond to the community's call for reinvestment in existing facilities and investment in expanded connectivity among existing parks to neighborhoods. The Connections projects in the plan were carefully selected to improve safety and provide comfortable ways to travel to parks, recreation centers, libraries, schools, transit facilities, and access to The Loop.
Question: How were projects selected for the Parks and Connections program?
Answer: The City of Tucson used the Tucson Parks and Recreation System Master Plan, as well as individual park master plans, to identify Parks projects for Proposition 407. The Connections projects make use of the City of Tucson Bicycle Boulevard Master Plan, the Pima County Regional Trail System Master Plan, and previously vetted Pedestrian Safety and Walkability Projects, to identify Connections projects. The development of the master plans used a variety of methods to gather extensive community and stakeholder input.
Question: When can the community expect to see improvements?
Answer: Because the City's goal is to maintain the current secondary tax at the existing rate, new bonds will be issued in July 2020 as old bond debt is retired. Prior to issuance, City staff will work with community members to design upcoming improvements.
Question: What about oversight and accountability for Proposition 407 funding and projects?
Answer: A Parks and Connections Citizens' Bond Oversight Commission will examine the expenditures to ensure the funds are spent as directed by voters.
Question: Once Parks and Connections Bond projects are completed, how will new maintenance needs be met?
Answer: Mayor and Council have directed the City Manager and Staff to increase the Parks department maintenance budget now and over the life of the Bond both to restore and improve maintenance capabilities to meet the projected modest increase in maintenance requirements that will result from the completion of the Prop 407 Parks Bond projects in 2029. The direction included establishing a segregated fund / dedicated funding source for maintenance. Initial funding sources identified for this purpose include the annual Service Line Warranty revenues, restored HURF revenues for pathways and greenways, and conservation cost savings that will be realized from improved efficiencies in water and energy use.
The majority of the Prop 407 Capital projects proposed provide an initial benefit of reducing current maintenance requirements as they address the underlying infrastructure conditions creating the maintenance need. Additionally, much of the new work and the materials will be warrantied from at least one year to as long as 25 years and new/refurbished amenities require minor, lower cost maintenance to keep them up once completed. Examples of these projects include:
- Resurfacing of sports courts using the latest advanced materials - warranty
- Installation of shade structures at playgrounds – warranty and playground life extension
- Installation and/or conversion of field and area lighting systems to LED – warranty and energy cost reduction
- Installation and replacement of outdated irrigation systems with the latest technology including moisture monitoring – warranty, water cost reduction, energy cost reduction
- Pool filtration and treatment system replacement – warranty, energy cost reduction, reduced maintenance requirements
- Recreation center facility repairs including HVAC replacement – warranty, energy cost reduction, significantly reduced maintenance requirements
There are also Parks projects in Prop 407 that will help to generate revenue for the Parks system that can be used to help meet our maintenance requirements. Increased field availability through lighting improvements, improvements to arts and event venues like the DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center, and new and remodeled ramadas will generate additional rental fees that will augment the Parks budget. Expansions in the Lincoln Park Softball Complex will allow for more and larger collegiate, youth, and adult sports tournaments that generate additional General Fund revenues on a larger scale as players come in from around the country and make significant expenditures for lodging, dining, and activities in our city and region.