|Evergreen Devco, Inc., the developer of Steam Pump Village, dedicated the 1.72 acre open space parcel located at the northeastern end of the development to the Town in July 2010. This dedication was part of a transaction that enabled the facilitation of the construction of BASIS Oro Valley. Following an appraisal of the property, Town Council accepted the deed for the property at its July 21, 2010 meeting.
HSL Steam Pump, LLC proposed a 288-unit apartment complex, Encantada at Steam Pump, adjacent to the Town-owned open space parcel. Through the development review process, the complex was required to have a drainage area. A proposal was set forth in which HSL would be allowed to use part of the park for its drainage purposes, as long as it installed and maintained improvements to support recreational use by the public. Without utilizing part of the park as the drainage area, HSL would have been required to significantly re-design its development to include an underground detention basin. Beginning in 2012, Town staff worked with HSL to draft an agreement that delineated the responsibilities for this area.
The final easement agreement was approved by Town Council at its March 6, 2013 meeting. The agreement provided an easement to HSL for perpetual drainage maintenance, and they were required to construct certain improvements on the park property. The easement agreement ensured that the park improvements were provided and maintained in perpetuity, regardless of future ownership of the apartments, at no cost to the Town. HSL and any subsequent owner will be responsible for the maintenance of the improvements. General maintenance of the remainder of the property will continue to be the responsibility of the Town.
HSL was required to provide: parking spaces, a pedestrian path connection to the CDO Shared Use Path, bicycle parking, access to a picnic area, picnic tables, benches, trash and recycling receptacles, a water fountain, park signage, a drainage area, and for the transplantation of additional trees. Consequently, Town staff reviewed the park amenities following construction by HSL. These amenities were approved in late September 2014.
The Town of Oro Valley Naming and Branding Resolution (No. (R)12-18) states that Park and open space names should be chosen keeping in mind continuity and relevance to the community. Park and open space names that are similar to existing parks or properties in the greater Oro Valley area should be avoided in order to minimize confusion.
The Parks & Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) recommended that the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) develop a “short list” of names for consideration. Members of the YAC presented five names for consideration during the PRAB April 19, 2016 meeting. The names have been researched for relevance, authenticity, and ensured no other area park had the same or similar name. Names and justification included:
El Principio Park
El principio is a Spanish word meaning “the beginning." This name is relevant for this location because it is a natural park and is still the way it was since the beginning of its existence. It is also located at the beginning of a trail used both for cycling and running.
The park is located on the Northern side of the Encantada apartment homes and would be well-suited for this name for many reasons. It is a natural water basin that has not been altered in any way other than by the addition of a few benches, trash cans, and some decomposed granite. This park has not been altered to be more aesthetic in any way, any park visitor can still enjoy the trees and shrubs that have been there since before the development of Encantada. It is located at the beginning of some bike paths and could be a useful trailhead for many cyclists and runners. The cyclists can even ride straight into the park because it is sidewalk accessible. This name is both relevant to the park’s history and its location.
Coyote Melon Park
Should the name Coyote Melon Park be chosen for this natural and beautiful area, it should be known that the name holds historical, educational, and cultural importance. The most obvious reason to give the park this name is because Coyote Melons are an actual fruit that grow in the area. Historically speaking, by naming the park Coyote Melon Park we would be honoring the mythology of the Tohono O’odham and other native cultures. The fruit contains some of the most, bitter compounds in the world, yet has nutritious seeds, so it was named the coyote melon because the coyote is known as a trickster in Tohono O'odham legends. With the name Coyote Melon in the public’s mind, they will be educated about this often ignored native species. In addition to the historical and cultural benefits the park name would hold, the name, Coyote Melon, would spark a lot of interest as it is a bit of a peculiar name. With a name as unique as Coyote Melon, residents would flock there with curiosity. The name is elegant, relevant, exciting, fun, and memorable!
If you ever have visited the park, you could not help to notice that the park is untouched and fresh. “Prístino” is Spanish for many clean synonyms such as pristine, clean, fresh, untouched, and many more synonyms that one can think of. The reason we bring “Prístino” up is because the park is truly untouched and no construction has been set to work on it because of its exquisiteness. In other words, we don’t need to work on it because it was already laid out perfectly. During our visit to the park we noticed many untouched features that were gorgeous.
Tho’ag Park OR Tho’ag Akimel Park
The last two names are a bit different in nature. The Youth Advisory Council wanted to provide the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board with options that pay homage to the Tohono O’Odham people. The Tohono O’odham people are indigenous to this area and their presence is very well noted at nearby Catalina State Park, but there are no parks in Oro Valley with any Native American names.
Akimel is the Tohono O’Odham word for river. Tho’ag Akimel translates to “mountain river”. There is a wash alongside the park at Encantada. If one were to follow the wash east, it would become clear that the water that fills the wash is from the mountain. Due to its proximity, and AC’s wish to pay homage to the indigenous people of Oro Valley, YAC would recommend that PRAB consider naming the park at Encantada Tho’ag Akimel Park.
Tho’ag is the Tohono O’Odham word for mountain. It is difficult to go anywhere in Oro Valley and ignore or be unaware of our beautiful mountain view. Furthermore, the Park at Encantada and the trail that is headed at the park have beautiful views of the Catalina Mountains. It is also very close to the State Park, it is possible to run from the park at Encantada, through the Marketplace, across Oracle Rd at the stop light and into the State Park. Given these reasons, OVYAC recommends that PRAB take our recommendation to name the park at Encantada Tho’ag Park.
The PRAB were deeply pleased with the YAC’s work and thanked them for their thoughtfulness and level of detail. After discussions, the PRAB supported two names for Council consideration:
- Principios Park – Spanish meaning of beginnings
- Tho’ag Park – Tohono O’Odham word for mountain?