Shortly after being elected as your District 4 Supervisor, our Greater Vail Representative Lucretia Free and I were touring the neighborhoods of Corona de Tucson with a constituent. During one brief stop, Lucretia asked me, “Have you ever envisioned a formal gathering of folks out here to help identify and determine community issues and solutions in the Vail/Corona de Tucson areas?” My eyes quickly widened, and I responded with a resounding, “Yes!”
During the election campaign, I became very familiar – and impressed – with the Green Valley Council (GVC) at the southwest end of our District 4. The GVC is an official, county-sanctioned and contracted representative entity whose membership is comprised of more than 70 Homeowners Associations, boasting the inclusion of some 12,700 roof tops. The GVC is very organized, active, with various topical committees to address local concerns within their community. The GVC Board of Representative meets monthly, steered by a committed executive committee, and supported by a small, paid staff. Some of the active committees within the council include Health and Human Services, Traffic and Arroyos, and Environmental. The GVC has partnered with other large community entities, Green Valley Recreation, and the Green Valley/Sahuarita Chamber of Commerce, and together they have collaboratively formed the Green Valley/Sahuarita Economic Development Committee to explore ways to create more economic growth and opportunities, business support, and tourism in their area. The GVC communicates directly and regularly with various Pima County departments and they command the attention of Pima County Administration. Pima County realizes such great benefit and value from the GVC’s activities that it actually contracts with the GVC to the tune of about $75,000 annually.
Though the Vail/Corona de Tucson communities do not have the substantial HOA presence that Green Valley does, the GVC can serve as a model of similar replication in our south east region. After several planning and start-up sessions over the last year, the first formal meeting of the South East Regional Council (SERC) was held recently at the Pima County Fairgrounds. Lucretia Free, who attended and observed several GVC meetings and conferred regularly with GVC officials called the first meeting to order on January 18, 2018, with more than 40 area residents attending. Also in attendance were Deputy County Administrator Carmine DeBonis, County Transportation Director Ana Olivares, County Flood Control Deputy Director Eric Shepp, County Development Services Planner,
Principal Terri Tillman, Tucson Councilmember Shirley Scott’s Chief of Staff Teresa Olsen, Jeff Copfer Pima County Sheriff and Robert Chaplin of the Tucson City Police Department.
The citizens from our South East Region asked poignant questions of the government officials and the ensuing dialogue was robust and articulate. The response from those who attended was overwhelmingly positive. Most significant was the enthusiasm expressed by those governmental officials for the formation of the SERC.
The SERC is a terrific vehicle for our community to convey its collective concerns and issues to local governments and officials with one unified voice. The Vail/Corona de Tucson community has not had – nor has undertaken – an organizational opportunity such as the formation of the SERC.
A representative entity such as the SERC has the potential to create and promote meaningful and productive discussions with local governing bodies and to convey a community posture of self –determination. I call it the best example of self-government at the curbside level. I encourage all residents in our Vail/Corona de Tucson neighborhoods to get behind the SERC and speak with one voice for common goals. For information on how you can become involved with the SERC, contact Lucretia Free 520.609.6233 or email Lucretia.Free@pima.gov.