By Nikki Lee

Happy Independence Day, friends!  I hope this month’s article finds you well as we continue to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.  As the number of cases in Pima County continues to increase at a rapid rate, I’m confident we can turn the tide if we all focus on doing what we can do, individually, to have a positive impact.  If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that the actions of one person – whether we perceive those actions as positive or negative – have a big impact throughout our community as a whole.  I ask you to join me in continuing to take precautions to keep yourself, your family and our community healthy during this time, and continue to support our local businesses in the process.  We are experiencing both a health pandemic and an economic crisis at the same time, and we cannot decouple the two from each other. Please continue to support our local businesses as your budget allows, and let’s keep doing all we can to make sure our local businesses come out of this alive. 

City leadership has had to make many difficult decisions around how we physically reopen city government with ever-changing circumstances.  The city has been up and running in a virtual environment, with technology being an increasingly important tool to enable us to deliver core services, but there is a continued emphasis on reopening city buildings and facilities.  One of the issues I’ve heard often is about our city parks and when those will reopen.  I’ve elevated your concerns to the City Manager and the Parks Director.  By the time this article is printed, I’m hopeful those recommendations will be implemented to give you more recreational opportunities.

For residents of Ward 4 who cherish opportunities for health and fitness through the Tucson Parks and Recreation facilities and programs, the summer of 2020 has really been a huge departure from ‘normal’.  Good things are still happening throughout our parks with an optimistic outlook for the future.  Park open space and athletic fields remain open for individualized recreation and sport training with physical distancing maintained in groups of less than ten.

The City of Tucson voter-approved Proposition 407: Parks and Connections bond initiative is moving forward with exciting improvements in the planning, design and construction phases throughout Ward 4.  The new splash pad in Lincoln Park alongside the Clements aquatic center should be completed in mid-summer.  Resident input will soon be solicited regarding a proposed dog park in Lincoln Park so please stay tuned for that opportunity.  Other highlights within the $9,064,549 Lincoln Regional Park Prop 407 park and facility improvements include the completion of the renovation of the indoor walking track surface, ADA compliance and facility safety upgrades. Phase One projects upcoming include LED lighting for softball and soccer fields, renovation of existing walking path surfaces and interior flooring.

Parts of the $2,214,987 Prop 407 improvements for Purple Heart Park include new LED lighting for the softball and multi-purpose fields; a new splash pad with shade structure are currently in design.  The much-needed restroom improvements will follow with development impact fee funding.  Phase 3 will include a new basketball court, additional parking lot, new ramada and renovations to the pool, skate park, and walking path.

The City of Tucson’s newest park, Robert Price Sr. Park, West of Kolb Rd./South of Valencia, will start construction in Phase 2 (2023-2025) of the bond.  The $3,967,500 will outfit the park with LED lighted sports fields, a new shaded playground, ramada, splash pad, restrooms and parking area.  

While Arbor Day 2020 plans to plant 50 new trees in Lincoln park were postponed due to COVID-19, all Ward 4 parks will see the return of beautification efforts and tree plantings as we return to a “new normal” in the future. 

July is Park & Recreation Month, as well as our Ward 4 Virtual Town Hall with Tucson Parks & Recreation on July 29 at 5:30pm where you will learn more about the projects discussed above.  To get details on participating in the virtual town hall please visit

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