Residents in the community of Green Valley are raising funds and partnering with local community and business groups in an effort to construct the first-ever Pima County park in their community.
The idea and efforts trace their roots to a group of softball players who formed an organization to encourage an active lifestyle and other positive programs in their community.
They formed the "BAJA club"--the Born Again Jocks Association-- in 1998, and membership has been growing ever since.
Right now, BAJA is working with Pima County officials, the Green Valley Council, developers and other groups to build a park on more than 50 acres that have been donated by Canoa Preserve Development Partners LLC. The goal is to eventually build a facility with multiple services, including softball fields, ramadas and trails.
"As some may know and many do not, we do not have a public park in Green Valley," BAJA president Dave Hyslop says.
"This was an opportunity to develop an area for such purposes and BAJA was chosen to be the tip of the spear, to try to get local involvement with other organizations and private individuals and corporations to make donations that come for this park project."
So far, the park's proponents can count on about $1.2 million in funds and donated services. The total estimated price tag is approximately $5 million.
Chuck Catino is a charter member of BAJA and he's been a very active Green Valley resident in the process. He hopes the park will be up and running soon.
"I'm just hoping that I'm still alive when we get the first two fields," he quips.
Donations for the park are being accepted by the Pima County Parklands Foundation, in care of the Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Department.