Posted 7:19 AM 5/30/2012 : Marana hopes newly purchased land attracts visitors
MARANA, Ariz. - The town of Marana is one step closer to becoming a Southern Arizona attraction.
It recently purchased a nearly 30 acre plot of land that up until now has only been used to operate a small farm for the Community Food Bank. The goal is to transform the land into an outdoor marketplace for nearby residents and tourists.
"The Marana Town Council created this vision years ago," Parks and Recreation Director Tom Ellis says.
Ellis is talking about what will be known as Heritage River Park. "One of the reasons for the council's vision all those years ago was during the building boom, literally day by day you could see the farmland in Marana being taken over by subdivisions,"Ellis says.
So earlier this month, the town bought 28.2 acres of land on Heritage Park Drive, off Tangerine Farms Road. Since 2003 Marana has been leasing the land from the Arizona State Land Department. Now it plans to turn the area into an outdoor space that is developed enough to attract visitors, but also preserves Marana's rich heritage.
"We want this to be a really nice destination point, not only for citizens from Marana, but for people from the region and all over the country," Ellis says.
All the new space provides town leaders with endless opportunities. They'd like to build restaurants, a farmer's market and even an amphitheater. "It should be a rich cultural spot," Ellis says.
It will take about 10 years before the park is complete. But Ellis says over the next year and a half they plan to put in more picnic and shady areas, as well as restrooms.
Marana will celebrate the land purchase Thursday, May 31 at 8:30am. It's located at 12375 N. Heritage River Park Drive. The celebration is free and open to the public.
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