Preserve Vistoso has raised almost $1.2 million of their $1.8 million goal for The Conservation Fund to purchase the defunct Vistoso Golf Course from Romspen Vistoso LLC, a Canadian non-bank mortgage lender.
“We're taking every opportunity we can to make our case to the community and they have responded generously,” President of Preserve Vistoso Gayle Mateer said.
Preserve Vistoso has until Dec. 15 to raise the $1.8 million. Preserve Vistoso has been working with community members who donated money in earlier an attempt to purchase the property and is kicking into high gear with more strategies to get new donations from the community this time around.
Preserve Vistoso added to its website the ability to donate directly with a card. It also held public Zoom meetings to explain of its mission and will have information booths at community events, including the Steampump Ranch farmer’s market and the Vistoso Community Association shredding event.
“Overall, the process is working very well, we're excited and grateful to the community for stepping up to the challenge,” Mateer said.
The plan is the culmination of 18 months of collaboration between TCF, Preserve Vistoso and the Town of Oro Valley. After ups and downs in the negotiation process, the Town of Oro Valley asked Conservation Fund Southwest Director Mike Ford to come back in April 2021 to resume talks and seal the deal.
TCF will place a conservation easement on the property after purchase. A conservation easement is a legal agreement that permanently protects property from development. Ford said this guarantees the $1.8 million given by community members isn’t wasted.
This protection is exactly what community members in Oro Valley have been working towards. After the Vistoso Golf Course closed in 2018, community members formed the nonprofit Preserve Vistoso. Preserve Vistoso and its supporters made it clear they wanted the golf course to be protected from development.
In March 2020, Romspen filed a general plan amendment with Oro Valley to rezone the property to sell to developers. This is when Rosa Dailey, a founding member of Preserve Vistoso, sought out Ford’s help.
For more information about Preserve Vistoso, go to www.preservevistoso.org.