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Most of $75M will go toward open space

Citizen Staff Writer



Open space land acquisitions will account for much of the $75 million in bonds approved by the Pima County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

About $58 million will go to major open space purchases, including $20 million for about 6,300 acres of the Marley Ranch northwest of Amado.

That would be a first-phase purchase of the overall 15,000- acre ranch.

Most of the bond money will come from a package approved by voters in 2004, Nicole Fyffe, special assistant to the Pima County administrator, said Tuesday.

“People have dropped land prices significantly,” she said.

Pima County has an aggressive land acquisition policy under its Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan that includes buying, leasing or securing conservation easements on ranchlands.

County officials in December agreed to an $18.6 million two-phase acquisition of land and grazing leases for the 14,000-acre Sopori Ranch south of Tucson.

Another acquisition, of 5,000 acres of the Sands Ranch in the Cienega Valley, also was approved by the board in December 2008 for about $21 million.

Also included in pending acquisition deals will be open space surrounding Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

That would be to limit encroachment of development near the base.

The supervisors also approved a $60.3 million radio system that will allow area law enforcement, emergency responders and public safety officials to communicate directly when necessary.

The system will provide a direct link among area agencies charged with responding to emergencies.

Motorola of Schaumburg, Ill., was awarded the contract to install and maintain the system for five years.

There are three additional five-year renewal options.

Most of the money for the system will come from the county’s 2004 bond package.

Most of $75 million in bonds OK’d by county goes to open land buys

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