Category Archives: Oro Valley

Oro Valley heritage advocates recognized for good works

[Source: Lourdes Medrano, Arizona Daily Star] — Oro Valley today will honor Dick Eggerding and Pat Spoerl as this year’s outstanding volunteers.  They each will receive the town’s annual Volunteer of the Year Award, given to a man and woman who distinguish themselves for their dedication to volunteer work in the community.  Spoerl and Eggerding have volunteered their time to many causes over the years, sometimes together.  They co-founded the Oro Valley Historical Society with the late Jim Kreigh.   They will receive the award in a 6 p.m. invitation-only reception at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort, where town officials will recognize the work of about 400 volunteers.

Spoerl, a retired U.S. Forest Service archaeologist, is particularly known for her efforts to preserve Oro Valley’s cultural resources.  Eggerding, who created the town’s “Community of Excellence” logo, was instrumental in bringing public art, concerts and art festivals to the town through the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council, which he co-founded with Bob Weede.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Oro Valley’s Steam Pump Ranch panel agrees on restoration plan

[Source: Lourdes Medrano, Daily Star] — The Oro Valley community task force charged with creating a development plan for the historic Steam Pump Ranch wrapped up its work last week. The town wants to restore the ranch for public viewing and use. The group’s final plan now goes before the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on April 14. The group will gather at 5 p.m. in the Oro Valley Town Hall, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive. After the commission puts its stamp on the plan, it goes to the Town Council for consideration on May 21. The council got an early glimpse of the plan in February, when some members expressed concerns about the potential cost. The property includes roughly 11 structures, including the original ranch house.

If the council approves the project, the public could have access to the site about eight months later, said Corky Poster of Poster Frost Associates Inc. As a town-hired consultant, Poster worked for months alongside the task force on a Steam Pump Ranch master plan. The task force recommended that the town initially focus on the project’s first phase, which would cost about $5 million. Full restoration previously was estimated at $8.4 million. The final plan scaled back some of the amenities in the build-out, Poster said. “We have a smaller-scale equestrian center and a smaller-scale event center, for example.” The changes mean new costs, Poster said, but the task force did not tackle the new estimates. Any work done after the opening phase will need additional study and funding, Poster emphasized. “The main thing is that it restores the historic buildings,” Sarah More, the town’s planning and zoning director, said of the task force’s final recommendation. The initial phase includes restoration work and displays about the two eras in which the ranch figured prominently. “There are so many buildings there, we can’t use them all,” said Dick Eggerding, a task-force member. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Future of Oro Valley’s Steam Pump closer to resolution

[Source: Patrick McNamara, Explorer News] — The Oro Valley Town Council, last Wednesday, got an early glimpse of estimated preservation and operating costs at the town’s historic Steam Pump Ranch property. As currently envisioned, the restoration alone could top $8.4 million. With that potentially multi-million-dollar restoration effort and hundreds of thousands in annual operating expenses looming, some council members have grown apprehensive about the plans. “What I’m worried about is, how do we control the level of expectations people have and what can we deliver?” Councilman Terry Parish said the day after the meeting.

Answering some of those questions is what the citizen-led group charged with writing a proposal for the council to review and possibly adopt has tried to do since first meeting last August. At the Wednesday council meeting, the group sought guidance from the council on some possible funding options for the site, and to secure council members’ input on different staffing and operations options at the historic residence. “We like to look at master planning as not fixed or set in stone,” said Corky Poster of the architectural firm Poster Frost Associates. The town contracted the company to guide the planning process and draw up the final plan. So far, the plan has the property bisected into two era-specific displays. One half reflects the early years of the ranch, established by German immigrant George Pusch in 1870. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Oro Valley’s Steam Pump design idea topic of public meeting

[Source: Patrick McNamara, Explorer News] — A public meeting was held for the Steam Pump Ranch master planning process last Thursday. Architect Corky Poster of Poster Frost Associates, the firm contracted to create a master plan for the historic property, gave a presentation on a possible final design scenario. Working with the Steam Pump Ranch Task Force, a group of citizen volunteers, the firm has distilled the final scenario from three preliminary plans. One scenario, which the task force called “Eras of Oro Valley History,” included proto-history and Native American displays, Arizona territorial representations, statehood and town incorporation exhibits.

Another option, termed “A Day in the Life,” consisted of ranch recreations circa 1944. The year was chosen because researchers believe buildings from most prior eras of the property were in place then. A third choice included major elements from two dominant periods in the history of Steam Pump Ranch: the founding of the property in the 19th Century, and the post-1933 era when the Procter family bought the ranch. All of the scenarios included variations on a visitor center that would inform guests of the property’s history. The ultimate goal is to have the property registered with the U.S. Department of Interior’s National Register of Historic Places. German immigrant George Pusch settled the site in the 1870s. It acted as a stopover for ranchers driving their cattle to rail stations on Tucson’s west side on their way to markets in the east. The property got its iconic name from Pusch’s use of a steam-powered pump used to bring up ground water at the ranch.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Arizona Daily Star. Pictured is the adobe building which used to enclose the steam-operated water pump that gave the ranch its name.]