U.S. Rep. McSally & Tucson City Manager Testify on Bill to Protect & Improve Udall Park
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Martha McSally today testified before the House Natural Resources Committee on her bill to expand and improve Udall Park. The Udall Park Land Exchange Completion Act would complete a 28- year old land exchange between the City of Tucson and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). As Congresswoman McSally’s invitation, Tucson City Manager Michael Ortega also came to Congress to testify on the City of Tucson’s support for this legislation. This hearing marked an important step forward in advancing the bill through Congress so that the City of Tucson can fully utilize the 172.8-acre parcel of land the park sits on.
“Udall Park is a beautiful place for our Southern Arizona community to gather, but the City of Tucson has been unable to improve and expand the park to its full potential,” said Congresswoman McSally as she testified during the hearing. “My legislation would formally conclude the long overdue land agreement. Federal red tape should not stand in the way of communities developing local parks. It’s common-sense.”
Watch Rep. McSally’s testimony before the committee below.
“Udall Park is a highly developed and very popular urban park, used by City and surrounding Pima County residents alike…. The existence of the reverter has directly impeded the City from taking advantage of commercial opportunities to supplement park funding, approve certain community events or look to other commercial ventures on small portions of the park that would benefit the city in general,” said Tucson City Manager Michael Ortega while testifying before the committee. “This is a unique situation, unlike any other reverter elimination being proposed anywhere on BLM administered lands. H.R. 1547 is needed to complete what should have been completed almost 28 years ago, and to provide an enhanced recreational and economic future for the citizens of Tucson and its environs.”
Watch Tucson City Manager Michael Ortega’s testimony before the committee below.
On May 16, 1980, the City of Tucson leased over 172 acres from BLM for the creation of what would become Udall Park. On June 26, 1989, the City of Tucson entered into negations to transfer 297 acres of rural land recently purchased for $4 million to BLM for the title of the land currently used for Udall Park. Those negotiations were finalized later that year on October 4, 1989. The Udall Park Land Exchange Completion Act removes a reversion clause contained in the 1989 agreement, providing full autonomy and ownership for Udall Park to the City of Tucson.
Next, the House Natural Resources Committee is expected to markup the legislation and consider it for passage.