TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Tucson city council will vote on the John F. Kennedy Park master plan on Wednesday, July 6.
Following a discussion at its study session in the afternoon, the council will vote in its evening session. The plan is a $10 million upgrade at the 172-acre park including hiking trails, lighting, concessions, irrigation, more vegetation and other amenities.
There is no money involved in the vote, at least not now. The approval of the master plan comes first. Finding the $10 million comes later for the cash-strapped city.
The park can use some work. The last major installation at the park happened more than 20 year ago.
A stroll through the park at West Ajo Way and South Mission Road, leads to the neglected tennis courts, the basketball courts in disrepair, the aging ramadas, potholes which fill the roads leading to Kennedy Lake and the grills that are falling apart and never cleaned.
Still, the park was crowded on this Fourth of July holiday with families who brought their own grills to cook on, a common practice for those who frequent the park.
Viviano Cerniceros was waiting with his wife, children and grandchildren for a portable grill to arrive so they could get on with the cooking.
"I've been coming here for a long time," he said. "I've brought my kids here since they were little."
He believes maintenance and keeping the park clean are vital because taxpayer money is tight.
"We understand the structures are old," he said. "I don't know if we have the money to tear them down and rebuild them."
Joe Marti comes to Kennedy Park most days to fish in Kennedy Lake and has had some luck.
"I've taken about an eight pounder, eight pound catfish," he said. He believes if the city is serious, it could take the park back to its heyday.
"It looked nice way back," he said. "When they had paddle boats and the concession stand."
Both are long past but one idea being contemplated by the city is to refurbish the concession stand and boat dock. But Marti also believes the south side has changed and he welcomes the attention.
"They always get shortchanged but the south side is growing a lot," he said. "New developments and food places are coming south."
Others thought it's a nice plan, but remain doubtful that it will become reality.
"A lot of families come here," Isidro Rosas said. "But $10 million is a lot of money."