Thursday, December 28, 2006

Pinal County looks into preserving open space

[Source: Carl Holcombe, Arizona Republic] - - Developers, preservationists and local government officials are looking at ways to preserve open space as Pinal County continues to build on farms and deserts. Speaking at a recent Pinal Partnership meeting, experts said open space and trails planning and guidelines are needed to improve the quality of life and developments in Pinal County. "Open space is part of a bigger picture," panelist Andy Laurenzi, the Sonoran Institute's land and water policy program director, told a group of developers, home builders and municipal and county government leaders.

It's important to not only develop sports and grassy neighborhood parks, but to preserve desert areas, and to link those areas with state and federal parks in the county through pedestrian and bicycle-friendly trails, Laurenzi said. Developments featuring denser housing could allow for more open space, he said. Power Ranch at Gilbert, developed by Sunbelt Holdings, was cited as a successful mix of open space, parks, schools and a trails network. Kent Taylor, a senior county planner for parks, open space and trails, said the county will likely have a master plan for trails ready this spring.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Leanne Matzenger.]