The town of Sahuarita celebrated a significant milestone with the grand opening of Parque La Coraza on Sunday, June 23.

The new park is not just a testament to the towns explosive growth, but also features a tribute to the community’s first responders.

The towns population has surged by over 970% since 2000, according to the most recent census data, prompting local leaders to invest in green spaces to manage the rapid expansion.

This means incorporating green spaces to accommodate its burgeoning population, particularly in Rancho Sahuarita, the towns largest housing community.

The park, part of Rancho Sahuarita, features a dog park, basketball and cornhole court and a playground.

Ed Lytle, Community Relations representative for Rancho Sahuarita, highlighted the community-centric amenities.

We go all out for our community, Lytle said. Its a great day to be in Sahuarita.

Mayor Tom Murphy emphasized the role of parks and other amenities in easing some of the challenges that come with the towns increasing population.

Bringing these amenities on helps mitigate some of the growth pains as a rapidly growing town, Murphy said. Theres something to do within close walking distance from so much of our community, which were grateful for.

Residents, like Tressa McLane, were already appreciating the convenience. Its exciting, she said. I live two blocks away and its right in our backyard. We can walk over.

In addition to recreational facilities, the park includes a heartfelt tribute to first responders.

The memorial features plaques for the fire, police and EMT services, along with Homeland Security. These plaques are set against a backdrop of the national first responder flag.

Chuck Wunder, Chief of the Green Valley Fire District, spoke about the importance of the memorial.

Nearly 50% have some attachment to first responders of the community, Wunder said. So having a park dedicated like this is a really big deal.

This sentiment was echoed by local firefighter Dominic Corrales. Its right in my community, Corrales said. It means a lot to get this recognition and have a park dedicated to all first responders.

Looking ahead, the town is preparing for continued development. Jeremy Sharpe, a developer with Rancho Sahuarita, shared future plans for the community.

Were developing 1,000 lots right now that were selling to homebuilders, Sharpe said. Were already planning our next phase of parks and different amenities for that.

Parque La Coraza is located at 784 W. Calle Espadero in Sahuarita and is open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday through Thursday, and 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Fridays.