Pima County broke its promise to build a Catalina Highway bike trailhead and may have to pay back the family who helped fund it, the Arizona Court of Appeals has decided.
Jean and Jim Gorman envisioned a trailhead with parking spaces, bike racks, picnic tables and a drinking fountain to be named the Brad Gorman Memorial Bike Trailhead in memory of their son, who was killed while riding his bike on the road in 1999.
They worked together with the county on the project beginning in 2000.
The county provided land and the Regional Transportation Authority and the Gorman family provided part of the money for the $215,000 project.
The county issued engineering contracts and asked the Gormans to pay them, signed a formal agreement with the RTA, issued a building permit and solicited bids from contractors.
But when neighboring residents complained about the location of the trailhead and said the county never told them about it, the county stopped the project.
The Gormans sued the county in Superior Court for breach of contract in 2010, saying they wanted their $30,000 back.
There is no question the county was going to proceed - and still probably will at a different site, said County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry.
A Superior Court judge dismissed the Gormans' claims, so they took their case to the Arizona Court of Appeals.
The appeals court issued an opinion last week affirming the lower court judgment in favor of the county on the breach of contract claim. But the opinion also said the county broke its promise to the Gormans and remanded the case back to trial court for damages.
The damages won't be more than $30,000, Huckelberry said.
He said he wants to get past the lawsuit quickly and find a trailhead site that's acceptable to all, this time in a process that will include an extensive public review.
Contact reporter Becky Pallack at email@example.com or 573-4346. On Twitter @BeckyPallack