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Phoenix forms committee to scout dog park location

[Source: Connor Radnovich,]

Photo by Michael Arellano

A new committee will soon be looking into a location for a dog park in Phoenix.

At a Phoenix Board of Adjustment meeting in early November, much of the community supported turning an empty lot near ASU’s Downtown campus into a dog park instead of a parking lot. Because of this response, the city created a committee to explore this issue.

The Ad Hoc Downtown Dog Park Citizens Committee will have its first public meeting Dec. 14 to discuss the placement of a new dog park in the downtown Phoenix area.

City staff have reviewed several sites and will be presenting the potential locations to the committee at the meeting.

“It’s hard to say what the committee will decide,” said Erin Mullarkey, secretary for Parks Development and Planning.

To make any decision, 75 percent of the committee must agree on one location for the park.

So far, only 10 people have confirmed they will be on the committee out of the 70 to 80 people Mayor of Phoenix Phil Gordon nominated.

Those nominated to the committee include ASU students living on the Downtown campus.

Mullarkey said at least half of the nominated people must be on the committee for it to become active.

Gordon will give the committee until Jan. 31 to provide a recommendation to the city. After that date, the committee will be automatically disbanded.  However, the mayor can grant the committee more time.

If the committee does not reach a decision, it is unclear what will happen to the plans for a dog park.

“It may be something staff looks at further down the road,” Mullarkey said.

Many of the community members who attended the Phoenix Board of Adjustment appeal hearing on Nov. 4 hoped the city would build a dog park on a 2-acre empty lot near the Downtown campus.  An abandoned Ramada Inn that previously occupied the lot was torn down earlier this semester.

The appeal was shot down 3-1.

Community activist Sean Sweat has worked toward getting a dog park put in that space to serve nearby dog owners.

“It seemed clear the board wasn’t interested in hearing the facts,” Sweat said.

Community members are working on an appeal to the board’s decision, which will heard by the Maricopa County Superior Court. Sweat is confident they will be successful at the higher level.

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Hance Park Visioning Session on Nov 3

Phoenix Library - Burton Barr Central Library

Image via Wikipedia

The 20th anniversary of Margaret T. Hance Park (Deck Park) is fast approaching. Work is under way to pump new life into the 32-acre park that is built above the Deck Park Tunnel.  The City is constructing ADA upgrades for the Phoenix Center for the Arts, as well as adding a skateboard plaza and basketball court in the park.  They want residents’ input on other possibilities for the park.


Burton Barr Central Library 4th Floor Lecture Hall

1221 N Central Ave

Wednesday, Nov 3, 4 – 5:30 pm

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Phoenix Parks & Recreation Board to discuss citizen feedback, Sept. 11

Dining Hall, Steele Indian School Park, Phoenix

[Source: Phoenix Parks & Recreation Foundation] — On Thursday, September 11, 2008 the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department will present to the Parks and Recreation Board information collected from a series of public meetings and a summer-long online survey designed to allow residents to set priorities for park and preserve development and improvements over the coming years.  

These results, being presented to the public for the first time on September 11, are intended to assist Parks and Recreation Department staff in the development of a proposal and recommendations for consideration by the Parks and Recreation Board.  Ultimately, a final plan must be approved by the Phoenix City Council.

The City created this public involvement process in response to the overwhelming May 20 voter approval of the reauthorization of the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative.  For the past nine years the Initiative, using a one-tenth of one cent sales tax, has raised more than $200 million to fund the construction and improvement of parks throughout the city and the addition of thousands of acres of desert land to the city’s preserve system.  In the May 20 vote, 83% of voters approved a 30-year extension of the program, which was set to expire next year.

The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 5 p.m. in the Phoenix City Council Chambers, 200 West Jefferson Street.  For more information, click here.

Bevy of Phoenix park-managed historic sites in severe condition

According to the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department has a number of facilities listed on the Phoenix Historic Property Register.  Those highlighted in orange are landmark properties of exceptional significance.  Those highlighted in red are parks with historic properties having the most severe condition issues.

Staff in both departments have said they plan to meet regularly to discuss the status of ongoing projects.  Both departments plan to track their joint City of Phoenix bond projects together during the next five year bond cycle and will continue to explore federal, state, non-profit, and private sector funding sources to leverage city funding for historic projects.

How can you help?  Attend one of the public meetings to be set up in June and July by Parks and Recreation to garner feedback and ideas (now that the Phoenix Parks & Preserve Initiative passed handily by voters).  Also, learn more about the Phoenix Parks and Conservation Foundation, a recognized non-profit, tax-exempt organization that raises funds to help renovate existing parks and acquire new parks and preserves. 

Historic Property Register Sites in Parks

Key Dates

American Legion Post 41 (adobe structure)

1948 (CD)

Coronado Park (park buildings)

1936-1939 (PS)

Eastlake Park (amphitheater & pump house)

1890-1956 (PS)

Encanto Park

1935-1956 (PS)

Papago Park

1932-1946 (PS)

Sachs-Webster Farmstead

ca. 1909 (CD)

South Mountain Park & Preserve

1933-1942 (PS)

Verde Park Pumphouse

1938 (CD)

Carnegie Library and Park

1908 (CD)

Heritage Square/Rosson House

1895-1920 (PS)

Phoenix Indian School

1891-1931 (PS)

Pioneer Cemetery/Smurthwaite House

1880-1914 (PS)

Pueblo Grande Museum & Archeological Park

AD 500-1941 (PS)

Tovrea Castle & Carraro Cactus Garden

1928-1930 (CD)

Arizona Museum

1927 (CD)

Duppa-Montgomery Adobe

ca. 1895 (CD)

Grant Park

1934 (CD)

Harmon Park

1927 (CD)

Matthew Henson Public Housing Project

1940-1941 (PS)

N. Central Streetscape/Murphy Bridle Path

1895-1951 (PS)

Norton House

1912-1913 (CD)

Rancho Ko-Mat-Ke/Circle K Park

ca. 1935 (CD)

University Park Bath House & Pumphouse

1934, 1936 (CD)

CD = Construction Date; PS = Period of Significance.

Metro Phoenix parks and open space subject of two studies

Papago Park, Phoenix[Source: Project for Livable Communities] — Valley Forward is promoting “The Valley’s Pedestrian Freeway: A Priceless Necklace of Trails and Gems” on its website. Although there are numerous gaps in the route, Valley Forward envisions “a ring of trails, circling the Valley, connecting parks, riparian corridors, recreational facilities, and desert landscapes.” You can learn more about the trails system and how you can help to close the gaps, plus find trails that you can enjoy today.

In addition, an in-depth look is taken by Randy Virgen in the article, “The Challenge of Providing Parks and Recreation Services in a Fast Growing Metropolitan Area,” of the 2008 Arizona Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. “Parks, open space, and recreation opportunities are central to our quality of life and serve as important economic drivers for tourism and other economic sectors. But the fact is that our parks and recreation services are at a crossroads: They can no longer keep up with the demands by Greater Phoenix’s growing population.” Click here to read the complete article, which appeared in the February 2008 APRA Magazine.