Blog Archives

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.

Phoenix seeks public input on parks & preserves, Aug. 27

Eastlake Park, Phoenix, AZ[Source: City of Phoenix] — The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department seeks residents’ input on the future direction of the city’s parks and desert preserves.  Those interested in weighing in can attend one of ten public meetings held throughout the city from late June through August.  Those unable to attend a meeting can participate online; the department has posted background information and an online survey on the department Web site.

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, voters approved a 30-year extension of the program, which was set to expire next year.

The public involvement process will allow residents to set priorities for park and preserve development and improvement over the coming years.  When the process is complete, Parks and Recreation Department staff will use the results to develop a proposal and recommendations for consideration by the Parks and Recreation Board and ultimately, the City Council, which will approve a final plan. 

The public meeting closest to residents living in and around downtown Phoenix is Wednesday, August 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 N. Central Ave.

Those wanting general information on the public process can call 602-262-6862.  General information also is available on the department Web site.

Today is election day for Parks & Preserve funding

Steele Indian School ParkOn May 20, 2008, a special election in the City of Phoenix will be held.  The campaign for the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative is in full swing. 

For the past 10 years, Phoenix voters have invested in outdoor places through the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative.  Initiated and passed by 80 percent of Phoenix voters in 1999, the Initiative has raised over $220 million to build new parks, improve community parks, and purchase pristine Sonoran desert preserve land.  Investments made possible include:

  • Community and Neighborhood Parks: Established or renovated 52 playgrounds, 23 shade structures, 35 armadas, 14 restrooms, new sports lighting at 30 parks and 19 fields, and accessibility modifications at more than 25 parks.
  • Regional Parks: Developed regional parks, including Paseo Highlands, Steele Indian School, Desert West, Pecos Park, Cesar Chavez Park, as well as the Cave Creek Recreational Area and Camelback Ranch.
  • Sonoran Preserve: Purchased 3,759 acres of Arizona State Trust Land, with another 650-acre acquisition planned for this year.

Current funding expires next year, and due to significant population growth and urban sprawl the need for parks and the need to preserve precious parts of our natural desert environment are only growing. Supporters of the Initiative encourage Phoenix voters to vote “yes” on Proposition A.

Learn more about the Initiative by visiting

Roosevelt neighborhood asks for increased security at Hance Park

Japanese Garden, Margaret T. Hance Park[Source: Andie Abkarian, Roosevelt Action Association] — As part of City of Phoenix budget cuts, the Parks Department has eliminated security in downtown’s Margaret T. Hance Park.  Out of $13,500,000 cut from the Parks budget, the Parks Department chose to eliminate overnight park security at Hance Park for an estimated cost savings of $50,000.  The neighborhood was told that the Police Department will monitor security at the park as part of their regular patrol, but neighbors are concerned that (1) Phoenix police officers are already overwhelmed with regular patrols and (2) there is no way Phoenix police officers can adequately keep the park safe without dedicated foot patrols into the depths of the park throughout the night.

The Roosevelt Action Association asks interested persons to ASAP call and/or e-mail the following representatives requesting an immediate reversal of this decision.  On May 20, RAA representatives will meet with city staff.

For more information on what you can do to help or for more details on the buget cut, send an e-mail or call Andie Abkarian (480-600-8826), Catrina Knobel (480-579-2998), or Mike Hall (602-258-6048).

Hance park security takes a budget hit

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — When Phoenix’s Parks and Recreation Department cut $15.5 million, it was only a matter of time before downtown parks began to feel the pain.  Among the laundry list of cuts was the $288,000 private security contract for six Phoenix parks, including Margaret T. Hance Park at 1134 N. Central Ave.  That and other budget cuts took effect in April, city officials say.

Roosevelt Action Association members have complained to the city about the lost security detail, but it doesn’t look like it will come back any time soon.  “I believe this decision (was) short sighted and injurious to our neighborhood,” wrote the group’s president Steve Brueckner in a neighborhood newsletter.  While the one man patrol “may not sound like much, this security made a significant difference in the number of crime- and drug- related incidents occurring in the park at night.  The patrol also did a great job of keeping people from spending the night in the park,” Brueckner wrote.

The night guard was one of many tough decisions, said assistant parks director Jim Burke.  The cuts included eliminating most of the city’s youth sports programs, which served 3,850 children last year.  “This is the new reality at the parks department,” Burke said.  When residents call with concerns, “We have to figure out how to make it as positive as possible,” he added.

Visit the mayor over coffee, May 10

Mayor Phil Gordon invites downtown residents and those interested in downtown Phoenix to join him at his quarterly Community Coffee on Saturday, May 10, 2008 from 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. at Palette, 606 North Fourth Avenue, at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Fillmore.  The Mayor’s guest, Phil Richards, Chair of the Phoenix Parks and Preserves Board and Initiative campaign, will provide information about the Initiative, also known as Proposition A, which is on the May 20, 2008 ballot.  Following will be Q&A and a “meet and greet” with Mayor Gordon.  Click here for more information.