Initial Redevelopment Plans Revealed for Phoenix's Hance Park
Courtesy Hance Park Master Plan Committee/Andrew Pielage A view of Margaret T. Hance Park as it looks today.
It's being described as more than a facelift or a redesign; they're calling it a "master plan" -- a vision to transform Phoenix's Margaret T. Hance Park from neighborhood play-place to a defined desert oasis.
Built atop the Interstate 10 tunnel, the sprawling 32-acre park serves as a distinguishing physical border for downtown Phoenix. Designated by Fifth Avenue to the west, Third Street to the east and Culver and Portland streets to the north and south, respectively, the park is the city's largest yet seemingly the most underutilized.
Current neighbors and residents include Burton Barr Library, Phoenix Center for the Arts, and the Japanese Friendship Garden. The public space regularly hosts Valley events like Phoenix Oktoberfest and the upcoming McDowell Mountain Music Festival, as well as intimate get-togethers for locals.
Yet it seems barren and uninviting, lacking the distinct stamp of a destination. The goal is to create a space that really looks like Phoenix and its surrounding desert through clever use of architecturally manipulated topography.
Wednesday night's community meeting, the third since this project was first brought to the public's attention last August, was held at the nearby Phoenix Art Museum. For two hours, nearly 300 Phoenicians packed Whiteman Hall to hear presentations from principals at Weddle Gilmore and !melk architecture firms and offer their feedback. It's this kind of open dialogue that will create a truly communal place, said introductory speakers like District 4 Councilwoman Laura Pastor and Ann Wheat, the Parks and Recreation Department's Deputy Downtown Division Director.