Phoenix Approves Hance Park Redesign Over the Next Decade

Rendering of the new Deck Park, as proposed at the meeting on Wednesday, January 22, 2014.

Four area gardens will be created and housed in the park: one aquatic, one desert, one mineral, and one specimen, bringing new vegetation and color to a typically muted landscape. Playing off that landscape, however, both firms plan to construct 60-foot-tall steel-and-grass buttes, homage to the peaks and mountains surrounding the Valley. These buttes would be home to trees that thrive in the climate, including desert oak and palo verde, which offer a shade refuge from the powerful summer sun.

Both the Phoenix City Council Subcommittee on Parks, Arts, Transparency, and Education and the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board unanimously approved the proposed redesign plans on Wednesday, March 26 -- though the decision is one of pledged support rather than funding. Phoenix is staring down the barrel of a near $38 million dollar budget deficit, which means securing public funding for all or part of the project could take considerable time.

The proposed cost of the upgrades and renovations to the park, from zip lines to splash pads to shade structures -- is approximately $118 million. So while construction could begin as early as this summer, the likelihood of the park's completion in year or even a few is next to none.

Instead, the project will be achieved through three distinct phases over a decade. The first will focus of spending all early money toward creating The Cloud and signature gateway for the park, with particular concern to the Plateau designation and special event atmosphere. The second and third phases will expand on adding details to the Canyon and Valley areas, respectively.

Built in 1992, the park sits atop the Interstate 10 tunnel -- often referred to as the "Deck Park Tunnel." The 32-acre park extends as far west as Fifth Avenue and east as Third Street, designated by Culver and Portland streets to the north and south, respectively. Though the park is the city's largest, it remains largely vacant, save for large-scale events like Phoenix Oktoberfest and the McDowell Mountain Music Festival.

"Does Phoenix deserve a great signature park?" asked Sarah Porter, chair of the Margaret T. Hance Park Master Plan Steering Committee, as the sun began to set. "We're ready for a great city park. This is an opportunity to create what people identify with Phoenix."

See also:
Initial Redevelopment Plans Revealed for Phoenix's Hance Park
Phoenix's Vernon Avenue Pocket Park Opens This Saturday

Editor's note: This post has been modified from its original version.

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