Parks and Rec
First, it’s critical that we maintain and expand our existing network of flat land parks and mountain preserves. These are a treasure for all of our residents, current and future, and continued strong stewardship of these vital resources must be maintained and expanded.
However, the City of Phoenix Parks Department owns parcels of land throughout our city. Many are not envisioned to be activated, ever. Others we simply don’t have the funds to put into use at this time. We need to get creative and activate them all, in part or in whole, as quickly as possible. Over the last several years, a number of Home Owners Associations and private developers have approached me to ask if one or another of these parcels might be available for them to purchase. In each case, I threw out the following possibility: “If it were, is this something where you could build out and activate a significant portion of the property as a public park, maintained with HOA dues, or some similar mechanism?” They all said ‘yes,’ the city said ‘no.’ We need to get the city onboard. We should create a vast network of micro parks and green spaces throughout every neighborhood in our city. Activate them all. If a developer can come in, build some needed housing, and use that housing to maintain a park that’s open to the public on land that is currently sitting useless and fallow, that’s exactly what we should do. It wouldn’t be a giveaway, they’d still need to put in a bid for the land, pay the money, and meet whatever obligations they agreed to. But there is no reason for us to leave these parcels in their current condition, where they provide no benefit to our residents.
Additionally, we need to start looking at how we connect parks, greenbelts, open spaces, and streets which have been redeveloped as Complete Streets within communities to create high-quality exercise loops and paths.