By Brenna Goth for The Arizona Republic
As downtown Phoenix’s biggest park prepares for its national debut hosting NCAA March Madness fan events, advocates of a $118M redevelopment plan for the green space are shifting focus from creating a vision to finding money to execute it.
City and community leaders are closer to implementing new plans for Margaret T. Hance Park, a 33-acre site on the north edge of downtown, after years of design work.
Plans call for adding amenities like a skate park, playscapes, an amphitheater and restaurants to the park that is now mostly grass flanked by cultural institutions. But to fund it, the city will depend heavily on private partnerships and donations.
The Hance Park Conservancy, a non-profit group spearheading fundraising efforts, recently received its biggest single donation of $100K to go toward an amphitheater.
Plans to redevelop Hance Park imagine it as Phoenix’s equivalent of Central Park in New York or Millennium Park in Chicago.
Construction would happen in phases and take years, under a master plan approved last year. An art and shade installation reminiscent of clouds would connect three zones of the park.
Planned additions include family-oriented water features, splash pads, a zipline, gardens and restaurants. Another portion of the park would become a performance area with a viewing lawn and storefronts. Existing buildings would be rehabilitated.
Parks and Recreation Director Inger Erickson said she would like to see changes at the park start in the next year or year and a half. A more solid timeline will come when the city chooses a design team, she said, which is expected this summer.
Early elements could include the skate park, amphitheater or restaurant.
Making the Vision a Reality
Though construction of the master plan would cost $118M, the total project price tag rises to $135M with design and other expenses included, according to a recent meeting agenda.
The city will use a parks and recreation sales tax fund to dedicate $15M toward the project over three years.
Read more at The Arizona Republic.
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