For those of you who are not already privy to recent ongoings around Margaret T. Hance Park, I hope the following serves as a useful primer.
The Margaret T. Park sits like a leafy green roof over the 101 tunnel between Culver and Portland. This was the final place in America where I-10 was joined, completing the ribbon of highway connecting the Atlantic Oceanside of Florida to the Pacific beaches of California.
The 32.5 acre park, which is adjacent to the Willow, Roosevelt and Evans Churchill neighborhoods, is gearing up for a major repurposing.
Thanks to the Parks and Recreation Department of Phoenix and the park’s vision steering committee, Margaret T. Hance Park may be getting a major facelift very soon. A thirteen member committee along with several ASU architecture and landscaping students are creating a master plan to be proposed in December for future, long term changes to the park while still preserving its historical integrity.
The park is already home to the Irish Cultural Center, Japanese Friendship Gardens, and the Jewish Heritage Center as well as many events, like next month’s Oktoberfest. The committee, whose meetings are open to the public, plans to propose new structures and additions which can benefit and increase park programming, such as an amphitheater for concerts and shows or basketball courts for local teams.
The project is just one of many around the community help to better downtown neighborhoods for the good of the public and its real-estate. Cindy Dach, a six month veteran of the committee, is a former New Yorker and knows how important parks can be to a community, especially downtown. For Cindy, “parks are vital,” especially to those downtown who “may never otherwise see a tree.”
Cindy is also a board member for the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation, which promotes revival of downtown Phoenix by endorsing the arts and creative renewal of vacant downtown spaces. This weekend the Roosevelt Row CDC will be hosting a public seed planting for their Valley of the Sunflowers project on Saturday.
We are lucky to have people like Cindy and downtown advocate Sean Sweat involved in these projects.
Revitalization projects all over central phoenix are working toward the same goal: happier, healthier neighborhoods, engaged communities, and a flourishing downtown.
There you go, reason 1,487 why I dig CenPho and think you should, too.
Have a great weekend!
By the way, below is a rendering of one of the plans that was suggested in the 1960s to move traffic through Phoenix BEFORE historic neighborhood leaders got involved and fought for what became Margaret T. Hance Park. Do you get the feeling that we dodged a bullet?