Blog Posts Tagged ‘parks’

Queen Creek Moves Forward with New Park


The Queen Creek Town Council recently approved the conceptual design for a new park, located on the West Park site a 196th Street and Appleby Road, near Ocotillo and Sossaman roads. The 30-acre park will help meet the need for additional parks and recreational space in the community. The conceptual design includes lighted baseball/softball fields, lighted multi-purpose field (soccer, football, etc.), play and picnic areas, splash pad, wheel park, walking trail, lake, restrooms and concessions.   Qu

“Approving the conceptual design takes us one step closer to having a new park in Queen Creek,” stated Mayor Gail Barney. “The conceptual design provides a framework for the park as it is developed. As a Town Council, we are very excited about the quality of the new park. Over the past several years we’ve seen a number of new homes being built in our community, and every new home results in impact fees that ensure that growth pays for the impacts of growth. We’re using our bank of impact fees that have been accrued over the years to pay for this much-needed new facility in our community. As a Town, we have to balance the needs for recreation opportunities with making sound financial decisions with taxpayer dollars.” 

West Park, which will be named as the park is developed, will be funded through a variety of sources. The park improvements will be completely funded through impact fees designated specifically for parks. The parking and streets associated with West Park will be funded through street impact fees and the two percent dedicated construction sales tax, and the lake will be funded with water and wastewater capacity fees and savings. Changes at the state legislature in 2011 dramatically impacted the use of development fees, restricting the use for new parks to 30 acres, and eliminating the use of impact fees to fund recreational centers larger than 3,000 square feet. 

The development of a new park is supported by feedback on the 2016 Queen Creek Citizen Survey and the 2016 Parks and Recreation Survey, completed for the Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update. In the 2016 Queen Creek Citizen Survey, more recreation opportunities and more parks were both in the top 10 most desired benefits. The 2016 Parks and Recreation Survey had similar results, with 53% of respondents indicating they felt Queen Creek needs more parks and 24 to 29% reporting they felt Queen Creek needs more fields (softball, soccer, baseball, and football). The development of West Park also supports two goals identified in the Town’s Corporate Strategic Plan, superior infrastructure and quality lifestyle.

View the full release and get more information by clicking here

City of Mesa opens Inclusive Playground

The City of Mesa held a ribbon cutting ceremony to bring in a new playground in their Dobson Ranch Park.

The park includes several new inclusive features including a multi-level play structure that has activities connected through ramps, sensory play sandbox, a double zip line with a supported seat, a climbing wall, cozy cocoon for children who need quiet space and updated restrooms to meet ADA requirements, among others.

The 10,000 square-foot playground will allow parents and caregivers to play alongside their child.

The previous playground was donated to the Mesa Sister City of Guaymas, Mexico.

For more information on the new playground and City of Mesa Parks and Recreation, click here.



Payson Parks Downtown

Payson's Green Valley Park downtown is a community spot for events and gatherings.  Photo from City of Payson

Payson’s Green Valley Park downtown is a community spot for events and gatherings. Photo from City of Payson

Payson is surrounded by the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world. To the north is the majestic Mogollon Rim that is home to some of the best camping, fishing, hunting and hiking trails in the southwest. In addition to all these surrounding recreational opportunities, in the middle of Payson is Green Valley Park, originally built as a water reclamation project.

From its inception, it was designed in a way that would collect runoff water but, at the same time, double as a park that offers residents and visitors alike beautiful surroundings and access to three lakes. These three lakes are stocked with trout and are part of the Arizona Game and Fish Rural Fishing Program. The park is also home to the Zane Grey Museum and the Rim Country Museum. During the town’s 4th of July Hometown Celebration, the park serves as the gathering place for over 15,000 people annually.

Payson's Zane Grey Museum at the Green Valley Park  Photo from the City of Payson

Payson’s Zane Grey Museum at the Green Valley Park Photo from the City of Payson

In June and July, on every Saturday night, you will hear the melodious sounds of great music coming from the ampitheater during Payson’s very popular Summer Concert Series. In the spring, Green Valley Park serves as the backdrop for over 300 classic cars that make up the Beeline Cruise-In Car Show. The economic vitality and all of these activities would not be possible if it were not for this great recreational venue.

We invite you to come to “Arizona’s Cool Mountain Town” and enjoy the “jewel” of Payson – Green Valley Park, located at the end of Main Street.

Downtown Payson's Green Valley Park  Photo from City of Payson

Downtown Payson’s Green Valley Park Photo from City of Payson

Goodyear girl ends NFL Punt, Kick and Pass competition as state champ

BLOG - Goodyear PPK _001Mia Amundsen’s rise to football fame pretty much began with the Goodyear Parks and Recreation Department – and a lot of dedication.

The Goodyear girl, who is a fourth grader at Palm Valley Elementary School, ended the National Football League’s prestigious Punt, Pass and Kick competition by finishing first to win a state championship.

She scored 129.5 points, the best in the girls’ 8-9 year-old division in a portion of the football program’s state championships held on the field of University of Phoenix Stadium during the Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday, Dec. 7.

The Punt, Pass and Kick Program has been recognized by the NFL for more than 50 years. The free competition gives boys and girls ages six through 15 the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in punting, passing and place kicking.  Each participant is given one punt, one pass and one kick to accumulate a score.  Scores are received and calculated with distance and accuracy providing the final scoring distance.

Mia, who is the daughter of Ty and Diane Amundsen, advanced to the state competition after placing first in the Punt, Kick and Pass sectional competition at Sahuaro Ranch Park in Glendale on Nov. 1.

Although there was no guarantee Mia would advance to the state finals as there are other state competitions held throughout the state and the top four scores overall advance, her parents later received word via email that she advanced to the state finals. Her age group included more than 100 kids throughout the state.BLOG - Goodyear PPK_003

For her state championship, Mia was shown on the Jumbo-Tron video screen and awarded a football for a trophy during the third quarter of the Cardinals’ game.BLOG - Goodyear PPK_002

Mia also plays volleyball, basketball and softball, and also is a member of her school’s chorus.

Her mother said that she became interested in the program when it was held at her school in September.

“She just thought it would be fun to give it a try for the fun of it,” Diane Amundsen. “This was her second year of participating in the program. She’s a busy one.”

Competitors begin competing at the local level with high scores advancing to a sectional competition.  Goodyear’s local competition was offered by the Parks and Recreation Department and held at Goodyear Ballpark on Sept. 30.  The four top scores from the five sectionals in each age division for both boy’s and girl’s advance to the state competition held at the University of Phoenix Stadium prior to an Arizona Cardinals game.

All NFL teams host a state competition with the four highest scores in each age division advancing on to the National Competition usually held prior to an NFL playoff game (city yet to be determined).  During each competition participants begin with a new score of zero.


Youngtown Municipal Parks

Photo Courtesy Town of Youngtown

Photo Courtesy Town of Youngtown

Parks are a vital part of any city or town, serving as a focal point and hub for recreation, children’s activities and neighborhood gatherings. In Youngtown, parks are extremely important to the town’s quality of life, as it has prioritized open spaces since the town’s inception. While the municipality is only two square miles, it offers seven parks, in addition to Maricopa Lake.

Visitors to Youngtown can enjoy a trip to the Caliche Cactus Garden, an oasis of desert plant life. Families with young children can spend the day in Schliefer or Uribe Park. Those looking for a relaxing afternoon can head to Maricopa Lake for an fishing or enjoying a picnic under the ramada.

For more information on Youngtown’s parks, visit

Christopher Creek

christopher creek 2_prescott area_8.4.14

Image courtesy of

With an elevation over a mile-high(5640 ft), Christopher Creek Campground’s crisp, fresh air and vibrant views are a joy to behold. The facility is tucked along the banks of the spring-fed Christopher Creek, which passes just below the Mogollon Rim.

The Mogollon Rim, pronounced by locals as “muggy-own,” is a 200-mile long cliff in northern Arizona that ranges between 5,000 and 7,000 ft in elevation. The unique landscape was created by extreme erosion and faulting that has sculpted spectacular canyons and buttes. The rim serves as the geographical dividing line between the cool high country above and the hot, dry desert below. Christopher Creek is located in the desert portion, but is balanced by the cool waters of the creek and forested surroundings.

After a day of horseback riding or mountain biking, take a dip in one of the facility’s three swimming holes to cool off from the summer sun. Or if winter is more your thing, visit during the snowy months to take advantage of the miles of cross-country skiing available. Each spring, the creek is stocked with rainbow trout, allowing anglers the opportunity to cast their hearts out for rainbows as well as brook and brown trout.

The small town of Christopher Creek is just a short drive away and offers a few restaurant options for those who tire of cooking at the campground. A series of lakes called the Rim Country Lakes are about a 10 minute drive east. Woods Canyon Lake is one of the most popular recreational lakes in the state and offers options for boating as well as a nature trail that loops around the lake’s perimeter.

Information courtesy of; learn more here.

Gateway Park

Photo Courtesy of the City of El Mirage

Photo Courtesy of the City of El Mirage

El Mirage is the perfect place to enjoy a day full of sunshine at Gateway Park.

Located directly off El Mirage road, the 13-acre park has something for every member of the family. Multi-use fields serve as the hub for team sports, and a ½-mile path awaits runners, parents jogging with strollers and owners walking dogs on leashes.

Families can enjoy a picnic lunch in one of the park’s ramadas and then spend the afternoon playing with their young children under the covered playground or in the area’s splash park. Older children can bring their skateboards to spend time in the 15,000 square foot plaza-style park, full of obstacles for skating enthusiasts to enjoy. Dog owners can join the fun, too, as they bring Fido on a trip to the dog park.

Happy Park and Recreation Month!

Nothing beats spending a summer day biking on a trail, playing in a park, or swimming in a refreshing pool.

During the summer months, we can’t get away from the outdoors. That’s why, as designated by the U.S. House of Representatives, Park and Recreation Month is being celebrated nationwide in the month of July.

Some Arizona cities that aren’t formally celebrating Park and Recreation month in July will instead be celebrating at a later time when the temperature cools down.

This year the National Recreation and Park Association has encouraged communities to show and share the love parks and recreation with a 2014 theme of “OUT is IN,” making this the year that people go outside, change their outlook, and get involved in their community through parks and recreation.

We love what Queen Creek is doing for Park and Recreation Month and hope other cities and towns follow suit.

Queen Creek opened the community’s first dog park and first splash pad to celebrate the special summer month.  The town recently held a grand opening celebration for Queen Creek’s Pocket Park for Pups, located at 22526 S. Ellsworth Road. The ribbon cutting ceremony for the 4,100-square-foot Splash Pad will take place at Founders Park, 22555 S. Ellsworth Road, at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 5.

Queen Creek’s Mayor Gail Barney says these unique features will “help increase [Queen Creek’s] property values, expand the local tax base, increase tourism and the attraction and retention of businesses, greatly improve community healthy and reduce the amount of crime in Queen Creek.”

Is your city or town celebrating Park and Recreation Month in a momentous way? We want to hear about it! Be sure to leave a comment about what your city is doing, today!

For more details other activities Queen Creek is offering throughout the month of July, visit

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Town of Queen Creek Maintenance and Operations Supervisor keeps town parks and municipal grounds in top condition

queen creek profile sept 6

Maintenance and Operations Supervisor Steve Gonzales works to ensure the Town’s high use, high visibility areas are maintained.

By Donyelle Kesler, Digital Information Specialist

When residents begin heading out to their favorite biking and hiking trails and Little League teams hit the ball fields, Maintenance and Operations Supervisor Steve Gonzales is working to ensure all Queen Creek parks and municipal grounds are in top condition and ready for their use.

Gonzales is responsible for the Town’s high use, high visibility areas and also oversees department-wide purchasing, works with contractors and takes lead when needed on Town improvement projects.

“Our parks and municipal grounds are important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life and vitality in our community,” Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney said. “We are lucky to have Steve and his team in our Maintenance and Operation division. These professionals are committed to maintaining the Town land and helping to enhance the quality of life in Queen Creek.”

Despite having multiple individual responsibilities, Gonzales possesses a team mentality and believes that it’s through the hard work of entire Maintenance Division that things run smoothly.

“Nobody does anything without each other,” Gonzales said. “We have a very strong team that takes a lot of pride in what they do. For us, projects are never finished. When people say the parks or projects are looking good, our response is ‘We’re getting close.’”

Gonzales supervises four part-time and six full-time technicians. He makes it a priority that each member of his team has the opportunity to attend the most comprehensive trainings to perform to the best of their ability.

“Watching the team members grow professionally is really rewarding,” Gonzales said. “Seeing them come in green and being able to help them, making sure they get the best training they can so they can do their best, that’s what I enjoy most about what I do.”

And Gonzales’ workload won’t slow anytime soon as he begins focusing on upcoming projects such as the Town’s planned dog park and splash pad, both of which he’ll will be working to create a maintenance plan from scratch. He also recently took lead on a project to implement a Town-wide computerized irrigation system.

“Everyone goes to Steve for everything,” Municipal Grounds Unit Superintendent Rich Purcell said. “He’s really the go-to guy in our division and is always the first one here and the last one to leave.”

Gonzales has worked with the Town for more than eight years and has an extensive resume with certifications in pest management, playground safety inspection and turf grass. He is also a certified arborist, and has received certifications from the International Society of Arboriculture, Professional Landscape Network and the University of Georgia, National Recreation and Parks Association and Arizona Department of Agriculture Office of Pest Management. The days he can use those certifications outside of the office are the ones he says he looks most forward to.
“Those are the days I really enjoy,” Gonzales said. “I’d much rather be out in the field doing work than sitting in the office.”

National Magazine Ranks Glendale As “Top Dog” in Southwest for Canine-Friendly Communities


Dog Fancy Cover

Dog Fancy Cover


Dog Fancy Article

Dog Fancy Article

Dog Fancy Magazine named the city of Glendale regional runner-up in the Southwest in its 2013 DogTown USA ranking. With a dog population of 43,000, the city prides itself on offering dog-friendly businesses, attractions and amenities.

The article highlights Glendale’s four-legged community features such as two special dog parks that offer agility equipment;  an annual Dog Days of Summer event, sponsored by the Glendale Convention & Visitors Bureau and downtown merchants; dining experiences for pet owners at various restaurants with patio seating and city dogs who work for various programs in the community. For example, the Glendale Library has a reading dog program, called Read with Jessie, the loveable Golden Retriever, at Foothills Library in which children can practice reading to a dog, helping them become more comfortable reading. The next sessions are Sept. 11 and Sept. 25 for children 5 years and older. To reserve a spot, call 623.930.3837.

The Glendale Fire Department has two working dogs; Gizzi accompanies Fire’s public education manager to schools to teach children fire safety measures, and Topaz serves as a crisis response dog, helping those impacted by traumatic situations. In addition, Glendale Fire carries special FIDO pet rescue bags, supported by community donations. The FIDO bag, created by a Glendale firefighter, are medical bags containing customized oxygen masks and other medical supplies specifically made to care for animals in emergency situations. The bags were placed on Glendale fire trucks in 2007 after the Sun Valley Animal Shelter made a generous donation of $4,000 to fund the FIDO bag program.  Glendale firefighters, having saved numerous animals using the FIDO bag equipment, believe the bags are a necessity since 70% of households have pets.

Projects and activities for local dogs are not the only reason that Glendale was selected by the magazine, as part of the process included evaluating whether Glendale serves as an optimal pet destination.

Approximately 58 percent of pet owners now travel with their pets, and dogs lead the pack as the most popular pet travel companion, according to

“This information reflects an emerging travel trend, showing the importance of outreaching to visitors who travel with their favorite canine companion. For example, 78 percent of pet owners choose a hotel due to its pet-friendly policies and the Glendale CVB offers a list of pet-friendly hotels in the area,” said Lorraine Pino, Glendale CVB manager.