Tempe’s $32 Million Park Improvements Program Bringing New Life to City Parks

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City parks matter. They are the focal point of neighborhoods across Tempe, bringing people together and creating a sense of community. They help improve the health of residents by providing recreational and fitness activities. They also keep residents connected to nature and the outdoors with open spaces.

Two years ago, the Tempe City Council approved the Parks Capital Improvements Plan, which provided $32 million over  five years to reinvest in city parks. To date, more than 30 park projects have been completed and several more are underway in various stages of planning, public input, design or construction. Funding for these projects is prioritized based on:

1.       Public health and safety

2.       Existing assets

3.       Customer enhancements

4.       System expansion and new amenities.

To guide the decision-making on park projects that are not related to health and safety or maintaining existing amenities, city staff developed a unique points system that clearly identifies a park’s base amenities by park size. Each park is ranked by the number of points it gets – parks with fewer base amenities will take precedence over parks that are better equipped. This system creates equity among all parks in Tempe, ensuring that park amenities are consistent across the board. Base amenities include:

·         25 Trees per acre

·         Playgrounds:  central play structure, individual components, shade, inclusive play equipment, and ADA surfacing

·         Ramadas: covered picnic area

·         Furnishings: picnic tables, benches, drinking fountains, trash/recycling containers, and pet bag dispensers.

City staff is focused on equipping all parks with base amenities before adding new enhancements for a better experience. Park enhancements could include dog runs, new sports courts, exercise equipment, community gardens, skate parks and walking trails.

Many of Tempe’s park projects involve a public input process where community members can provide feedback on park designs, playground equipment, themes and more. The city strongly encourages participation in this process. All current and upcoming projects can be viewed here.

For more information visit www.tempe.gov/parks

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