Caption lakeblue: Phoenix Parks & Recreation Board Chair, Delia Ortega-Nowakowski
The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board enjoyed another productive year in 2012. Our parks and preserves help to define our city and the Board worked hard to fulfill our mission to provide direction and serve as a forum for public input on the issues and policies that guide how we manage them.
Volunteers continue to show up in huge numbers to make their parks and preserves a safer and more beautiful place to visit. Nearly 6,300 volunteers contributed 60,000 hours of work in the My Phoenix My Park program to make city parks, preserves and recreation facilities in 2012.
Several large Board-led citizen committees tackled tough problems. A large ad hoc committee addressed the availability of off-leash activity areas for dogs in the downtown area while the Hance Park Master Plan committee made substantial progress in creating a long-term vision for that important park. In the short term, these processes helped us identify a site at Hance Park to become the first dog park in the downtown area.
A Parks Board member helped to lead an Ad Hoc Citizens Committee to chart the future of the city’s golf courses. The committee crafted a long list of recommendations for the city’s courses that the Board voted late in the year to accept and forward to the City Council for formal review.
Hikers, nearby homeowners, partners in neighboring towns and staff finalized a concrete plan to improve and expand the Echo Canyon Recreation Area at Camelback Mountain and work is set to begin early in the New Year.
We had other successes. This year also was the first time since 2008 that all 28 city pools were open, providing a crucial avenue for more families to get active and cool off during our long brutal summers. We opened an important park in west Phoenix, Dust Devil Park, which provides a jewel to a community that already has come to treasure the site.
We love our parks, preserves and recreation programs and we are blessed with skilled staff that cares deeply about their mission. I look forward to another productive year in 2013.