Each month, City Parks Alliance recognizes a “Frontline Park” to promote and highlight inspiring examples of urban park excellence, innovation, and stewardship across the country. The program also seeks to highlight examples of the challenges facing our cities’ parks as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures, and urban neighborhood decay.
Covering more than 520 miles of the Salt River Valley in central Arizona, Phoenix is the most populous state capital in the United States and the sixth most populous city overall, and it continues to grow. Projections show the regional population is expected to grow nearly 60% by 2030, bringing the total to more than 6 million people. While the city manages nearly 5,000 acres of developed land in more than 190 parks, the relative lack of density creates a high demand for more walkable neighborhood parks.
On the city’s westernmost edge, the neighborhood that is now home to Dust Devil Park had no playground or park within a five mile radius. To address this glaring need in the community, a partnership between the Pendergast School District, Phoenix Parks and Recreation, and other groups and agencies came together to develop a park that would become a destination for local families and provide a place for a new community center. Using funds provided through the Phoenix Parks and Preserves Initiative, the planning process began in 2009, and the park celebrated its grand opening on November 3rd, 2012.
Instead of an empty field, the neighborhood now boasts a 15-acre grassy, sustainable oasis with large solar paneled picnic ramadas (designed to look like flying saucers), a gray water rivulet for irrigating vegetation, 300 trees and a splash pad to keep park-goers cool during summer days that regularly top 100 degrees, a basketball court, walking paths and exercise equipment, a playground, and even boulders for climbers. Thanks to a $50,000 contribution from the Rob Dyrdek Foundation, the park also features a Safe Spot Skate Spot plaza with 9,000 square feet of skateable terrain suitable for skaters of all abilities and skill levels.
For more information on Dust Devil Park, please visit: