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Detailed Plans Unveiled For Margaret T. Hance Park In Downtown Phoenix

Phoenicians got their first look at the $100 million project to revitalize Margaret T. Hance Park. New design concepts were unveiled Monday during an open house at the Irish Cultural Center.

The 32-acre park is built over the Interstate 10 tunnel between 3rd Street and 5th Avenue. The east side is sometimes used for festivals and the west side if often used by families, runners and walkers. But, the middle section, right off Central Avenue, needs attention first, said lead designer Mary Margaret Jones — especially the entrances.

“Right now there’s a lot of stairs and ramps and walls and they’re not welcoming, they’re a little bit off putting and they sort of sponsor bad behavior, if you will,” she said. “So opening those up and making the park accessible to all.”

Ottozawa Chatupron walks his dog at Hance Park every day. While looking at renderings full of green trees he said, “We live in a desert. I’d like to see more desert design.”

Jones said the plan calls for doubling the number of trees because shade is needed, “We’re working with ADOT (Arizona Department of Transportation) and their engineers to space those trees appropriately and pick the right trees so that it all works with the structural conditions.”

John Gordon who lives near the park would like to see something like the Desert Botanical Garden near Burton Barr Central Library which is part of Hance Park’s acreage.

The project will be completed in phases with these primary zones:

  • Zone 1: The Valley (west of Central Avenue): Closer to neighborhoods this area is meant to tranquil and family-oriented.
  • Zone 2: The Canyon (around Central Avenue): Meant to be the "beating heart" of Hance Park with a splash pad, multiple gardens, cuisine center and pedestrian and bike lanes.
  • Zone 3: The Platueau (east of Central Avenue): Amphitheater and performance space for large and small events.

Jones’ said her landscape architecture firm, Hargreaves Associates, has worked on parks in other cities and Hance Park has some of the best potential she’s seen.
“In terms of the fact that the context around it is changing already. It doesn’t just have to be the catalyst for change, it needs to catch up with the change that’s happening around it,” she said. “So the energy is there, the people are there and they need a park like this.”

Most of the money is expected to come from private donations and a fundraising campaign is underway led by the Hance Park Partner Coalition which is made up of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, Phoenix Community Alliance and Hance Park Conservancy.

News Business
As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.