Get out your calendars and set your playdates … for 2021.
It has been talked about for years, the subject of community meetings and workshops, conceptualized and made part of Goodyear’s master plan in 2018. And now, the making of a massive public park has begun.
Groundbreaking on the Goodyear Recreation Campus took place Oct. 1.
This was mostly a “smile and scoop” photo opportunity, as the most intensive construction on this massive project will not begin until next year.
What should be one of the most exciting public parks in the West Valley is not scheduled to be open for play until the summer of 2021.
“It is like no other because it was planned and designed by the community,” said Nathan Torres, director of Goodyear Parks and Recreation.
“It will be like no other because it will serve as the ultimate gathering place for our residents. It will be like no other because every aspect of this project provides recreational opportunities for all ages, all abilities and all interests.”
Budgeted at $67 million, this 30-acre park near Desert Edge High School at Estrella Parkway and Goodyear Boulevard North will have:
• Two lighted baseball/softball fields.
• Two lighted multipurpose fields.
• Lighted tennis, basketball, volleyball, pickleball and sand volleyball courts.
• A group ramada and picnic areas.
• Walking paths.
• A playground.
• A plaza.
And it will feature a two-floor, 48,000 square-foot recreation facility complete with a multipurpose gym, three multipurpose rooms, a fitness area, special activity rooms and an indoor elevated walking, jogging track.
The centerpiece is an aquatic facility, with water slides, a lazy river and a splash play area and a competition/lap pool.
Councilmember Bill Stipp called the park won’t be accused of hyperbole when he called the park “an undertaking of epic proportions. It is certainly going to serve us for decades, and generation after generation will enjoy this campus. We know that this campus is going to exceed all of our expectations.”
Torres said the project “is on time and on budget.”
Goodyear has already spent $2.6 million on master planning, design and preconstruction services.
The city’s booming development over the last year is behind the park, as the $67 million project “is funded by impact fees, general obligation bonds and general funds,” Torres said.
Hunter Contracting Company, which built Camino a Lago Park in Peoria and Gilbert’s Zanjero Park, is at work on this West Valley project.
Torres stressed that the Goodyear Recreation Campus “is unique as it was designed based on the needs and input from the community. It will provide recreational opportunities for all ages, abilities and interests and be a year-round destination with indoor and outdoor activities, an aquatic center and plenty of shade.”
Mike Padilla, Goodyear Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission chair, is seeing years of community input coming to life.
“We are so proud of it,” said Padilla. “Proud of the design and proud of its capacity to bring together citizens right here in the heart of our city.”
Pride aside, is it worth the time, the effort, the millions spent?
“Parks matter,” said Torres. “They matter to families who will create lifelong memories picnicking, barbecuing and celebrating.
“They matter to those that are looking for an escape from the daily stresses of life, sitting under a bench under a tree, or taking a stroll down one of the many paths.”