At Saturday’s “State of the City” meeting, the city of Litchfield Park focused on new developments, including a new downtown city center and museum.
A design for the city center was unveiled at the Feb. 1 meeting, held at the Church at Litchfield Park.
Mayor Thomas Schoaf discussed plans to develop a central hub in Litchfield Park’s downtown area for the city center property, north of Wigwam Boulevard between North Litchfield and North Old Litchfield roads. The parcels of land were purchased between 2014 and 2017.
The project is expected to be completed within five years, according to Woody Scoutton, an engineer with Litchfield Park.
The idea of a city center has been discussed since 1996, according to Schoaf. Working with planners from Destination LP, the city created a work community-driven design, presented at the state of the city meeting.
“When we thought about what we wanted in the heart of the center, we wanted to keep with who we are, and that’s the park,” Schoaf said, referring to the spacious green community area in the middle of the design.
Nasreene Gant, a sophomore at Agua Fria High School and member of the Litchfield Park Youth Council, was excited after hearing about this. “Youth Council is actually already working on a gardening proposal we wanted to put in the middle of the city – the city center – so everybody could come together,” she said
Scoutton noted all development within the city center is subject to the approval of the Litchfield Park Planning and Zoning Commission with final approval from the city council.
But the City Center isn’t the only new development coming soon to Litchfield Park. The Sun Health Foundation is planning a residential and community center called LakeSide at La Loma on the northwest corner of Litchfield and Camelback roads. Commercial development is expected to be completed on the southeast corner of Dysart and Camelback roads, which will include a new Hines Self Storage, an AutoZone and the Dignity Health Emergency Room/Urgent Care.
More prominent to the community’s culture is the remodeling and extension project of the now-vacant and publicly owned home of Paul Litchfield. Here, volunteers hope to launch the P. W. Litchfield Heritage Center, a museum dedicated to the namesake of Litchfield Park and the growth of the town.
“I’m just proud of our leadership. They’re smart, they have a sense of history, they’re passionate and I trust them with our culture,” said Judson Lauers, an 85-year-old long-time resident and namesake of the hall where the meeting was held.
Litchfield Park had a busy 2019, with developments including $500,000 in road improvements and city park enhancements like a restroom in the Village Park.
Last year also marked the dedication of the Jackie Robinson Little League Ball Field to the Litchfield Park community by the Arizona Diamondbacks and APS. The field hosts Litchfield Park’s Little League team, one of the city’s many youth sports and activities programs.
Litchfield Park is certainly expanding, but Councilman Paul Faith reaffirmed the council’s priority is to keep the local community spirit alive.
“I live here, my grandkids live here, you all live here,” Faith told the audience. “We’re trying extremely hard to get what’s built to be something you want and maintain our small-town atmosphere.”