The fastest-growing part of the nation’s fastest-growing county is getting some love from Maricopa County. The county’s proposed fiscal year 2020 budget includes a number of wins for the West Valley, including big investments in our regional parks. Here are the highlights:
Outside of a new nature center in 2008 and a much-needed replacement of the playground in 2015, not much changed at Estrella Mountain Regional Park in the past decade. But in 2018, the Board of Supervisors was able to fund several new projects to revitalize the park. In FY 2020, this important work continues with $60,000 set aside for shaded sites for our park hosts, the volunteers who work full-time making our parks better in exchange for use of a campsite. Other recent projects include new landscaping and walking paths; additional trees and turf; a better water system; ramada replacements; and parking lot improvements. If you haven’t been to Estrella Mountain in a while, there’s no better time.
Lake Pleasant Regional Park
There’s exciting work happening at the county’s busiest park. Last year, we funded a public safety dock at the lake. This year, you will see a new, nature-themed playground. Attractions will include slides in the form of eagles and gila monsters, a cottonwood tree climber and swing, and even a spider web climber. The FY 2020 budget includes a few additional projects: $440,000 for fencing to protect visitors and $115,000 for ramada renovations. All of this will make Lake Pleasant an even more pleasant place to be.
White Tank Mountain
The FY 2020 budget includes approximately $500,000 in improvements to the county’s largest regional park. This fall, the Willow Day-Use Area will be converted into a semi-developed campground. Changes will include: 20 new campsites with picnic tables, campfire rings, and parking for two vehicles; a new shower house in the current restroom building; and a trailer turn-around area. If you’re looking to spend a night in the great outdoors, you don’t have to leave Maricopa County. We have you covered at White Tank.
Budgets are a reflection of priorities, and preserving and enhancing open space is one of mine. We’ll have the final vote on the FY 2020 budget next month. If approved, our Maricopa County parks will receive a significant injection of funds. I, for one, believe it is money well spent. I hope you agree.
Clint Hickman serves on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for District 4.