On his daily trips to Fountain Park in Fountain Hills, Jules Schwager and his wife bring bread crumbs to feed the ducks. But in the past few years he has noticed his path in the park has become increasingly beaten.
“You can see right now in some places the grass is very good and in others it’s very bad,” Schwager, a 13-year resident said. “The park could certainly use some improvements.”
The $2.2 million recently approved by the Town Council for upgrades to the town’s two parks, Fountain Park and Desert Vista Neighborhood Park, will make Schwager’s walk a little greener.
Among the improvements at Desert Vista will be more parking, sidewalks and a lighted off-leash area in the dog park with a fence separating large and small dogs.
Fountain Park will get more shade structures and sidewalks. But the biggest fix will be to the grass, which has suffered in recent years because of a deteriorating sprinkler system.
“Our problem right now is the sprinklers are just a disaster,” said Councilman Mike Archambault. “The sprinklers are 33 years old. You almost have to go around physically and turn them on.”
More than $750,000 will go toward an irrigation system in 33 acres of the park.
Because of additional income from one-time construction revenue in town, the council was able to spend more than 20 percent on capital projects for the 2006-07 fiscal year.
Parks are important to invest in because they play an important role in Fountain Hills, Archambault said.
“The parks are a very integral part of this town and the quality of life that people enjoy,” he said. “The most important thing that any town can provide is the parks, police protection and fire protection.”
Construction on some of projects could begin as soon as August.
Schwager is looking forward to their completion.
“It’s one of the few places where you can go and walk because a large portion of the town doesn’t have sidewalks,” he said. “We really enjoy going there.”
Fountain Hills parks improvements
The Town Council approved $2.2 million to upgrade Desert Vista Neighborhood Park and Fountain Park, including:
• Completion of first phase of skate park at Desert Vista Neighborhood Park: $210,000.
• Desert Vista improvements including perimeter sidewalks, enhanced parking and upgraded off-leash facility: $1,039,932.
• Fountain Park improvements including shade structure and aggregate walking path: $372,400.
• Installation of new irrigation system for 33 acres of Fountain Park: $760,568.