November 29, 2004
After months of delay because of disagreements about amenities, a massive park that will serve four communities in two counties is before the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for final approval today.
An additional round of meetings with the communities involved delayed the San Tan Mountains Regional Park master plan’s final approval by about six months, said Maricopa County’s chief community services officer Bill Scalzo.
The 10,198-acre park, which is managed by Maricopa County, is in Pinal County, south of Hunt Highway, near Queen Creek. In 2002, Pinal and Maricopa counties, along with Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert and Queen Creek, began working on a new master plan for the park. It was scheduled for final approval in summer 2004.
The additional meetings late this year focused on changes to a part of the park known as the south finger.
The 1,200-acre area in the southeast portion of the park has been the source of disagreements. Conservationists wanted it to be a conservation area, mountain bikers liked an initial draft of the final plan that showed an 8-mile competitive bike track in the finger, and the Boy Scouts of America wanted to build a youth camp there. The county also considered selling the finger to the Gila River Indian Community for $8 million.
A final draft of the master plan, unveiled at a public meeting in early October, showed the finger as a conservation area. Scalzo said almost everyone involved now agrees with the plan.
Queen Creek public works coordinator Joe La Fortune said the town was satisfied with the final plan, "as long as the north finger can still be utilized." The north finger portion will have multiuse trails, according to the plan.
La Fortune said the town’s main concern now was small in comparison with other disputes that delayed the plan. Town officials want to make sure that an area at Thompson and Phillips roads was marked as a preserve through the Arizona Preserve Initiative.
Gilbert is still concerned about the south finger and the plan in general, said intergovernmental relations coordinator Brian Townsend, who added that town officials want a more concrete plan for the south finger with more amenities.
Park plan meeting
What: The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will consider approving the San Tan Mountains Regional Park master plan
When: 9 a.m. today
Where: 301 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix, 10th Floor
Information: (602) 506-3415 or www.maricopa.gov