Four lakes glint a bright blue from the future Santan Freeway in Gilbert as if mirages — but they’re not.
They are part of Gilbert’s Cosmo and Discovery parks, nearing completion and expected to open by summer.
“These were all alfalfa fields,” said assistant town manager Tami Ryall this week as she looked over final work on the parks, which still need grass.
What would have been bare dirt water-retention basins for the freeway are instead being transformed into parks with picnic ramadas, multiuse sports fields and canine play structures, including a large black rock and climbing walls.
The 11-acre Cosmo Park, named after the town’s first police K-9, has two connected lakes with a fenced-off section for dogs to swim and use dogtraining equipment including steps and a window for dogs to leap through.
The park, at Greenfield Road and the future Santan Freeway, will include a fire hydrant fountain and feature doggy paw prints throughout from large cement paws that lead to a bridge with rushing water underneath, to red, green, yellow and blue glass paws on park lights that will reflect colorful shadows.
A statue will honor Cosmo, and an amphitheater can be used for events such as Barktoberfest for pooches.
Police officer Greg Thomas, who was the late Cosmo’s trainer and partner, said he’s honored to watch the dog park come to life.
“It is definitely the premier park I’ve seen in the East Valley if not all metropolitan Phoenix,” he said.
Discovery Park, named in honor of mammoth tusks unearthed across the way at Val Vista Drive and Pecos Road where Main Street Commons mall is under construction, is much larger at 48 acres.
The facility will have two large lakes connected by a waterfall meant to muffle traffic noise and will feature a large number of ramadas for picnics.
Five fields can be used for baseball, football, soccer or other events, and several children’s playground toys mimic the Jurassic theme, with one boulder that will honor the mammoth, as well as basketball and volleyball courts.