Friends of Hance Dog Park members Lisa Krueger and Kate Kunberger wrote the following article about the newest downtown hot spot for dogs and their human companions to have fun together.
Downtown dog owners are counting down the seconds until the opening of Hance Dog Park on Saturday, October 5 at 8 a.m. Hance Dog Park is an off-leash dog park located between 3rd and 5th Avenues, just north of I-10 and south of Culver Street in the historic Roosevelt neighborhood of downtown Phoenix.
Area residents have been actively involved in planning this dog park for over three years. Beginning with the call for a downtown dog park that led to the creation of the 70 person “committee,” to the Hance Park Steering Committee sessions over the location, to multiple city council meetings with active public involvement and comment, to the negotiations with the neighboring community about the logistics and aesthetics of the park – downtown residents have been involved every step of the way.
Throughout the planning process, a consistent theme emerged: people not only want a secure place where their dogs can exercise off-leash, they want to make the dog park an integral part of their community. This strong sense of stewardship and community led to the formation of Friends of Hance Dog Park, a group of downtown dog lovers committed to making Hance Dog Park “our” park by working in partnership with the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department to ensure that it is a clean, safe, and enjoyable park for local dogs and their owners.
But the process was not without complications. The location of the dog park sparked community debate, tapping into existing concerns about urban design, visitor parking, and outstanding issues with existing downtown parks. When the City Council identified Hance Park as the location, another round of meetings took place that addressed issues of activation of the public areas of Hance Park, incorporating the dog park into the redesign, and minimizing impact to the adjacent neighbors. Each proposed location had its advantages and disadvantages, supporters and detractors.
Once the location of the dog park was selected, the City engaged in several rounds of small-committee meetings to assess the specific concerns of the neighboring residents and the dog-park users. These concerns influenced numerous aspects of the design process. For example, to address the noise and aesthetic concerns of the residents closest to the dog park, a gabion wall was designed by the City and plexiglass panels were incorporated to ensure visibility. When the City proposed building a single park, dog owners voiced the need for separated small/large dog areas and worked to get the second park reinstated. Through this process, Friends of Hance Dog Park emerged as the voice of the community in working the City Parks and Recreation Department.
Indeed, Friends worked with the City to supplement the City’s budget in order to upgrade or add amenities to the park, such as upsizing the shade trees and adding additional seating. Even though the park has not yet opened, Friends of Hance Park has raised and donated over $10,000 – and put it on the ground. Friends consulted with the park’s designers regarding the location of the amenities and other user concerns. And, Friends is partnering with the Parks Department to organize and present the grand opening celebration. Friends President, Bob Diehl, notes that “Friends of Hance Dog Park is the first ‘friends’ group in support of a Phoenix dog park, so we are breaking new ground in creating the communication channels and exploring the various ways the community and the City can work together in support of a dog park.”
Friends will also promote a culture of cleanliness by encouraging good citizenship (pick up after your pets and encourage others to do the same!), as well as monthly clean-ups of the dog park and adjacent common area. The Friends website includes “etiquette” guidelines that supplement the City’s rules and encourage good clean play (for dogs and users). Friends of Hance Dog Park has “adopted” the dog park from the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department. The volunteer clean-up crew will meet on the first Saturday of every month at 8 AM to pick up any pet waste and other debris in the dog parks and the common areas. Other activities are in the works as well. Friends is encouraging the community to join them to help achieve their mission of keeping Hance Dog Park a safe, clean and enjoyable dog park for dogs and their owners.
Membership in Friends of Hance Dog Park is open to the public for $10 per person; $20 for family membership; $100 for associate (corporate) memberships. Join Friends and help to keep Hance Dog Park a clean, safe, and enjoyable place for dogs and their owners.
If You Go
What: Grand Opening of Hance Dog Park
When: October 5, 2013, 8 am – 10 am
Where: On Culver Street between 3rd Ave. and 5th Ave.
I’m an idea man. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that every week I have a new business idea or way to change the world. I like to dream. Always have.
Born and raised in “the Valley of the Sun,” I moved around quite a bit as an adult, and lived in New York City for about six years before moving back home to Phoenix to take care of my father as he battled cancer. After he passed, I decided to stay in town and definitely experienced some culture shock after being away for almost 10 years. Eventually, I adjusted and began to enjoy the beauty that the Sonoran Desert has to offer.
Of course there were things that I missed about New York. My best friend and I spent a lot of time in Central Park developing our own special relationship with the verdant oasis amidst the high-rises. I was missing that experience in Phoenix, so I decided to collect some friends to play in Hance Park. We’d bring a Frisbee, a picnic, and music, have handstand contests and play board games under the sun. The park appeared to be extremely underused. “Why is no one here? It’s such a beautiful day outside,” I would say to my friends. That’s when I decided to launch “A Day in the Park.”
“A Day in the Park” is a once-a-month Hance Park play date, dedicated to building culture and community through the use of public space. It is a place for dreamers to connect; a time to get out and enjoy nature, the weather, your friends and family, play a game of Frisbee, and fly a kite; and a fun way to support and strengthen a feeling of community. “A Day in the Park” is a day to appreciate the important things in life. “A Day in the Park” at its heart, is an ideal.
Ultimately, I would love to see “A Day in the Park” transform organically into something huge; a daylong event, attracting a diverse crowd, offering live local music, art vendors, small local businesses, food trucks galore, and activities that would bring folks together. It’d be great to see non-profit organizations attend, getting their message out, and collaborating with one another. Use the park to develop and sustain healthy communities.
What can I say? I’m a dreamer. Invite your friends and join the fun.
If You Go:
What: A Day in the Park (DITP)
When: April 13th on Second Saturdays
Where: Margaret T. Hance Park, West side of Park – 67 W. Culver St. (between Central & 3rd Ave.)
Additional Info: Bring food, Frisbees, board games, guitars, kites…whatever you want to make your day, the best “Day in the Park.” Invite/bring your family and friends, the more the merrier! Please no glass bottles. For more visit www.facebook.com/groups/DayInTheParkPhx.
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Mayor Greg Stanton will present the first-ever “Mayor’s Arts Awards” at the Phoenix Festival of the Arts this weekend.
Stanton launched the awards to highlight the cultural richness of Phoenix and recognize excellence from the visual and performing arts in the community. A panel of distinguished members from the arts and culture areas selected awardees in five categories based upon excellence and community impact.
Stanton will present the awards Saturday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. on the main stage at the Phoenix Festival of the Arts at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1202 N. 3rd St. in Phoenix.
“Arts and culture are vital to the social and economic well being of our city,” Stanton said. “They improve our quality of life, uplift our spirits and help attract and keep talented employees and innovative businesses in Phoenix. The Phoenix Festival of the Arts is an important opportunity for all of us to celebrate the breadth and depth of the arts and culture community in Phoenix.”
The winners of each category include:
Dance Organization Award
Scorpius Dance Theatre
Formed in 1999 by choreographer, Lisa Starry, Scorpius Dance Theatre is observing its 11th season in operation. The contemporary dance company has been a constant presence in the metropolitan Phoenix arts community since its inception, combining the motifs of humor, drama and both organic and technical movement to form a very distinct brand of dance theater.
Music Organization Award
Downtown Chamber Series
The Downtown Chamber Series brings chamber music to distinctive art spaces in downtown Phoenix, showcasing professional musicians and the works of local artists.
Public Art Award
Born in La Paz, Bolivia, Medina immigrated to New York as a child, where his interest in art was fostered by his architect father. While completing his undergraduate work in New York, Medina volunteered to teach classes at a summer program at the Kumayya Indian reservation in San Diego, Calif. His experience at the reservation is what led him to become an art teacher. Hugo’s desire to give back to the community and his love of children led him to a teaching career. Medina’s great appreciation and admiration of the southwest brought him to Phoenix, where he has been the mastermind behind some of the city’s best murals.
Rising Youth Theatre
Rising Youth Theatre is Phoenix theater company founded by ASU grads Xanthia Walker and Sarah Sullivan to create youth driven theatre that is riveting and relevant, challenging audiences to hear new stories, start conversations and participate in their communities. Recently, the diverse company of students has created plays based on immigrant youth.
Visual Artist Award
Grigsby, 94, came to Phoenix following World War II to teach art at Carver High School. He joined the faculty at Arizona State University in 1966 and served as a Trustee of Phoenix Art Museum. His public collections are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Printmaking Workshop in New York City, the Library of Congress, the Cape Coast Museum in West Africa and Philadelphia’s Brandywine Workshop, as well as art centers and galleries in leading universities and public venues across the nation.
This weekend’s Phoenix Festival of the Arts runs from Dec. 7 to 9 at Hance Park and is the city’s first signature arts festival. The free event features three days of live entertainment, arts vendors, a hands-on community mural, food trucks, Kidz Korner and more. Celebrate artists and arts organizations from across Phoenix’s cultural landscape. Hosted by Phoenix Center for the Arts and sponsored by Lou and Evelyn Grubb, this free festival will become an annual tradition.
Image of Eugene Grigsby by Dee Dee Woods
Hance Park, the large green belt developed as a result of the I-10 Freeway construction, is getting the attention it deserves.
Cathleen Russo, with the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, is sending out a steady stream of communications to those interested in the evolution of the park, encouraging participation in the Hance Park Master Plan Steering Committee meetings.
The next meeting is this afternoon at Burton Barr Library at 3:00 p.m. There will be an Open House Concept event, in which ASU design students will display some preliminary designs for the park (example right). The design concepts will be on display from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Thirteen 6-year landscape architect students are participating and will be available to answer questions.
The invitation from Russo:
Greetings Committee Members, neighbors and Friends of Hance Park,
This is a special reminder to you all. Prior to our Friday Hance Park Master Plan Steering Committee meeting held at Burton Barr Library, there will be an Open House Concept Event. ASU design students will display some preliminary design ideas for the public to view. This will allow you the opportunity to look at some of the concepts and have a dialog with the students and give feedback on the design ideas. I encourage you to share this invitation with your organizations and friends, as we welcome everyone’s involvement. The Open House Concept begins at 1:30, TODAY, October 7, 2011 at the Burton Barr Library auditorium located at 1221 North Central Ave. The regular meeting will follow at 3:00 p.m. which you are welcome to attend.
If you go
What: Margaret T. Hance Park Master Plan Steering Committee meeting
When: Friday, October 7 at 3:00 p.m., with the Open House Concept Event at 1:30 p.m.
Who: ASU design students, and instructor Gabriel Diaz-Montemayor, an Architect, Landscape Architect, and Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, College of Design, Arizona State University.
The Arizona Republic published a telling story on Encanto Park this past weekend, detailing the decay and neglect the 75-year-old park has gone through in recent years due to budget cuts, prolonged drought patterns and misuse. The reality is sad, but hardly shocking: sewage issues, increasing repairs, facility decline and some hefty storms in recent years have left the park a shadow of its former self. The article nearly decries Forbes‘ recent claim that Encanto is one of America’s top dozen or so “urban parks,” and a visit will all but confirm it. Unfortunately, upkeep has dwindled and problems have piled up. The city’s decreased budget simply doesn’t have room to fix most of the problems. None of this, by the way, has affected the crowds — it is still one of the city’s busiest weekend spots.
I’m not hating on Encanto. In fact, I prefer it to any other Central Phoenix park. I play basketball there weekly. I regularly bike through its (admittedly dwindling) shady pathways. I love the neighborhood. But, there is no denying the park and others near our Downtown are in tough times.
What parks do you frequent? Hance, Steele Indian, University, Verde, Civic Space, Central, Grant, Coronado, Monterey? All of these parks need help in some way or another. If you’d like, pitch in your suggestions for fixes, or simply let us know which park is your favorite. We all need a place to enjoy the outdoors. Let’s make sure to cherish our parks, and keep their fragile states in mind the next time we visit.