Finally, part of Gilbert’s biggest park to open - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Finally, part of Gilbert’s biggest park to open

September 23rd, 2019 development
Finally, part of Gilbert’s biggest park to open

By Cecilia Chan
Staff Writer

The initial phase of Gilbert’s largest and newest park – which includes the longest slide in Arizona –opens today, Sept. 21, promising to ultimately become one of the East Valley’s biggest family destinations.

The first 30 acres of the 272-acre regional park will a 17-foot-tall iconic playground equipped with three levels of climbing features, a zip-line and a 4,000-square-foot splash pad with 57 interactive water features.

Other amenities in Phase 1A include a 200-space parking lot, ramadas and restrooms.

The park has been years in the making with the town entering into an agreement in 2015 with Maricopa County Flood Control District to use the Chandler Heights Basin Area for the south Gilbert park.

It’s projected when Gilbert reaches build-out in 2030, approximately 421,468 residents will be within the15-minute drive time service area of the regional park.

After the grand opening, Gilbert is expected to begin work on Phase 1B.

Scheduled for completion in late summer next year, that phase will include a 7-acre lake, a 10-acre event lawn, amphitheater, 16 pickleball courts, six tennis courts, two basketball courts and six sand-volleyball courts.

The construction cost for Phase 1A is $14.4 million but with design and other project-related costs, the total is $18.3 million, according to town spokeswoman Jennifer Harrison.   

Cost figures for Phase 1B will not be available until its budget goes to Council on Sept. 19, Harrison said.

The first phase is funded with system development fees, which are collected at the time a building permit is issued for residential, commercial and other non-residential development.

Although the estimated total budget for the park has been reported at $100 million, the figure can change.

“The full park has not been designed yet so we do not have a current estimate for the total cost of the park,” Harrison said.

Town officials broke ground for the park near Queen Creek and Higley roads in May 2018.

The regional park is being built in three phases, though a timeline has not been established for them.

The second phase on 75 acres could include a disc golf course, skate park, bike park, mountain bike skills park, ropes course, dog park and basketball courts, according to recommendations made in a town master plan for the park. Funding could come from sale of townland and possible park bonds.

Phase 3 on 150 acres includes more playing fields, close to 2,000 parking spots, trails, armadas and multi-use paths. Funding for phase 3 has not yet been identified.

Adjacent to the mega-park is a $60 million state-of-the-art recreational water complex under construction.

The Strand @Gilbert, which is expected to open next summer, sits on 25 of 47 acres the town owns in the area and has set aside for private-public recreation developments. Most recently the developer of the water park also expressed interest in a hotel project on 10 acres there.

Park grand opening events

Gilbert Regional Park, Phase 1A opens, 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, 3005 E. Queen Creek Road.

Town Council members will give opening address at 8:30 a.m.

• Beach Party: 8-10 a.m.

• Beach giveaways from The Strand @ Gilbert (while supplies last)

• Event swag from Gilbert Parks and Recreation Foundation

• Bubble fun with Bubble Mania

• Otter Pops with the Gilbert Police Department

• Food vendors

• Laser and Glow Party: 6- 9 p.m.

• DJ and Glow Party

• Beach giveaways from The Strand @ Gilbert (while supplies last)

• Bubble Mania’s bubble glow wall

• Lighted foam sticks from Gilbert Fire and Rescue

• Food vendors

• Laser light show finale