Focus Group Meeting Summary – September 6, 2005
Thunderbird Conservation Park Master Plan Process
Attendance: Nine people, representing various interests: Diane Cunningham, Glendale Equestrian Club; Dale Woods, Larry Clark, Allan DeFranco, Save The Park group; Bob Revolinski, Water Resource Management, Inc.; Barbara Dobbs, Principal, Deer Valley High School; Carol Butler, Principal, Legend Springs Elementary School; Mike Wood, Glendale Bicycle Advisory Committee; Paul Monaghan, Arrowhead Ranch Amenities, Inc.
Program: Becky Benna’, Director of Parks and Recreation, welcomed the group and spoke about the overall process and need for developing a master plan for Thunderbird Conservation Park. Shirley Medler, Deputy Director, described the efforts to date. Jackie Keller, of Logan Simpson Design, and her team presented the draft preliminary master plan. She emphasized how public input and technical factors influenced the preliminary draft of the plan.
Discussion: Dr. Marty Rozelle facilitated an informal discussion with the group. The discussion focused on aspects of the draft master plan that people appreciated, and those specific features that some participants felt should be modified or deleted. The team also answered questions. Notes were taken on a flip chart for all to see.
Participants appreciated many features about the preliminary plan including;
- Education – the school representatives mentioned the importance of this type of activity to help meet state standards for science education.
- Plans for revegetation area along sedimentation basin – stabilization of the area and opportunities for wildlife enhancement are important.
- Separation of Uses – the park area is large and the ability to have separate activities going on at the same time without interference is appreciated.
- Trail connectivity – outside of the park is an important improvement to the bicycling community.
- Safe crossings – along 59th Avenue were well supported.
- Larger observation areas – than currently exist. People love to come to the park and have a safe place to quietly enjoy the views.
- Pleased that new or refurbished restrooms will be built – suggest making them higher tech than currently exist.
- Revegetation is good – bring back the natural plants and get rid of the ‘exotics’ (weeds).
- In general, everyone supported the plans for the group picnicking areas, but some questioned the number of spaces. Jackie explained that the proposed number of spaces for picnickers is less than currently exist.
- Everyone agreed that interpretive areas are important and appreciated, with specific mention of the history of Hedgpeth Hills.
They made suggestions and asked questions, including;
- More facilities equal more users. Too many parking spaces are shown on the plan, and this will only encourage more users. Five hundred spaces are too many. “Once park amenities are built, we cannot return to the natural state. These future amenities will be expensive and we will lose more of the natural area.”
Jackie explained that the parking spaces would serve the current and projected needs. They would be attractively designed possibly using some type of material other than asphalt. The team would look at similar types of parks within the Valley for comparisons of parking required for the types of existing and proposed activities at the park.
- Accessibility – places for wheelchair users, etc. to access areas of the Park
- Need for a lower trail system for horses – current trails are relatively steep and not wide enough for horses, hikers, and bikers.
- The cars parking within equestrian areas can make trailer parking difficult.
Jackie clarified that trailer parking is designed to be a separate area from car parking and both will be signed and enforced.
- Outdoor learning area and a center – was generally supported, but the proposed 10,000 square foot building seems too large to some participants. A suggestion for a shade structure with canopy features to be incorporated with the building to provide the use area but with a smaller building. The outdoor learning area to seat 100 people/children needs more discussion.
- A natural barricade – is needed to keep people from entering the south side of the lake. This is considered a safety issue.
- Management of the sediment basin – and removal of sediment is a concern.
- Natural revegetation is important for wildlife needs. People would like to see more wildlife.
- Plans for vehicular control – between 59th Avenue and 67th Avenue. This entry should be gated. Students from the high school love to cut through the park when the gate is open.
- Consider a Junior Ranger Program – based out of the proposed Ranger Station.
- Reduce the posted speed – along 59th Avenue to 35 mph.