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Glendale, AZ

Parks & Recreation
Engaging residents and visitors in diverse opportunities to live, invest and play in the community

Parks & Recreation
5970 W. Brown St.
Glendale AZ  85302

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Glendale Parks and Recreation is Nationally Accredited.
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Parks and Recreation -
Thunderbird Conservation Park Preliminary Master Plan
Public Meeting Minutes - September 14, 2005


SEPTEMBER 14, 2005

The public meeting began at approximately 6:40pm. 

Ms. Becky Benná, Parks and Recreation Director, began the meeting by introducing those in attendance.  She introduced Parks and Recreation staff Shirley Medler and R.J. Cardin as well as Parks and Recreation Commissioners Ted Hansen and Chuck Jared.  Also in the audience was Councilmember Manny Martinez.  Ms. Benna introduced tonight’s meeting facilitator, Dr. Marty Rozelle, from the Rozelle Group.

Tonight’s public meeting began with a presentation of the draft preliminary Thunderbird Conservation Park Master Plan.  Presenting this evening will be landscape architect Ms. Jackie Keller, Logan Simpson Design, Mr. Steve Fairaizl, senior biologist with Logan Simpson Design, trails coordinator, Tom Fitzgerald, Logan Simpson Design, Jennifer Cleveland, Logan Simpson Design and hydrologist Mr. Jon Fuller, JD Fuller Hydrology.

The public meeting was opened for comments and questions from the public.  Dr. Rozelle facilitated this portion of the meeting.  The following portion of these minutes lists the questions and answers from this portion of the meeting:

  1. What is the size of the proposed education structure / outdoor learning center?  Ms. Keller stated the proposed building could be up to 10,000 square feet, which will include two classrooms to accommodate 30 children per classroom. 
  2. How much additional parking is being proposed?  Ms. Keller explained the formula to determine the amount of parking spaces needed.  Mr. Fitzgerald said that he took information such as miles of trails and number of parking spaces from many valley parks such as Pinnacle Peak, Squaw Peak, and White Tanks to determine how many miles of trails each had.  On an average there are between 20 and 50 parking spaces provided for each mile of trail.  Based on this formula, Thunderbird Park should have 640 parking spaces.  He said 250 parking spaces currently exist with an additional 400 spaces being proposed.  This equates to 32 parking spaces per trail mile.
  3. Would it be possible not to reduce the picnic area for revegetation and upgrade the existing picnic area?  Ms. Keller stated the goal of the project is to raise the conservation level of the park by trying to get the highly used facilities out of the wash corridor areas.  She explained that even if the existing areas were upgraded the challenge of keeping users out of the wash corridors would still exist as well as keeping the sediment out of the wash areas during flood times. 
  4. Would the parking lot for the handicapped viewing blinds be increased to allow for more people to visit the other viewing blinds?  Ms. Keller explained that providing trailheads along the wash corridor would provide access to the trail system on the west side of the park.  The existing parking at the west end of the sediment basin would not be increased.  This issue was investigated at the start of the master plan process.   What is trying to be provided is easier and better pedestrian access to the existing viewing blinds.  She said there is parking where persons wanting to visit the three existing viewing blinds could access them. 
  5. Are we not moving away from conservation by introducing the education building?  Ms. Keller stated there have been many discussions regarding the meaning of conservation.  Conservation is preservation, restoration, and management.  This would include managing the activity so that we conserve the resources of the park.  She stated they are attempting to revegetate many areas of the park.  Part of conservation is education as to how the conservation efforts are performed.
  6. Will the pathways be improved (removal of large rocks)?  Ms. Medler stated that many comments similar to this one have been received.  She explained that the city has applied for and received funding through an Arizona State Parks Heritage Grant.  She stated the Heritage Grant has been awarded and will provide funding for manpower as well as cover the cost of materials needed to fill areas around the large, exposed rocks and to stabilize these areas as well.  This grant will also provide specialists who will analyze the trail to see where rest areas along the trails need to be provided.
  7. What is the budget for the project, what is the funding cycle, and what is the construction timetable?  Ms. Medler explained that this is a master plan where a budget exists in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) funded by the Open Space and Trails bond election.  In 2003, the City Council allocated monies for this project.  The Thunderbird Conservation Park Master Plan was determined to be one of the priorities.  She reminded the group that this is just a draft preliminary master plan.  Ms. Medler stated funding is currently available for the trail improvements.  Ms. Keller added a Master Plan took place in 1967 by Maricopa County.  She explained that a master plan is only a guideline, which changes throughout the years based on the needs of the community.  She explained the Growing Smarter and Growing Smarter Plus requirements that must be achieved.  Ms. Benna stated that the master plan process helps to prioritize to identify what the community needs the most.
  8. How many people can currently picnic on 55th Avenue?  Ms. Keller stated there isn’t currently any picnicking available in that area.  She stated that 330 people could currently picnic at the park.  However, the amount proposed would be reduced to 210 people after improvements have been made.  Ms. Keller confirmed that the number of picnickers would be reduced from 330 to 210.
  9. Are the horse trails distinct from the hiking trails?  Ms. Keller stated that all trails will be shared by hikers and equestrians.  However, the equestrian group that was contacted stated they mainly use the west side of the park.

Other Comments Followed:

One speaker commented that construction of the education facility at the Phoenix border for the citizens of Phoenix did not make sense.  He stated the facility should be constructed at 67th Avenue as the facility would be surrounded by a Glendale elementary school, a junior high, and a high school.  He stated that staff explained construction at that location would not be possible because there was not enough flat land.  He suggested to staff that they think “outside the box”.  He felt if homes can be constructed on the sides of the mountain, the construction of the education facility is possible.  If the facility cannot be built along 67th Avenue, then he suggested not constructing the building at all as there are other north Glendale facilities, which could accommodate children.  He felt that additional patrolmen would be needed with the additional proposed parking spaces.  He felt that many people that use the park would say to leave the park alone and not make any changes.

One of the attendees commented on the traffic flow along 55th Avenue and Pinnacle Peak Road.  She stated if this project is to ever be constructed and completed the amount of traffic in this area would be unrealistic.  She felt the entrance along Pinnacle Peak Road would be unable to handle the amount of traffic entering into the park.  She asked for the current plan to handle a brush fire as one has already occurred. 

Another attendee stated there is a limited amount of desert remaining and questioned why the desert should be disrupted to construct an education facility to explain to children about how wonderful the desert used to be.

Additional Questions Followed:

  1. Have the consultants contacted ADA regarding the trails and the education building?  Ms. Keller stated that at the point when comments are received from the public and the plan is beginning to be composed, the ADA would be contacted for input.  She added that those with disabilities had requested challenging trails for themselves and not just flat trails.  A variety of trails are provided in this plan.  All new buildings must comply with ADA regulations.
  2. Will Pinnacle Peak Road be widened?  Mr. Fitzgerald stated the city of Phoenix CIP indicates the Pinnacle Peak Road will be widened beginning at 35th Avenue.  He was unsure of the western boundary. 

A citizen commented as to how could a master plan be prepared for Thunderbird Conservation Park when the consultants are unsure or unaware of the Pinnacle Peak Road widening?  Mr. Fitzgerald stated the city of Phoenix would be contacted.

3. Is there a possibility of reducing the speed along 59th Avenue.  Another attendee stated the city of Phoenix refused to look at the speed limit concern along 59th Avenue.

A citizen commented about the possibility of the speed along 59th Avenue being looked at now that Thunderbird Conservation Park has truly been categorized as a conservation park.

A citizen commented that she is very disappointed and felt that consultants and everyone involved is not taking a realistic approach regarding the Park.  She stated there is an enormous influx of population coming into the area and currently the roads cannot accommodate the users today or in the future.

Dr. Rozelle reminded all attendees to complete the yellow comment forms located at the back of the room.

Ms. Benná provided some closing comments and asked the attendees to provide any ideas or comments that would assist staff and the consultants in the master plan process.  She encouraged all in attendance to complete the yellow comment forms.  She stated the next public meeting would take place on Saturday, September 17 at 1:00 p.m. at the Foothills Library.  Everyone is welcome.

The meeting concluded at 8:43pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Diana Figueroa




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