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Glendale, AZ

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.
CAPRA provides quality assurance and quality improvement of accredited park and recreation agencies throughout the United States. CAPRA is the only national accreditation of park and recreation agencies, and is a valuable measure of an agency’s overall quality of operation, management, and service to the community.
Parks and Recreation - Master Plan
Executive Summary


The City of Glendale Parks and Recreation Department hired Design Workshop, Inc. to solicit public input regarding the city's parks, recreation facilities and programs and to prepare this Master Plan. The Master Plan identifies the recreational needs of the citizens of Glendale and it recommends strategies and actions for meeting those needs.

The City of Glendale Parks and Recreation staff and the consultant team, working together with community leaders and the general public, prepared this Master Plan to serve as the strategic planning tool for making parks, open space, facility and recreational program decisions over the next ten years. The Parks and Recreation Master Plan identifies the actions that the city will be required to implement to satisfy the expectations of the community. It includes recommendations that give guidance for improving programs and services, creating a financially responsible organization, making land acquisitions and protecting open spaces, improving and establishing new facilities and instituting continuous improvement processes. Through these processes, the department will constantly and consistently review community input and proactively make the necessary changes that will help create an attractive and livable city.

The City of Glendale has experienced unprecedented growth over the last 10 years. With this increase in development came new issues, expectations and demands for expansion and protection of parklands and open spaces. The anticipation of these changes has led to the research and design of the Master Plan in the hopes that every one of the demands are met, and that the City of Glendale will continue to find itself among the best communities in the country.

The City of Glendale is growing, and becoming more diverse in its economic development. In Glendale, parks and recreation services have become an integral part of establishing and sustaining a higher quality of life while highlighting an image and character that is unique to Glendale. To this end, parks and recreation services can affect the city by their ability to:

  • Provide social benefits by connecting people within the community regardless of income, background, and ability.
  • Provide economic benefits by improving the quality of life in the community and helping to attract businesses and residents to the city.\
  • Provide protection of the environment by establishing greenways, natural areas and open spaces managed by Parks and Recreation.
  • Provide benefits to individuals and the community by promoting physical fitness and self-improvement.

The process used to shape this Master Plan included the following tasks:

  • Evaluating current services and operations of the Parks and Recreation Department
  • Evaluating current and future needs for parks, recreation services, recreation facilities, open space and trails
  • Creating equity access maps to visualize and determine gaps of services
  • Developing vision and action strategies based on a preferred future for the community
  • Developing recommendations and an action plan for the future that will provide the greatest benefits to the residents

The Master Plan is divided into three parts:

  • Community Needs
  • Levels of Service
  • Description of the Master Plan

Goals of the Master Plan

This Master Plan has been developed to address the issues Glendale's residents feel are important to a viable and accessible parks and recreation system. It is intended to achieve realistic goals for the enhancement of the community's social, cultural and environmental well being. This Master Plan has the following goals:

  • Provide an equitable distribution of park and recreation amenities that enhance the quality of life in the community
  • Provide opportunities for Glendale residents to participate in the design and planning of parks and facilities
  • Develop a system of linked open space that connects parks and recreational opportunities to neighborhoods, schools, community amenities, and employment centers
  • Develop parklands, open spaces, and facilities that improve the aesthetic appearance of the community and are compatible with the principles of sustainability and conservation of natural resources
  • Provide parks, open space, facilities and services that are safe for participants and city staff
  • Encourage cooperation between the Parks and Recreation Department and other public agencies and private entities as it relates to development, maintenance and shared use of recreational facilities and services
  • Provide high-quality parks and recreation facilities in a manner that is efficient, cost-effective, and adds value to surrounding land uses

Community Profile

Over the past 30 years, the City of Glendale has grown in area from 17 square miles to approximately 59 square miles. The city’s population has doubled since 1980. By the year 2005, the population is projected to exceed 241,397. Most of the population growth will occur in the north and west portions of the city.

Resource Inventory and Analysis: The overall amount of parkland in Glendale meets the minimum national guidelines recommended by the National Parks and Recreation Association. However, the acreage of parkland developed for community parks (0.5 acres per 1,000 population) is below the national minimum guidelines (5 to 8 acres per 1,000 population).

A gap in the distribution pattern for neighborhood parks occurs between Northern Avenue and Olive Avenue, west of 59th Avenue. The southeast portion of the city is underserved by regional parks. Significant gaps in adult center services occur in all areas, except central Glendale. Gaps in aquatic center services occur in north and southwest portions of the city. Currently, there are very few open space trails that connect parks to neighborhoods.

The city’s current park system includes over 1,706 acres, which equates to approximately nine acres for every 1,000 residents. The city's greatest needs are for the following:

  • Multi-purpose indoor recreational space for use by all age groups
  • Aquatic facilities
  • Athletic fields
  • Basketball courts
  • Neighborhood picnic areas and playgrounds
  • Renovations to existing parks, especially upgrades to meet ADA standards

Several special use facilities are also needed, including the following:

  • Environmental learning center
  • Equestrian center
  • Golf course
  • Programs for teens and older adults are needed. Multi-generation centers are needed in order to provide space for indoor programs for all age groups.
  • Maintenance guidelines need to be improved.

The City of Glendale subsidizes its program costs at a higher rate than the benchmarked cities of Henderson, Nevada, or Chandler, Mesa or Tempe, Arizona. Nationally, the practice is for cities to recover 50 percent of the cost of youth sports programs. Currently, Glendale recovers only 25 percent of the cost of youth sports programs.

Community Involvement

The public was asked to provide input through a citizen survey, 14 focus groups, and four public hearings. Of the households surveyed, where the respondent or a member of their household participated in Glendale Parks and Recreation programs during the previous year, 92 percent indicated the quality of the programs has been good or excellent. Citizens were most satisfied with the availability of neighborhood parks and least satisfied with the availability of indoor swimming pools.

Citizens said the most important facilities are neighborhood parks, trails, picnic areas and playgrounds. Citizens thought that improvements should be made in the visibility of law enforcement and that neighborhood parks and playgrounds should be renovated.

Stakeholder interviews were conducted with members of the park and recreation commission, community leaders, elected officials, agency heads, key department staff and other interest groups.

Stakeholders thought that land should be acquired for park development in the city’s south, west and north neighborhoods and that older parks need to be renovated. In addition, stakeholders stated that trails should be constructed in order to connect parks to neighborhoods. Lastly, the stakeholders generally thought the city’s park system needed a variety of new and renovated park and recreation facilities.

A Vision for Glendale Parks and Recreation

After the initial goals and objectives were established and community values identified, the guiding principles of equity, integrity, efficiency, creativity and forward thinking were incorporated into a visioning process. This process was then used to establish a clear vision of what the citizens of Glendale felt the Parks and Recreation Department needs to address over the next ten years.

Community-wide visioning was a central focus of the Master Plan. The vision was created from citizen focus groups, community-wide forums and the citizen mail and phone survey that included both adults and youth. The vision for a future parks and recreation system emerged from the community involvement process and formed the basis for the Parks and Recreation Master Plan's Vision, Action Strategies and Recommendations.

The Vision Statement for the City of Glendale’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan is: Glendale’s Parks and Recreation system provides safe and high quality parks, open space and recreational facilities that encourage residents and visitors to live, invest and play in the community, and develop recreation programs that promote memorable experiences in people’s lives.

Action Strategies

Based on the community involvement process and initial data finding, 24 action strategies for the Parks and Recreation Department were developed to make the Vision Statement a reality.

Park Guidelines:

  • Action Strategy 1. Protect Glendale’s parks by providing adequate preventive maintenance.
  • Action Strategy 2. Align park design with programming needs to encourage the proper use and function of park space. The community has an interest in the addition of park amenities to accommodate several ages and interests of participants.

Park Land Development and Redevelopment:

  • Action Strategy 3. Develop innovative land acquisition strategies.
  • Action Strategy 4. Increase quantity and quality of open space linkages from neighborhoods to community and regional parks and to metropolitan open space systems.
  • Action Strategy 5. Evaluate and analyze each existing park and develop a plan to renovate five parks annually over the next ten years based on community demographic needs.
  • Action Strategy 6. Consider adding eight gateways at the major entrances to the city.


  • Action Strategy 7. Create new facilities that offer diverse recreational opportunities
  • Action Strategy 8. Create two adventure centers for emerging sports for teens and young adults.
  • Action Strategy 9. Develop four multi-generation recreation centers, for teens, seniors and families over the next ten years to adequately allow access for all residents to use.
  • Action Strategy 10. Renovate and expand existing recreation centers based on community demographic needs.
  • Action Strategy 11. Create the appropriate levels of new, lighted sports fields and courts to meet the recreation needs of the community.
  • Action Strategy 12. Develop a cultural arts and museum division that includes facilities that add value to citizen recreation needs and vision for Glendale.
  • Action Strategy 13. Maximize opportunities to create facilities that are needed by the community to provide diversity in programs.

Programs and Services:

  • Action Strategy 14. Establish program guidelines and performance measures, which reflect accountability to the community.
  • Action Strategy 15. Expand the park ranger program to increase their visibility in all city parks, provide customer service, park system information and to provide law enforcement support.
  • Action Strategy 16. Develop a marketing strategy for each program area to target all age segments of the population.
  • Action Strategy 17. Develop programs targeted towards grade school children, teens, families, seniors and special population groups.
  • Action Strategy 18. Promote the Glendale Recreational After-School Program (G.R.A.S.P.) as a citywide youth development program in collaboration with other service providers.


  • Action Strategy 19. Enhance and improve existing partnerships and establish new partnerships with other service providers.
  • Action Strategy 20. Create a clear set of goals and objectives for all school districts, administrators, principals and the city regarding how facilities and programs will be developed and scheduled and how each party can gain equitable access to parks and facilities for the level of investment made and the benefits derived.


  • Action Strategy 21. Create alliances, partnerships and sponsorship functions to consolidate and coordinate efforts to increase revenues.

Maintenance and Equipment:

  • Action Strategy 22. Develop a hiring and training plan based on maintenance guidelines and program services and resources to exceed customer expectations.
  • Action Strategy 23. Utilize currently available technology and explore new technologies to promote efficient preventive maintenance.

Organizational Support and Vision:

  • Action Strategy 24. Position the Parks and Recreation Department within the city structure where it has the greatest opportunity to succeed.

Capital Improvements

Based upon the Vision Statement, community input and an evaluation of national guidelines for the appropriate level of service to be provided by Glendale’s Park and Recreation system, the Master Plan recommends that the city construct the following facilities:

  • Four multi-generation centers
  • Four aquatic facilities
  • 50 softball, baseball and soccer fields
  • 32 basketball courts
  • 15 playgrounds
  • Two outdoor adventure centers



The total cost to implement the recommendations contained in this Master Plan, including various studies and physical improvements discussed in the Level of Service and Action Strategies sections, amount to over $142 million or an average of slightly more than $14 million per year for ten years.

The most expensive improvements are the renovations of five existing older parks per year at an estimated cost of $15 million and four multi-generation regional centers at an estimated cost of about $8.25 million each. Athletic fields ($13 million) and aquatic facilities ($10 million) are also recommended improvements. In addition, basketball courts ($6.5 million), an equestrian facility ($3 million) and the environmental learning center ($2.5 million) are other multi-million dollar facilities.

The Master Plan also recommends:

  • Update of the parks maintenance plan $ 20,000\
  • An inventory of existing trees in all parks $ 10,000
  • Trails and Open Space Master Plan $ 150,000
  • Thunderbird Park Master Plan $ 90,000
  • Gateway design and construction $ 1,320,000
  • Neighborhood playgrounds $ 525,000
  • Regional playgrounds $ 500,000
  • Dog parks $ 120,000
  • Two adventure centers $ 10,000,000
  • Land acquisition opportunities $ 19,500,000


The Master Plan identifies a series of potential sources of revenue to help fund development of new or existing facilities, programs and maintenance. The list of potential sources includes:

  • Corporate Sponsorships
  • Partnerships
  • Development Impact Fees
  • Foundation/Gifts
  • User Fees
  • Federal and State Grants
  • General Obligation Bonds
  • Special Improvement Districts
  • Leasehold Financing
  • Intergovernmental Agreements
  • Revenue Bonds
  • Private Concessionaires
  • Cost Avoidance
  • Land Trusts
  • Naming Rights
  • Private Developer’s Leases


The City of Glendale's park and recreation system, including its parks lands, facilities and recreational programs, is striving to meet the needs of the City's growing population and expanding service area. Citizen input obtained as part of the process used to prepare this Master Plan focused on the need for additional community parks, multi-generation recreation centers for indoor activities, sports fields, playgrounds, and renovations to older neighborhood parks. Other important needs include open space preservation, a system of paths and trails, and special use facilities such as an environmental learning center and equestrian center.

This Master Plan defines a new set of guidelines related to the number of parks required to meet current and future needs of the growing population. Guidelines are also defined for recreation facilities such as a multi-generation center, swimming pools and sports fields. In addition, this plan identifies 24 action strategies for reaching the community's goal of improving the quality of life for its residents. The action strategies address future planning, programming, development, management, maintenance, marketing, funding and the overall structure of the organization. The plan outlines an ambitious land acquisition program totaling over $19.5 million. Implementation of the plan's recommendations will ensure that the City of Glendale park and recreation system is one of the finest in the State of Arizona.


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