While the City of Phoenix Parks & Recreation Department has been putting the finishing touches on its Dreamy Draw Park revitalization, with a projected opening of early September 2023, it has been busy at work on yet another plan: the redevelopment of North Mountain Park.
“We have a little over 4,000 hikers a month who hike Trail 44,” said Jarod Rogers, the deputy director of the Natural Resources Division of the Parks and Recreation Department. He is responsible for the management, maintenance and operations of all of the mountain preserves, including North Mountain Park, which is located near 7th Street and Peoria Avenue.
Trail 44 is a 1.6-mile trail that travels through the heart of North Mountain, and a good indicator of park usage. And some of the outdated amenities are an indicator that it is due for some revitalization.
Rogers says that the department is systematically going through the city’s older preserve parks and bringing them up to modern standards.
“We are reusing, where we can, historic old ramadas, but then incorporating new ramadas and new features that are more in line with how people use our preserves today, which is a little bit different than how they were used back in the 60s when North Mountain was developed,” he explained.
The funding for the project comes from the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative — a percent sales tax that funds park development or renovation projects.
“Forty percent of the funds collected for that are devoted to preserve acquisition and then renovation and remodeling,” Rogers elaborated. “We spent several years fixing up South Mountain Park, we’re right in the middle of finishing up Dreamy Draw Park, which is another area within Phoenix Mountains Preserve. Prior to that, we did a Piestewa Peak area renovation.”
To create the redevelopment plan for North Mountain, an initial survey was open to the public Nov. 24, 2022, through Jan. 1 of this year to develop a master plan for potential future park amenities and improvements.
Two design concepts were created from the initial survey, Desert Terraces and Journey’s End. The designs address a variety of aspects: from refurbishing existing ramadas and building new ones, to creating a “play node” for young visitors, habitat restoration, new trail signage, new restrooms and accessible features.
At an April 5 open house event at North Mountain Visitor Center, residents had the opportunity to review the designs, speak to staff and ask questions, and a survey was made available to the public, which closed April 21.
Parks will now take that additional feedback into review and prepare the final master plan, which will be presented at as second open house event in June of this year. The plan will then be presented to the Parks board for adoption. Taking into consideration the time from approval to design and construction, a ballpark estimate would put completion some time in summer or fall of 2025.
Rogers added that, for those 4,000 monthly hikers, the North Mountain Visitor Center, which is just north of the North Mountain Park renovation site, will stay open during renovations and Parks will provide access to the trails all around North Mountain Park.
“One thing I always like to tell people about this project in particular, is if you don’t know what our renovations have been like recently, I would highly recommend that they go check out the Piestewa Peak renovations. I think most people will really be blown away.”
Rogers shares the same enthusiasm for the North Mountain project.
“I’m excited about it and I hope that anybody who utilizes North Mountain Park right now will also be excited about what the future brings. It is really going to make North Mountain Park a jewel.”
Learn more about Phoenix parks and trails at www.phoenix.gov/parks.