Mountain View Elementary and Vista College Prep students, community members, staff and city leaders gathered at the Sunnyslope Youth Center Friday, Feb. 9, to celebrate the center’s grand reopening (photo by Kathryn M. Miller).

There is a lot to celebrate in Sunnyslope these days, but two long-awaited neighborhood improvements took center stage in recent months.

The morning of Feb. 9, students from Mountain View Elementary School and Vista College Prep joined community members, Parks and Recreation Department (Parks) staff and city leaders to celebrate the reopening of the Sunnyslope Youth Center, located at 1702 W. Peoria Ave., adjacent to the Winifred Green Park. Established in 1997, the center is the result of the Sunnyslope Village Alliance working with Parks to create a fun center for youth 17 and under.

Closed for renovations since April 2023, the center typically serves anywhere from 10 to 50 young people each day, according to Thomas Licurgo, one of the center’s supervisors. The newly revitalized center now sports new paint (both inside and out), all new flooring, including a beautiful new wood floor in the multipurpose room, updated restrooms, and a brand-new front desk area, as well as all new energy-efficient LED lighting, all new electrical systems and accessible entries and exterior pathways. All of which will enhance the services offered at the center.

“We have a computer lab here and then half of that is our STEAM room,” Licurgo said as he pointed out the various improvements, “We have an after-school homework room over here where kids can come in, it’s kind of a quiet area where they can read or do their homework. We also offer an after-school meal program that’s brought to us by Saint Mary’s Food Bank, which is totally free to the kids. And then the room over here in the back is our teen room.

“We have a Phoenix Teen Site here, which is a citywide program that’s designed for teenagers to have their own space, to create their own programming and kind of do what they want to do. We do a lot of volunteering, a lot of field trips, and you know, a lot of fun stuff,” Licurgo added.

Vice Mayor Debra Stark, who represents Council District 3, spoke at the reopening ceremony and applauded the improvements.

“This center is incredibly important to the community, offering seasonal dance, arts, sports and educational programs,” Stark said. “Sunnyslope Youth Center has a very strong and active Phoenix Teens program, and I’m happy to be here today to celebrate the additional improvements.”

Stark added, “These types of renovation show the value of the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative, an approved taxpayer’s initiative that makes these types of improvements possible.”

Parks director Cynthia Aguilar, who worked at the center during her college years, welcomed the community stakeholders, including the many Parks employees at the event who also worked at the center over the years, as well as representatives from McCarthy Construction.

“I learned that, during construction, [McCarthy] collected books from their coworkers to stock the little library that is here, and that they surprised us with the delivery of a new BBQ grill that’s in the backyard to enjoy. So, thank you so much for always being a fantastic partner to the Phoenix Parks Department.”

The adjacent Winifred Green Park, complete with a full-sized lighted basketball court, playground, and sports field, experienced its own updates in recent years, and the two facilities will complement the services offered to the community.

For operational hours and other information about the Sunnyslope Youth Center, visit

As of Feb. 9, work completed as part of the Sunnyslope Safe Routes to School project includes this stretch of road on the west side of 7th Avenue, across the street from Mountain View Park (photo by Kathryn M. Miller).

New sidewalks improve safety

Getting to and from the updated youth center will be made easier, and safer, by work being done as part of the Safe Routes to School project. The Sunnyslope project area runs from Mountain View Road north to Peoria Avenue between 15th Avenue and 7th Avenue.

The project construction kicked off in January of this year and is expected to be completed by late spring/early summer 2024, according to Gregg Bach, spokesperson for the city’s Street Transportation Department.

“This project uses federal Safe Routes to School funding to enhance safety for residents walking to the nearby school, as well as Mountain View Park and other destinations,” Bach said. “It will also make multimodal travel in this area safer. The ongoing improvements include roadway widening along 7th Avenue (this is the only section being widened), the addition of sidewalks, curbs and gutters where they don’t currently exist, additional streetlights and some other improvements to make the area safer for people on foot or riding bicycles.”

Another area project in the pipeline is the 7th Avenue and Mountain View Road Improvements Project, which will bring a 10-foot-wide multi-use path along the east side of 7th Avenue from Mountain View Road to Cheryl Drive alongside the Mountain View Park. This project will also add sidewalks along Mountain View Road where none currently exist and include new streetlighting and installation of a new pedestrian crossing signal at 7th Avenue and Cheryl Drive to make it safer for people walking or riding bicycles to access the park. Construction is scheduled to begin on that project in fall 2024.

Both projects will also upgrade existing ADA curb ramps to meet the current standards for accessibility and safety.

Learn more at

Residents who travel along Hatcher Road between 19th and Central avenues will notice a reduction in the posted speed limit, from 35 mph to 30 mph (photo by Kathryn M. Miller).

New speed limit signs on Hatcher

With street safety in mind, on the morning of Feb. 8, City of Phoenix crews were at work along Hatcher Road replacing existing speed limit signs.

At its Dec. 6 meeting, the Phoenix City Council voted unanimously to approve the reduction of speed along 15 stretches of Phoenix roadways, including Hatcher Road, from 19th Avenue east to Central Avenue. The speed limit was reduced from 35 mph to 30 mph, based on Complete Streets’ context sensitive speed limit policy.

Read more about the policy at To learn which other streets have reduced speed limits, or to dig deeper into the studies behind the changes, visit


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