Ellsworth and McKellips Park Proposal
The plan to create a water retention area at this location threatens to sabotage a fragile ecosystem as well as the zoning guidelines established by the City of Mesa. It will destroy this unique, sensitive and diverse ecosystem. The City of Mesa was farsighted when it created the desert uplands design. Natural wash corridors and associated vegetation should be preserved as open space amenities and wildlife habitat corridors. I chose Desert Uplands because its zoning assured that the desert environment would be preserved.
Always in the past, neighbors living near a proposed project were notified by mail about the project and the dates of the public meetings. Why this time weren't the neighbors notified?
The proposed park at this location id unacceptable for several reasons. 1. It duplicates services available within 1 to 4 miles; it violates the City of Mesa planning guidelines for the community of Desert Uplands and 3. it creates a source of light pollution and trespass which will disrupt animal behavior and potentially increase invasion of predatory animals in our residential areas. .
The City of Mesa has recognized that there are several neighborhoods which are characterized by their proximity to the natural desert. The proposed park at Ellsworth and McKellips is located within one of these areas - the Desert Uplands.
Several years ago, the City of Mesa created specific design guidelines to integrate new development with the desert by mandating preservation of the natural environment. Natural pattern of rocks, washes, hillsides, and native wash corridors are mandated. Open areas on the site should reflect the character of the undisturbed desert. …Landscaping must blend in harmoniously with the surrounding desert. .
This proposal takes a 58 acre plot of natural desert and replaces it (by my read of the plans) with 20 acres of rolling turf, 24 acres of ball fields and 3 acres of parking lots. Only 11 acres of desert is left (that's less than 20% of the original desert) which is no more than a corridor that weaves through and around the unnatural savannahs created by the ball fields. What is created is a tax burden for an unethical and massive duplication of services which are currently available within a mile of the proposed site (Maricopa County Park -Usery Park ~ 3648 acre park which includes an outstanding interpretive and educational facility ) and within 3 miles Red Mountain Regional Park with picnic/ramada facilities, ball fields and more.
Mesa officials have described the land located at Ellsworth and McKellips as " beautiful, natural desert land". Creating a park with rolling turf, parking fields and athletic fields will destroy this unique, sensitive and diverse ecosystem. Mesa was farsighted when it created the desert uplands design. It must not now destroy the very environment that it helped to create. Usery Park is a mile north and there are athletic fields 3 miles west. There is no need to develop a park at this location. It will be costly , and it will duplicate services already provided. Why does the taxpayer need to pay for another park when they already exist ? More will be lost than gained.
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Danette Harris commented
Please don't build this park. Usery park is less than a mile away for exploring desert ecosystems. Lighted ball parks and play fields have no place in the Desert Uplands...no grass, no light pollution. Create world class urban parks in our urban areas near the city center and near businesses.
Another poor planning idea by the City of Mesa. Expand Red Mountain or Brown road facilities, where parks are already in place and within 3 miles of Ellsworth and McKellips
Dave Slick commented
The funds required for capital investment in park development and annual maintenance costs, especially water use for turf, could be better spent elsewhere within the existing city parks system. We hope that the city chooses to leave this plot of land undeveloped.
Brenda Van Amburg commented
Correction, I meant Mountain Bridge not Thunder Mountain that is building across the street from this park and the desert is bladed for these developments.
Brenda Van Amburg commented
Wow, with Usery Park to the north I am amazed that the City is looking at spending Capital improvement dollars to build a park because they sold out Riverview Park. I have used Usery Park that is educational, recreational, and camping. There is more than enough acreage to meet a community's needs. Tearing up the precious desert for parking lots, lights, and unnatural terrain goes against the desert uplands and open space paradigms in this community. Even though this site was chosen it is a bad location to build a park when Usery Park is available and plentiful for this community. If you have to build a park because we need to have more governmental waste, perhaps a natural mountain bike and walking paths would be efficient and leave the area natural
without more pavement to create more heat in this area. Why tear up the desert? There is a ped gate on Mckellips into Usery Park and that's where I would ride my bike into the park. It seems redundant to me and I vote to leave the Uplands area natural. It will be a matter of time before Thunder Mountain and other builders ruin this lovely desert uplands landscape.
Red Mountain park....Usary park...How many parks do you need in the "Desert Uplands" ???? More money to waste I guess..
This is so bad.....NO PARK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Why have lights at all? There is no reason anyone should want to take a plant tour after 6pm so close the place at 6. It is bad enough you sold us out to get your Riverside, you do not have to make it worse by creating something that no one is going to use and will be a burden to the neighborhood. Would you like people wandering next to your backyard on a daily basis? This is a desert area and should remain so. As far as the water retention goes, there is not a problem. The water flows downhill into existing drainage or is retained naturally in lower portions of the area.
Kudoos to Mesa Parks and Recreation for modifying the plans to reflect the cincerns of the neighborhood.
A few more changes and it will be an awesome park
1. Avoid.using grass. It is a desert park, water is a precious commodity keep the matural flora and use only approved nAtive plants
2. Limit lighting. Use the Red Mountain campus as a model for low profile lights
3 build the parking lot in stages. phase one needs only 30 slots.
4. Ljmit the width of the wlakways and trails to 5 feet.
Tom Devereux commented
OK - I:m really confused and perhaps owe someone an apology - but the missing comments seem to be under the heading "more parks" which is on tab 5. Why two locations to capture comments on the same topic?
Some more comments:
Thanks to the Parks Commission - or whoever - for listening. The deletion of ball fields and lighting is a definite step in the right direction. I think what was shown Tuesday night is workable - with some minor modifications/considerations.
1 - have only native planting. If the mayor wants grass tell him to go somewhere other than the Sonoran Desert. Everything in the park should abide by the Desert Uplands Zoning requirements
2 - reduce the parking to maybe 30 - lets see if anyone really comes. And no asphalt - that is definitely a heat sink and will destroy the nearby desert ecology. Make it the same crushed granite as the walking paths. If the park proves very popular parking can be added then.
3 - do minimal damage/movement to the existing plants. Design the walking paths in and around the native plants already growing.
4 - enlist the aid of the award winning landscape architecture classes at MCC in the layout. Use the same natural looking - low light - pathway lighting as used at MCC.
5- walking trails need be no wider than 5 ft. Again, using the model of MCC - apply signage to explain what the plants are along the path. A "turn out" every 100-200 ft with a larger sign describing the view (mountain names, etc) would provide a space for wheel chairs to turn around if necessary.
6- post specific closing hours (10pm) and ask Maricopa County Sheriff to make nightly checks to
insure the park is not used for illicit or illegal purposes - or to endanger the neighboring houses.
Reducing parking, eliminating asphalt, using only the natural flora & fauna, and enlisting the help of the MCC will not only contribute to the native beauty and utility of the park, but also lower it's cost.
Comments have not been deleted. Several postings related to the Ellsworth & McKellips proposal were merged together because of their similar theme and to avoid duplication on the Web site. All comments still exist and are noted. We are currently working with the web administrator to "unmerge" the comments per residents requests. Feedback for the parks proposals should be provided at http://www.mesaaz.gov/parksrec/Parks_Development/default.aspx. iMesa is for new project ideas. Thanks for your feedback
Tom Devereux commented
Where have all the comments gone? Is someone - iMesa administrator - deleting comments? Many from last night and earlier are removed. This is not only illegal but marks iMesa as not really citizen oriented but just another group foisting their own agenda as "public opinion." Very disappointing.
Perhaps it's because this park is a bad idea that nobody wants and forcing it on us is attracting too much negative.
Has the archeological, architectural and environmental studies been completed? Numerous Native American artifacts have been found in this area and the potential damage from the park construction would be irreparable.
Carolyn Robertson commented
I agree. Parks are important but they should be located where there is a need. Usery Park and Red Mountain Park are within walking distance. My tax dollars can be better spent. ,