New Parkland for Queen Creek, AZ

September 15, 2003
Arizona

Queen Creek, Arizona, 9/15/2003: - The Trust for Public Land, a national non-profit land conservation organization with an Arizona office in Phoenix, transferred ownership of a large parcel of land to the Town of Queen Creek on Friday. The 78.28-acre property will become the town's most centrally located park and is anticipated to see heavy use by the community.

The property, now fallow agricultural land northeast of the intersection of Sossaman and Ocotillo roads, is located in a part of the town that, in the near future, will be one if its most populated residential areas. Town officials identified the parcel as a prime location for a large community park and recreation complex.

However, zoning would allow over 180 residential units on the land. While developers expressed active interest in the parcel, town officials recognized the benefits to the Queen Creek community of preserving the property as open space and parkland.

"With the acquisition of this parcel of land, the Town Council is aggressively implementing the General Plan's Parks, Trails and Open Space element. It is our hope that this project begins a long-standing relationship with the Trust for Public Land " said Wendy Feldman-Kerr, Mayor.

As development in Queen Creek accelerates and property values rise, town officials realized that purchases would quickly become cost prohibitive, making a future acquisition of this size in the center of town impossible. With no real estate specialists on staff, the Town of Queen Creek turned to TPL Arizona to help them purchase what it considers one of its priority open space parcels.

Charlie O'Leary, TPL Arizona's land conservation specialist for the transaction, said, "This project would never have been possible without The Town of Queen Creek's commitment to parks and open space for public benefit. Town Council and staff provided the necessary leadership and funding to make this acquisition possible."

As a result, Queen Creek will gain a host of recreational facilities, including multiple softball fields, soccer fields, basketball courts, playground sites and equipment. The park will also offer horseback riders and hikers a rest stop along the Queen Creek Wash trail system. Parking and restroom facilities will complete the amenities.

Master planning for the site is scheduled for fiscal year 2004-2005, with design funding slated for the following year. Town officials estimate that the park should be fully constructed within the next few years.

"Nationally, study after study has revealed the benefits of open space and parks in economic and community development. Queen Creek recognizes the value of parks, recreation and open space as a key ingredient in creating a successful economic development program for the community," said Cynthia Seelhammer, Town Manager.

The Trust for Public Land is a national non-profit land conservation organization headquartered in San Francisco with an Arizona office in Phoenix. TPL's mission is to conserve land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.45 million acres of land in 45 states. Working with Arizona communities, leadership and landowners since 1980, TPL has help preserve almost 200,000 acres of urban open space, sites of cultural and historic significance, working lands and wilderness. For more information, visit TPL on the web at www.tpl.org.

TPL depends on funding from individuals, foundations, and businesses and enjoys the support of the Arizona Community Foundation and other Arizona funders.