Town of Gilbert goes big with planned park

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GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

With a redeveloped downtown boasting busy shops and hot places to eat, and new houses still going up on what seems like every vacant lot, fast-growing Gilbert Arizona knows how to go big.

And that's especially true when it is time to play.

If you need proof, all you need is a peek from the corner of Higley and Queen Creek to see the site planned for a new Gilbert Park.

The site is big, “272 acres,” big says Gilbert Parks and Recreation director Rod Buchanan. In fact, Buchanan says, “If you are familiar with Gilbert parks you can fit Crossroads, Discovery, McQueen and Freestone parks into this whole area.”

Thanks to an agreement with the Maricopa County Flood Control District, all that land stretching southwest from the Higley-Queen Creek intersection is about to become Gilbert Regional Park.

Buchanan says there will be plenty of space to play. “We will be able to have a special event location that will house more than 10,000 people to watch a concert, overlooking a lake and then looking to the San Tan Valley."

"And also, for instance, we can run a 10K on the property, so there will be a course set up so people can go practice their 10K," he says.

And it will be a true people’s park with lots of resident input, he says.

“One of the national trends is self-directed activities in parks and recreation, meaning our residents wanted parks where they could go recreate at their own time and convenience.”

Buchanan says that means you will see “walking trails, paths, even obstacle courses in our parks.”

The park will be built in phases starting this fall, with phase one including a playground and splash pad. 

Buchanan says, “When you think of this iconic playground and splash pad, you think of two words, discovery and exploration. We are designing it in such a fashion that every time you go back you will have a different experience.”

Plans are that residents and visitors alike can start to experience all that fun, starting next summer.

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