Tempe’s Shady Park reaches deal with retirement community to allow concerts

The legal fight is over noise between Shady Park and a retirement community as they agree to a deal to allow concerts again.
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 4:01 PM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Shady Park, a popular Tempe concert venue and its senior living community neighbor, struck a deal on Thursday over noise complaints to allow concerts at the venue. According to a joint statement from both sides, Shady Park is required to install “enhanced” soundproofing measures so the noise won’t impact retirees at Mirabella at ASU. They’ll ask Maricopa County Superior Court to dismiss the lawsuit later on Thursday.

“We’ve always been committed to being good neighbors,” Shady Park owner Scott Price said in the statement. “This resolution will allow us to once again host proper live music events while addressing our neighbors’ concerns. We’re glad we were able to work with Mirabella to achieve this and look forward to welcoming everyone back to shows at Shady Park for years to come.”

“We’re thrilled to find a win-win resolution,” Tom Dorough, executive director of Mirabella at ASU, said in the same statement. “Our goal was a solution that worked for both parties. This agreement will keep the music going for Shady Park’s fans while letting surrounding residents get a good night’s sleep. It’s a great result for the community and the City of Tempe.” Shady Park says it will start working with the City of Tempe for the permits to build the soundproofing. It’s unclear when concerts will return.

“I think this is the news we’ve all been waiting for and the news we hoped would happen,” said Ben Dorman, known as DJ Bijou. Live music means a lot to Bijou, a Tempe man who got his start at Shady Park. He’s now touring around the world. “Shady Park has its own vibe. There’s no venue like it in Arizona. There’s no venue like it in the U.S. That’s why artists come here from all over the world, and they request to play at this specific venue,” said Bijou.

“It’s kind of silly to have a retirement center right here,” said Olivia Zimmerman, a frequent at Shady Park. “It’s a college campus. It’s going to be loud. It’s going to be noisy but I’m glad it’s starting up again.”

Students told us Shady Park is the place to go no matter the occasion. “I just got out of an exam, and I did poorly, so I’m going to go get a sake bomb,” laughed Larissa Durkin. “I’m just happy they were able to come to some kind of agreement so that everyone is happy,” said DJ Bijou.

The two sides had been in a bitter dispute for nearly two years after the retirement community sued the venue. In April 2022, the Maricopa County Superior Court called Shady Park a community nuisance and imposed restrictions on when musical performances are allowed, as well as the noise level. Shady Park appealed the decision and sent the case back to court. But Thursday’s agreement has ended the legal fight.

Shady Park has been a live outdoor music venue since 2015, around the same time Arizona State University picked the site across the street for Mirabella at ASU. The retirement community opened its doors in late 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when live concerts weren’t happening. But when the music resumed in May 2021, the retirement community started filing noise complaints against Shady Park and eventually a lawsuit in November.