A longtime vision of turning south Scottsdale’s canal banks into a parklike environment is closer to becoming reality.
The city expects to soon be awarded a $500,000 federal grant as the final piece of funding for $3.2 million in planned improvements along a stretch of the Crosscut Canal from Indian School Road to McDowell Road.
On Friday, the state transportation board is expected to endorse the grant application, virtually ensuring federal approval, said Dave Meinhart, Scottsdale’s transit director.
The Crosscut Canal figures into a design for a regional network linking Scottsdale’s trails system to cultural and recreational attractions in the adjoining Papago Park area in Tempe and Phoenix.
Scottsdale will install a 10-foot-wide paved pathway, seating areas, shade structures, lighting and landscaping on its canal banks.
There also will be public art elements and a small public parking lot near the pedestrian bridge that crosses the canal at Oak Street.
The features will match similar amenities Tempe installed as part of a $1.3 million improvement project along the canal banks south of McDowell Road.
Tempe recently was awarded federal funding for a portion of a $2 million project that will improve another 2 1/2 miles of the Crosscut Canal in the Papago Park area, said Eric Iwersen, a Tempe senior planner.
Scottsdale, Tempe, Phoenix and the Salt River Project utility company are partners in the Papago Salado Association. The group is crafting a long-range master plan for the area.
Scottsdale also wants to make the Crosscut Canal part of its planned expanded bike path system, linking canal bank paths to bike routes, said Reed Kempton, a city planner.
The project’s next phase will focus on the Arizona Canal banks from the Crosscut Canal at 64th Street east to Goldwater Boulevard in the Scottsdale Waterfront area.
Most of the funding for Scottsdale’s canal bank projects is coming from $11 million earmarked for trails and related amenities in a city bond program approved by voters in 2000.
Work is slated to be complete on all Scottsdale and Tempe sections of the Crosscut Canal by early 2008, officials said.