A $5.5 million Gilbert park expansion project featuring new Little League fields, a gymnasium and a lake is beginning to wind down.
McQueen Park, best known today for its popular activity center, is about to double in size from 20 to 41 acres by extending west to McQueen Road, between Guadalupe and Elliot roads.
"Since this place is so popular, it’s nice they expanded it," said Gilbert resident Christine Nutter, who visits the center several times a week with her three young children.
The project was originally scheduled to be finished this week, but the completion date has been pushed back to Oct. 1. The construction cost is now at $4,993,499, up from the original estimate of $4,956,318, Gilbert Parks and Recreation superintendent Kenny Martin said. Management and design costs round out the project budget.
The construction is being funded from bonds approved by Gilbert voters in November 2001, with other costs being paid by the town’s General Fund and a $252,000 state grant.
The new portion of the park will include four lighted ballfields that will be home to Gilbert National Little League, two multiuse fields, a 2-acre lake, an 11,800-squarefoot gymnasium adjacent to the activity center, three ramadas and trails, Martin said.
"It’s blossomed now into being a full-fledged recreational facility that was always planned," said Gilbert Vice Mayor Don Skousen.
The Gilbert Town Council approved the construction contract in August 2003. To stay within budget, the council decided not to include five picnic ramadas, playground equipment and a maintenance facility that would have added about $500,000 to the final tab.
The current park includes the 7-year-old activity center, outdoor basketball, tennis and sand volleyball courts, picnic ramadas and "tot-lots."
This project completes the building of McQueen Park, but Martin said the town hopes in the future to add lights to the two new multiuse fields and possibly introduce fishing at the lake.