March 29, 2005
An archaeological dig area for kids, a desert botanical garden and a number of multipurpose fields are just some of the features of Queen Creek’s second park.
Desert Mountain Park takes its name from the neighboring Desert Mountain Elementary School. The park, at the southeast corner of Hawes and Ocotillo roads, runs alongside Queen Creek Wash and opens Saturday.
The 33-acre park is a partnership between the Queen Creek Unified School District and the town. The school had land the town wanted and the town had land the school wanted, said Lisa Padilla, Queen Creek’s Parks and Recreation Department facility development coordinator.
"The trend ... is to put parks next to schools to get the synergy out of both," Padilla said.
Four lighted baseball fields east of the school can be used by both the elementary school and Little League teams. All four fields have sunken dugouts and are near a concession stand and restroom building.
"The attention was paid to aesthetics, with terra cotta concrete staining and veneer stone on the concession building," Padilla said.
The infield sod was donated by the Field of Dreams Program run by the Maricopa County Stadium District. West Coast Turf Company also donated 40,000 square feet of sod in exchange for permanent signs at the park, Padilla said.
Desert Mountain Park has two championship-sized soccer fields, which can be broken into multipurpose fields for smaller soccer games, youth flag football games and T-ball games, or open space for large events.
A small amphitheater, seven picnic ramadas and nine grills can be found around the park, as well as three sets of restrooms with one more planned.
Kids can dig through three different sand pits to find molded concrete animal skeletons or scramble over nearby climbing boulders. Children can also enjoy a large playground with various climbing walls and a number of slides and swings.
An acre-plus sized desert botanical interpretive garden is filled with wheelchair-accessible paths and a variety of cactuses, flowers and bushes, with signs pointing out each variety of plant.
The park also features two sand volleyball pits and an equestrian area. A future trail will lead to the nearby wash and equestrian path, Padilla said.
The park was designed to incorporate all the needs of the town, said Creighton Wright, the town’s Parks and Recreation Department assistant director and the park construction project manager.
"It’s really great to see the park’s growth, from when the people first told us their needs, to when we laid it out on paper, and then to see it live," Wright said.
J2 Environmental Engineering designed the park and Valley Rain Construction Corporation built the park, which cost about $6 million and was funded through park development fees by new home buyers.
Construction on the park began in February 2004.
Check it out
What: Desert Mountain Park grand opening
When: 2 p.m. Saturday; Little League games begin at 8 a.m.
Where: 22201 S. Hawes Road, on the southeast corner of Hawes and Ocotillo roads in Queen Creek
Information: (480) 987-0497