Let's talk about two different corners in Downtown Phoenix that have been slated for redevelopment in the coming years. The first we have mostly known about since the development plan for Margaret T. Hance Park was publicly released back in 2015, but the City has released new details on improvements to be made to the park and its surrounding area. The 32-acre park, built in 1992, is home to both the Burton Barr Central Library and Phoenix Center for the Arts.
On First Street on the south side of Hance Park sits Fire Station #4, one of the original 13 fire houses in the Valley. The property is still owned by the city but has been vacant for some time. The updated to the revitalization plan includes the former fire station being transformed into a restaurant with a food truck area and cafe. Parks Director Inger Erickson provided an update on the Hance Park revitalization plan, saying, "We’re really pushing hard to activate the firehouse”.
Over the next several weeks, Erickson said the city will solicit for people to turn the city-owned structure into a full-service restaurant. The historic firehouse restaurant is intended to be the new hub and center of redevelopment for the eastern portion of the park, near the Central Ave bridge. Erickson said a fundraising campaign will begin in March. The three-phase project is expected to cost around $100 million. So far, the city has committed $15 million.
The working plan is broken up into three sections, dubbed the Valley, the Canyon, and the Plateau. Each was part of the 2016 plan, but the details have evolved. The Canyon is located in the center of the site, over the I-10 freeway (hence the "Deck" nickname). The Valley is to the west, near the Japanese Friendship Garden and the Irish Cultural Center. The Plateau is to the east, home to the library and arts center. The fire house is located in The Canyon portion of the project which is also slated for, at this point, an interactive water feature, amphitheater, jogging loop, skate park, and garden.
Judy Weiss, Deputy Director for management services with the city’s parks and recreation department has said, in regards to timeline, “We could start at the end of 2019, depending on how our funding partners do. If there’s a lot of momentum, we’ll finish the project faster."
The city is working with Hargreaves Associates to finesse the plan, based on community input. People who didn’t attend the May 21 open house can still weigh in online.