South Scottsdale helps to shape Indian Bend Wash Master Plan

Scottsdale city officials and south Scottsdale residents circle around a map of the proposed area for future projects. (Independent Newsmedia/Melissa Rosequist)

Portions of an 11-mile greenbelt stretch in south Scottsdale — which includes neighborhood parks, lakes, paths and golf courses — is being planned for a face lift at the cost of $2.2 million.

The Indian Bend Wash, from Thomas Road at the north, to McKellips Road in the south, is a stretch of greenbelt with more than 24 grade-separated crossings — meaning users can avoid major cross traffic.

It’s touted as a world-renowned flood control project, rated among the top urban “green spaces” in Arizona.

Now, the city of Scottsdale is looking to create a master plan for the area to upgrade aging infrastructure and meet the needs of users and nearby residents of today and tomorrow. Vista del Camino and Eldorado parks are well used and provide great amenities, officials say, but the infrastructure is aging and it’s now time to evaluate what is needed as part of the master plan process.

On Wednesday, Jan. 9, dozens of Scottsdale residents attended a two-hour open house held at Granite Reef Senior Center to give their input on the Indian Bend Wash Master Plan.

While no specific plans are laid out at this time, city officials were taking input to gauge what residents are most interested in seeing within the plan.

“We heard several responses on how citizens use the park now and what things they feel would be nice to have in the future,” Scottsdale Parks and Recreation Director Reed Pryor said.

“We will have two more public meetings similar to last night’s event. After that, our consultant (J2) will total the votes and summarize the other comments received. Our next steps beyond summarizing last night’s input will be to hold two more meetings and use the total input to develop three different concepts.”

A handful of tables and signs were set up for residents to interact with and speak to city officials about — identifying the amenities in your neighborhood, picking what interests most appeal to you — and guests were invited to fill out a sheet of paper to leave longer comments on the plan.

Mr. Pryor says the parks are aging, noting that Eldorado Park celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

“That brings wear, tear and deterioration of our facilities and infrastructure,” he said. “Things like ramadas, restrooms, irrigation system, etc. are in need of replacement. The bike path that winds its way through the parks is heavily used and would be better suited in a different location in some areas. Particularly the areas where flood waters impact the path.”

Enhancements to the park to allow for better connectivity from the surrounding neighborhoods and local businesses is also a priority for the master plan, Mr. Pryor said, providing examples such as walking or bike paths.

Additionally, the lakes within the Indian Bend Wash need attention, Mr. Pryor says, as a great deal have silt in them.

“As a result we have very shallow areas that are prone to aquatic weed growth. We want to look into the best way to handle the lakes. Make them deeper? Larger? Smaller?” he asked. “Another option we want to explore is opportunities for some different activities. Such as an amphitheater that may host dramatic plays, music events, etc. Another would be to enhance the lake areas to possibly allow for paddle boats, kayaking, etc.”

With the use of stickers, residents were encouraged to put their sticker next to ideas they liked for the area. On one board, the columns for music, concerts and soft music; save existing trees; and leave it natural accumulated the most stickers.

A sticker system illustrated which community aspects were important to residents. (Independent Newsmedia/Melissa Rosequist)

“I am encouraged that they are doing this and taking community input, I’ve given mine,” said Scottsdale resident Michael Rubinoff at the open house. “I think it’s a good idea — I want to see what ideas they’re getting from people.”

Mr. Rubinoff says the major issue for himself, and others within his homeowners association, is the overall operation of the Coronado Golf Course driving range, which he says poses a threat to homes nearby.

“There’s a menace to public safety. People are injured, property is damaged and you have a school real close, Coronado High School. Anyone on the street, the golf balls are flying over houses onto Miller Road.”

Mr. Rubinoff says the golf course was built in the 1970s, but the city zoned for residential housing afterwards and unfortunately, his house is one of those that backs up to the golf course.

“This is out of another era, the 1970s. They should turn it into an extension of Eldorado Park,” he said. “Instead of the driving range, how about a dog park?”

Longtime south Scottsdale resident Debbie Singleton was also encouraged by the opportunity to provide public comment to the city prior to a plan being put in place.

“I grew up here, so I’m really excited to see that they’re going to be modernizing it, fixing it up. It’s time,” she said. “I’m really excited that we’re having the opportunity to provide input.”

Ms. Singleton says her No. 1 desire is for pickleball courts to be installed.

“The big thing for me is pickleball, which sounds totally off the wall, but it’s a growing, growing sport. There’s millions of people playing it,” Ms. Singleton said.

“We don’t have anywhere to play it in south Scottsdale. We need pickleball because people need to be active, and that is a game that anyone can play.”

Plan in the works

Ultimately, a master plan will be used as a road map for future park improvements. It includes extensive research and analysis into how the park is used today, an inventory of existing assets and their condition, and a determination of how the parks fit into the overall park system, city officials say.

Once the master plan is complete, the improvements will be broken down into individual projects, and most likely be funded and built over several years. A website for the Indian Bend Wash Master Plan says its funding source is the General Fund and a 2000 bond.

“The $2.2M is a combination of General Fund and bond 2000 proceeds. No funding source has been identified for the future design and construction of any of the improvements that may be suggested by the master plan when completed,” Mr. Pryor said.

“When complete, estimates for the proposed improvements will be compiled and entered into the city of Scottsdale’s annual capital improvement program development process in an attempt to identify funding sources for these improvements.”

Next steps include:

  • Gathering input, facts, and ideas;
  • Initiate development of preliminary concepts;
  • Present concepts to stakeholders;
  • Revise concepts based on feedback;
  • Present revised concepts to stakeholders and ask for priorities;
  • Prioritized elements, features and budget with the city;
  • Revise concepts based on priorities and feedback;
  • Evaluate revised concept priorities with the city;
  • Present a final concept to stakeholders;
  • Revise and present a final Master Plan to City Council;
  • Finalized the Master Plan; and
  • Implement.

Residents who want to provide their input are encouraged to fill out an online survey at: scottsdaleaz.gov/construction/project-list/indian-bend-wash-master-plan/questionnaire.

Northeast Valley News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at mrosequist@newszap.com or can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/mrosequist_.

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