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Major makeover planned for downtown Phoenix park

The initial concept plan is shown. (City of Phoenix Photo)

PHOENIX -- After months of meetings, drawings and designs, the final master plan for Margaret T. Hance Park will be presented to city leaders and unveiled during a community celebration this week.

The goal is to turn the 32-acre park built over Interstate 10 near downtown into a modern, urban park.

Architect Philip Weddle said the park has a tremendous amount of potential. His firm was hired to conduct community input and create the final master plan. During public hearings, Weddle said he heard a few comments over and over.

"People are really looking for a park with vibrancy and activity in it," he said. "There are also a lot of common themes about needing a lot of shade and introducing water into the park."

Safety is another concern for residents and Weddle said that's where daily and nightly activities can make a difference.

"As people are more involved and you have more activities going on, they tend to watch out for each other and it just becomes a safer environment."

Built in 1990, Hance Park stretches from Fifth Avenue to Third Street and houses the Japanese Friendship Garden, the Irish Cultural Center and Burton Barr Central Library. Weddle said the park's location along Central Avenue can become an exciting space that connects to the library and light rail line.

"We have a very sculptural shade structure that spans over Central Avenue that we refer to as 'the cloud' and I think that's really going to become the signature piece for the park."

On Wednesday, Weddle and his team will present the final master plan to the Park, Arts, Transparency and Education Subcommittee. It will then move on the full city council for a vote.

The whole plan is expected to take 10 years to complete and cost about $115 million. You can see the initial concept plan here.

On Thursday, the public is invited to view the design during a community celebration at Hance Park from 5 to 8 p.m. The event will feature live music, family activities and food trucks.

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