Completion of the $8.6 million phase 1A of the Margaret T. Hance Park Revitalization Project was celebrated by the Hance Park Partner Coalition on Tuesday, December 15 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the “Fiesta Bowl PLAY at Hance Park.”

The 20,000-square-foot PLAY is the centerpiece of this opening phase of the park’s renovation and was made possible thanks to a $2 million legacy gift from the Fiesta Bowl and supporting partners. The grand opening of PLAY comes in conjunction with the Fiesta Bowl’s 50th Anniversary, and its community efforts will live on through this one-of-a-kind play area for millions to enjoy for years to come.

In August 2019, the Phoenix Community Alliance announced the Fiesta Bowl’s legacy gift as part of a groundbreaking ceremony for PLAY, which is located on the west side of the park. It was the first significant monetary contribution to the park’s revitalization effort.

As part of the PLAY commitment, the Fiesta Bowl has teamed up with three supporting partners: Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, BHHS Legacy Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. Those organizations have contributed as part of their missions to support healthy lifestyles and strengthen the community where we live, work and play.

“I remember breaking ground 16 months ago here at Hance Park and it’s incredible to see the playground come to life here for our community,” Fiesta Bowl Chairman of the Board Patrick Barkley said. “As we celebrate our 50th Anniversary, the Fiesta Bowl honors the commitment from our Founders in 1971 to be a community catalyst and that will continue to grow here at Hance Park for generations in the future. Our partners in Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, BHHS Legacy Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona were instrumental in this significant project.”

PLAY features a climbing wall, a separate net climbing structure, a water mist play feature and a sand play area positioned under a shade canopy. Its other unique amenities include three animal-themed play structures – a Kit Fox, Black-Tailed Jackrabbit and Great-Horned Owl. The animal play structures are made of 95 percent recycled plastic lumber and are GreenCircle Certified.

“The city is grateful to the Fiesta Bowl and its partners for this significant commitment to the Hance Park Revitalization Project,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said. “Their legacy gift jump-started this important renovation of the park, which is crucial to the ongoing revitalization and growth of downtown. It’s also exciting to celebrate this beautiful new playground for what it offers to families: a place for their kids to get outside, jump around and play during this otherwise difficult year. By masking and physically distancing, they can do it safely and have some fun!”

“Celebrating the opening of this new amenity is a thrill, and I’m grateful for the commitment of the Fiesta Bowl and its partners to make it a reality,” Phoenix District 7 Councilman Michael Nowakowski said. “Having unique features like this one, make the park a destination for residents citywide and creates a neighborhood park for those who live nearby. A vibrant and active park will also help attract families and visitors to our growing downtown for years to come.”

The Hance Park Revitalization Project is a public-private partnership led by the Hance Park Partner Coalition, consisting of the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, Phoenix Community Alliance and Hance Park Conservancy. A fundraising campaign is ongoing to generate $45 million of private funds to continue phase one.

The balance of the cost of phase 1A was funded by the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative (PPPI), which is a voter-approved sales tax that supports annual capital improvements to facilities managed by the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department.

The City of Phoenix has partnered with HargreavesJones, an award-winning international landscape architecture firm, to lead the redevelopment of Hance Park. Construction is being managed by contractor Haydon Building Corp.

“We sincerely thank the Fiesta Bowl Organization for being the lead supporter of the Hance Park Revitalization Project,” Phoenix Community Alliance Executive Director John Hamby said. “As we continue to make Downtown Phoenix a live/work/play/learn neighborhood and destination, the addition of unique amenities like the Fiesta Bowl PLAY will make Hance Park an every-day recreation opportunity for the local community and must-see destination for visitors. Every great city has a great urban park, and this sponsorship is the catalyst for a vibrant and active park that will contribute to the continued revitalization of Downtown. “