The growing Town of Queen Creek is answering the call from its residents for more parks and recreation facilities. The city celebrated the opening of the 48-acre Mansel Carter Oasis Park in 2018 and is moving forward with an ambitious master plan for recreation facilities.
The Mansel Carter Oasis Park, located at 19535 E. Appleby Road, is the town’s largest park at 48 acres and it has an additional 13 acres of land available for a second phase. The park is the first new community park in the town since Desert Mountain Park was built in 2005.
Mansel Carter Oasis Park, which was constructed by the team at Haydon Building Corp., serves many recreational needs for the Queen Creek community. It features a five-acre urban fishing lake, baseball fields, multi-purpose fields, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, shipwreck-themed splash pad, peninsula with rock waterfall, a central playground and one inclusive playground, sand discovery dig zone, pathways with fitness pods, skatepark, and picnic ramadas.
One of the outstanding innovations of the project was the fulfillment of the goal to achieve an inclusive playground – a space that would accommodate the play needs of all abilities and ages. The Team worked with a stakeholder group of local parent advocates who helped develop the park’s playground area into a truly amazing play space. To take the inclusive innovation a step further, the Town and Team developed a working partnership with Banner Ironwood Medical Center. The Banner Ironwood team donated $130,000 to fund the rubberized safety surfacing throughout the play areas and splash pad to help the Town achieve universal access and inclusivity. This public-private partnership provided innovation and a contribution that set a fantastic example for the industry and community.
Another innovation is the lake and the lakefront areas. Not only is the lake functional with its 13-foot depth and outstanding circulation for fish health and water quality/maintenance, but the aesthetics and public use areas along the lake frontage are truly unrivaled. From the many quality fishing areas along the lake edge, to the destination custom ramada zone with stunning waterfall accent, to the hilltop views across the lake itself, the MCOP lake is truly a wonderful community amenity. This lake innovation is a contribution to the industry due to the precedent of the excellence of form and function that was achieved – all with an eye toward long-term maintenance.
As the marquee feature of the park and its main source of operating income, the athletic fields and turf play areas were key to the success of this project. Well-planned and constructed athletic fields are sophisticated systems that work together to provide years of four-season play and require careful planning, design, and construction to maximize playability and minimize required maintenance.
In its Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update from 2018, the town highlights some of the projects that it is working on to provide more recreational facilities for its residents. The largest of these planned parks is the 91 acre Queen Creek Sports Complex along Signal Butte Rd., just north of Queen Creek Rd. Like the name suggests, this park would have a sports focus, with ballfields, multi-purpose fields, basketball, volleyball, tennis and pickle ball courts as well as water features, play areas, picnic areas, ramadas and more. Other parks in the planning stages include a more than 30 acre park in southeast Queen Creek and the 90 acre Eagle Park, which is a passive park for picnicking and walking.