Renovations at Hermoso Park Near Completion
Although the municipal park saw minor improvements in the early 2000s, the latest makeover includes a complete overhaul of many facilities, including the recreation center.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Chris Ewell, landscape architect for the City of Phoenix. “Most everything is brand new. There’s going to be a lot of things for kids to do and the staff is ecstatic.”
Local resident Faye Gray was especially active in encouraging the park’s renovation, prompting Phoenix City Councilperson Michael Johnson to request the new recreation center be named in her honor.
According to Ewell, original plans called for constructing a new skate area, restrooms and additional ramadas, while also updating the landscaping. But then additional funds became available after the Salvation Army returned money designated for the Kroc Center as part of the 2006 Park Bond Program.
The extra funding (which brought the budget to about $4 million) allowed for a new recreation center to be added to the construction program. The new 4,000-square-foot facility features sliding doors on the north and south sides that – when open – expand the space to about 6,000 square feet. The center was moved to the center of the park for better visibility.
Most of the landscape, the 8,000-square-foot skate plaza, restrooms and new playground will be ready in October. The recreation center will open in early November.
The new Faye Gray Recreation Center – designed by local architecture firm Holly Street Studios – has expanded supply storage, an arts and crafts area and a warming kitchen. The new teen room includes a large-screen television, video games, pool table and foosball table. The youth room has another large television for movies and videos games, as well as a bumper pool table, ping pong table and many board games.
A small computer lab features six laptops and Wi-Fi.
The new recreation center will host special events. So other new additions include a popcorn machine, snow cone machine and plug-ins to power an inflatable screen for movie nights in the park.
“This is a place for kids to go and do what they do to succeed at school, but also have fun and just be kids,” Ewell said. “These changes are really going to energize the park.”
The City of Phoenix will announce an official grand-opening date soon.
(Photos: Above, architect’s rendering. Below, Faye Gray and construction at the park.)