The Arizona Republic published a telling story on Encanto Park this past weekend, detailing the decay and neglect the 75-year-old park has gone through in recent years due to budget cuts, prolonged drought patterns and misuse. The reality is sad, but hardly shocking: sewage issues, increasing repairs, facility decline and some hefty storms in recent years have left the park a shadow of its former self. The article nearly decries Forbes‘ recent claim that Encanto is one of America’s top dozen or so “urban parks,” and a visit will all but confirm it. Unfortunately, upkeep has dwindled and problems have piled up. The city’s decreased budget simply doesn’t have room to fix most of the problems. None of this, by the way, has affected the crowds — it is still one of the city’s busiest weekend spots.

I’m not hating on Encanto. In fact, I prefer it to any other Central Phoenix park. I play basketball there weekly. I regularly bike through its (admittedly dwindling) shady pathways. I love the neighborhood. But, there is no denying the park and others near our Downtown are in tough times.

What parks do you frequent? Hance, Steele Indian, University, Verde, Civic Space, Central, Grant, Coronado, Monterey? All of these parks need help in some way or another. If you’d like, pitch in your suggestions for fixes, or simply let us know which park is your favorite. We all need a place to enjoy the outdoors. Let’s make sure to cherish our parks, and keep their fragile states in mind the next time we visit.


  • Si, thanks for posting this. I frequent Steele Indian School Park when I participate in Critical Mass, and I drive by Encanto all the time. I was so proud of Encanto for being on the Forbes top parks list. As a kid growing up in Mesa, I frequented Pioneer’s Park and Riverview Park and have some great memories of them. I am sorry to see the park system under such distress. Public parks are such an important part of our urban and community experience, we need to do everything we can to maintain them.