Prescott’s ‘Central Park’ Gets Upgrades

by Kelly Tolbert, Recreation Coordinator, City of Prescott

A.C. Williams, a pioneer in Parks and Recreation in Prescott and the department’s first director, was said to have aspirations for growing present day Granite Creek Park into Prescott’s version of Central Park in New York City.

Some recent improvements have helped.

Williams said park development was important to the community because, at the time, the only recreation opportunities available were in the Prescott National Forest and the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza. Having 3 million acres of Forest Service land surrounding the city, he also said the area west of LaGuardia Bridge should be developed.

Totaling approximately 50 acres, the trees, grass and proximity to downtown are unique to Granite Creek Park.

This year, the park has received significant upgrades including the West Granite Creek Splash Park and the improved Pump Track. Partnerships and matching funds were crucial to success.

The Splash Park resulted through a new partnership with the proprietor of the Hilton Garden Inn next to the park at Sheldon and Montezuma streets. It opened in May as a tiny oasis among the shady cottonwood trees.

Additionally, two restrooms and a grassy picnic area surround the water-features element of the park. A railroad themed play structure good for ages 5 to 12 abuts the play area. Historic accounts of the area can be read on educational sign panels.

After a successful fundraising effort by Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance, the pump track near the Depot Marketplace end of the park received about $50,000 in improvements. A pump track is a system of loops, rollers, banked turn, and features designed for users to develop mountain bicycling skills.

The original pump track also was made possible by the bike alliance and was completed in April 2012. The group’s volunteers maintain the track.

These contributions are setting precedence for more improvements to the Greenways Corridor trail project to include directional signage, trail and business access, as well as surface upgrades. For ongoing project updates go to prescott-granitecreek.com.

Granite Creek Park is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the winter months and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the summer months. Additional amenities include large grass turf area, medium ramada, restrooms, barbecue grills, sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits, 2-to-5-age-appropriate playground, 5-to-12-year-old appropriate playground, day use picnic tables and a 0.5-mile walking trail.

There is are no fees r except to rent the medium ramada. More information and park map can be found at prescott-az.gov.