Forty years ago, a man of vision stood on the tarmac of an abandoned military airfield and looked across rising heat waves. Where most people saw useless desert, Robert P. McCulloch saw a thriving community. People from across the country came to see this planned community and buy a piece of the dream. McCulloch made international news in 1968 with the purchase, transport, and reconstruction of the London Bridge. Only in the last few years did the county forgive the city unpaid taxes for the land under water when the channel was dredged creating the island.
Today Lake Havasu City, Arizona has over 50,000 residents enjoying McCulloch’s dream. McCulloch planned for everything except parks. The Lake Havasu City Neighborhood Parks Foundation had a plan and contacted the Lake Havasu Association of REALTORS® for assistance. While preparing a regional park needs assessment, a Neighborhood Parks Foundation was put into place to seek support from civic organizations, business sponsors, and personal bequests. The Association agreed with the citizens in 2002 who voted to accept the city’s General Plan which included directives to bring more “green space” to Lake Havasu City and chose to get involved.
The decision was made in September 2005 to sponsor a new park on 2.5 acre city parcel (an old water drill site), with a beautiful view of the lake and mountains, in an area of town where approximately 100 children live in an 8 square block area. The LHC Neighborhood Parks Foundation and the LH Association of REALTORS® worked hard to make this park a reality, working to give back to the community—enhancing neighborhood values and their quality of life. Building a city park is hard work. Many volunteers were involved and enough can’t be said for both real estate agencies and individual agents who donated money along with city businesses who chose to step up and discount or donate their services to make it happen.
There were many fond experiences from the build and planning which made this park special from the other few neighborhood parks.
There is a special area for a group of children-playing statues. The story behind this was an 8 yr old boy helped in our groundbreaking but succumbed to brain cancer two weeks later. On national Make A Difference Day later that year while the park build was underway, we placed the statues and a plaque “We would like to think when you see the shadows, it’s Tyler playing in our midst.” It worked perfectly against the backdrop of a neighbor’s wall.
National Arbor Day 2006 the City featured the park for the planting of an area of seedlings by children and friends of the park effort.
In our desert environment, we have issues with monsoons. Our storm run off is moved via washes. The west side of the parcel borders Pima Wash. Volunteers came out on two weekends to create walking paths so people on either end of neighborhood could walk up instead of going all the way around. During that same period, others debrushed the parcel grounds appreciating the value of sweat equity under the cooler temperatures of the winter months, enjoying the view of snow in the foothill mountain tops.
A unique feature of the park is the center cool top mister. Six months of the year temperatures range from 90-120 degrees. Who couldn’t enjoy standing under the shade topper and hitting the button for a cool mist.
May we each discover — with people’s help today, we can improve our city’s tomorrow.
Ground Breaking Ceremony