As a resident and a member of the parks and recreation board with the city of Henderson, Jim Perkins gets to observe the parks from a different perspective.
He sees it as a person who helps approve and organize the creation of new facilities, but he also comes to the table as a resident.
“I get a sense of pride,” said Perkins, vice chairman of the board. “I can go to Fox Ridge Park next to my house and see 40 or 50 people out walking their dogs. People are out enjoying their parks, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Henderson has more than 50 parks in the area, which also includes the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, dog parks various trail heads and ball fields.
According the Kim Becker, a spokeswoman with the city of Henderson, the city has made it a goal to have the best parks possible.
She said it’s also smart for economic development.
“One thing that attracts people to Henderson is the quality of life,” she said. “If we are trying to entice more businesses or people looking to relocate, we can do that.”
Having premier parks, she said, aids in that mission. As a result of investing in parks, the city has won various awards and the parks and recreation department has been accredited through the Commission for Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies.
Over the years, Henderson has received $238 million from the Bureau of Land Management as part of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act to create new parks.
Each park is funded on a case-by-case basis, and the money depends on how big it will be and the vision for what amenities will be included.
But making sure there are enough parks to accommodate the needs of residents is a lengthy process.
“Some projects are on deck for five years,” Becker said.
But other projects can be completed more quickly.
Becker said the first step in park planning is determining which area of the city has the greatest need.
“Take, for example, Cornerstone Park,” she said, referring to the newly opened park at 1600 Wigwam Parkway. “There wasn’t a park in that location.”
Then, the city does a site assessment to to determine what challenges might exist in that location, whether it crosses over to other jurisdictions or might have power lines in the area.
Becker said the most important part is community outreach.
“We invite neighbors out, usually to the site,” she said. “We have renderings. We get their input on what they might want.”
She said some of the top amenities people ask for include a dog park or a splash pad.
While some additions are easier than others — Becker said adding a dog park is fairly inexpensive — the city might not necessarily add things such as a skate park if there is another one in the area.
Once it has gathered input, the city enters the design phase.
Not all parks are created the same. Some are put on 5 acres of land, while others might be about 100 acres.
Some parks include skate parks, such and Anthem Hills, 2256 N. Reunion Drive; Cactus Wren, 2900 Ivanpah Drive; Hayley Hendrick, 811 Ithaca Ave.; Morrell, 500 Harris St.; and Tuscany, 1550 W. Galleria Drive.
But the city has also been able to get creative by adding unique amenities such as a giant puppy statue at Heritage Park, 350 E. Racetrack Road, or an archery range at Whitney Mesa Recreation Area, 1661 Galleria Drive.
“It’s our first archery range,” Becker said. “People had been asking for it for years, we just needed the right location.”
She said the city is developing archery programs for the future.
In 2013, the city opened Cornerstone Park.
The city received $16.4 million from the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act to build Cornerstone Park, which includes a 31-acre lake not suitable for swimming.
“It’s such a peaceful place,” Perkins said. “It takes you away from the hustle and bustle of the city.”
Henderson is still working on developing new parks.
Horizon Crest Park should be completed by the fall, Becker said.
The 11-acre park, which cost about $4 million and was funded by SNPLMA, is expected to include traditional amenities such as a playground, basketball court, picnic areas and a dog park.
Becker added that the city is planning to put educational kiosks to teach people about water savings and energy efficiency.
“It’s amazing to live in a community that has the best parks,” Perkins said. “It’s what sets us apart.”
For more information on Henderson parks, visit cityofhenderson.com/parks.
Contact Henerson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5201.