Alwun House Foundation park moves through subcommittee

A city council subcommittee approved funding for a park that is planned to be built near the Alwun House Foundation, located at 1204 E. Roosevelt St. The measure is now pending final approval by city council. (Nick Serpa/DD)

The Phoenix City Council’s Sustainability, Housing, Efficiency and Neighborhoods Subcommittee voted to approve funding for the Alwun House Foundation’s Green Art Park on Tuesday.

The vote will send the measure to the full council. If approved, the grant will contribute $100,000 to the park from the city’s Community Development Block Grant, which provides federal funds for revitalization of neighborhoods in Phoenix.

The foundation is run out of the Alwun House in Phoenix’s historic Garfield neighborhood, helping enhance the community through art.

If constructed, the park will be located on the two lots adjacent to the Alwun House near Roosevelt and 12th Streets.

Kim Moody, who started the foundation in 1971, said the plan is to add landscaping and a parking lot to the two lots and convert them into a space for community use. Moody said the landscaping will use Sonoran desert plants which do not require much water in addition to trees that provide shade.

“We want to create the full ambience of a garden, as we have at the Alwun House,” he said.

Once opened, they expect to use the garden for a variety of community events such as yard sales and community movie nights. There are also plans to allow food trucks to use the parking lot.

Moody said the $100,000 from the city is crucial to the project, adding to the $200,000 the foundation will contribute

Dana Johnson, president of the Alwun House Foundation board, said he is excited that the subcommittee passed the measure.

“It’s one more step, getting through the bureaucracy,” Johnson said.

He said the city’s approval process for the park has been slow, and he expected it to be built by now.

“I have stopped predicting [when the park will be built]. I’m just going with the flow,” he said.

He said so far the plans have met no opposition in the city’s bureaucratic process, only compliments.

Johnson said the plans for the park include input from residents of the neighborhood on what they would like to see, including items such as fences that can be seen through for safety reasons.

Roberto Fritz, a Phoenix city employee who oversees revitalization efforts in the Garfield neighborhood said the Alwun House has been providing a venue for community events for years, and hopes the park helps continue bring the community together.

“One of the things that Kim and Dana, and the Alwun House, have been great about, is bringing community together through the arts,” Fritz said.

He hopes the parking lot will also help alleviate the lack of parking at the Alwun House. He said people often have to park elsewhere and use a shuttle service or park on the streets in the neighborhood to get to the Alwun House’s events.

Fritz said once the park is open, he would like to see a farmer’s market held at the park.

“It could be used by residents to come out and maybe have a little bazaar, where they’re selling goods and crafts,” Fritz said.

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