Site plans show city’s vision for new park in The Lakes

The city is planning a new 8.47-acre park in the Lakes at Rancho El Dorado that will include two new Little League ball fields, concessions, restrooms, a playground and picnic ramada. [City of Maricopa]

Site plans for the now-approved 8.47-acre park in The Lakes at Rancho El Dorado show two Little League ball fields, with room for a third.

The land, at the southwestern corner of North Powers Parkway West and West Placone Lane, will be home to two new Little League baseball fields with 225-foot fences. The fields are necessary to relieve a space crunch on fields across the city.

Plans also reveal additional open space, an entry pavilion and plaza, concession area with restrooms, playground, picnic area with a 20-by-20-foot ramada, multiple turf areas outside the ballfields and parking for approximately 120 cars.

The site recently was changed from single-family residential zoning to parks and recreation, to gain open space, in part, to address economic consequences of a field shortage.

“Little League has been operating for over a decade on softball fields and struggles to provide practice space based on the demand other organizations – including city-run programs – have on the field inventory,” said Nathan Ullyot, the city’s parks and recreation director. “Little League serves our residents, so providing that space is a huge priority for us. However, when Little League games are being played on Saturdays, it takes the space away from possible tournament rentals that could utilize the complex.

“In 2021 alone, we estimate the economic impact of our tournament reservations at $4.1 million. So, having space for our residents to play ball means space for people to come play ball and spend money in our city.”

The land for the fields was donated to the city by Lakes developer METRO RED-1 LLC, Meritage Homes of Arizona and the Rancho El Dorado Phase III Homeowners Association.

The development agreement states that the HOA has agreed to dedicate the park site to the city, which will develop and maintain the park and fields. Metro and Meritage have agreed to pre-pay parks and recreation development fees by making $800,000 in cash contributions to the city, to be used toward development of the park site.

The park is smaller than most city parks, but the donation and the city’s need called for action.

“In general, most city parks will be 30-plus acres,” Ullyot said “But this opportunity was a smart financial decision and let us meet the need of our city faster.”