Ask the Editor

How many sports fields does Scottsdale need?

Posted 9/4/20

While there are numerous parks and sports fields across the city, last year there were nearly 50 requests for sports facilities Scottsdale’s parks and recreation department couldn’t …

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Ask the Editor

How many sports fields does Scottsdale need?


While there are numerous parks and sports fields across the city, last year there were nearly 50 requests for sports facilities Scottsdale’s parks and recreation department couldn’t accommodate.

Now the city is hoping $40 million of voter-approved funds on a field and park complex in northern Scottsdale near Bell Road and 94th Street will help it earn a bit more money in facility rentals and provide a place for a burgeoning number of requests for places for teams and leagues to practice and play.

City officials say in 2019, there were 49 full facility event requests — for reservations of sports fields or courts — that went unfulfilled.

During August, Scottsdale city planners solicited public input about one of the 2019 bond projects — multiuse fields in the area of Bell Road — as they prepare to design and construct 13 full-size fields.

Within the FAQ’s of the project, officials state these ball fields are needed and a waitlist exists for people who want access to Scottsdale’s fields.

The fact piqued my interest.

When thinking about the parks and fields across the city — Scottsdale Sports Complex, Cholla Park, Grayhawk Park — to a lay person there are a lot of options! However, I’m also not one of the parents trying to book field time for my child’s Little League team, and being told the facilities are full.

When I checked with the city, I learned there are 19 flat fields such as for soccer, lacrosse and football:

  • 10 at Scottsdale Sports Complex;
  • 1 at Paiute Park;
  • 1 at Eldorado Park;
  • 1 at Chaparral Park
  • 1 at Mountain View Par; and
  • 2 at McDowell Mountain Ranch Park.

In 2018, the Scottsdale Sports Complex had 27 official full facility requests they could not accommodate, Parks and Recreation Director Reed Pryor said.

Data online shows the cost of renting the entire complex is $1,700 — had more field space been available, $45,900 more in facility fees could have been collected in 2018.

Further, in the spring and fall of 2018, there were five organizations that Scottsdale was unable to accommodate for any seasonal or hourly reservations. And, five more groups throughout the year were only given a portion of what they requested.

The parks and rec director points to the possibility of even higher amounts of groups seeking Scottsdale fields.

“Keep in mind, that these numbers do not include any groups who called in, found out that we were full, and didn’t end up submitting a reservation request,” Mr. Pryor said in his email.

In 2019, there were 49 full facility event requests through the parks’ system that were unable to be accommodated. Mr. Pryor says some groups submitted requests for multiple weekends within a month just trying to get one.

In fall 2019, five organizations did not get any field time at the Sports Complex.

Further, only three organizations got the exact number of fields they need in fall 2019. Four additional organizations got some of the fields they needed.

For youth allocations, Mr. Pryor says most years the average is around 10,000 hours of field allocation to youth organizations, which include club and recreational teams such as soccer or football.

“For the last several years 2018, 2019, and 2020, our total hours requested for field space is a little over 25,000 hours,” Mr. Pryor said. “The additional fields will provide us more flexibility and reserved times for use.”

Details of the bond project

The city’s plans for sports fields in the area of Bell Road is to build up to 13 full-size multiuse sports fields.

Language on the city’s website states the fields will: meet increased demand for lighted sports fields in the community; create the ability for Scottsdale to host larger tournaments; and increase revenue.

Additionally, the fields will be used as parking for special events a few weeks each year. Currently, parking for large events such as Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction and the Waste Management Phoenix Open is placed on Arizona state land that eventually will be sold and no longer available.

The budget for the voter-approved bond project is $40 million.

The first phase of the project will focus on the Bell Road Sports Complex, located on Bell Road just west of 94th Street. This phase will include six full-size multiuse sports fields; parking; lights; restrooms; a plaza and covered ramada; a walking path; and maintenance facility.

The second phase will focus on the WestWorld Sports Complex at Thompson Peak Parkway and McDowell Mountain Ranch Road.

Proposed plans show up to seven fields being built at this location.

The city will need to acquire additional land from the state and private property owners to achieve installing all seven fields at this site.

It is currently working on acquiring the land. Once that has been completed, formal design will begin, the city website states.

If the city is unsuccessful in acquiring the land, Scottsdale will need to find an alternate location for the remaining fields.

The $40 million budget includes purchasing land, designing, and constructing necessary reclaimed water, sewer and drainage improvements and service lines to accommodate water delivery to the recreation fields. Additionally, any unimproved street frontages, sidewalks, will be completed as a requirement of improving the fields.


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