Bring back swimming to Tempe Beach Park?

By:  Dick Foreman  / City Council Candidate and your Tempe neighbor!

So I just got home from the Tempe Settlers picnic and what a blast to see so many great Tempe faces and hear so many great Tempe stories. Special thanks to Joel Navarro, who I know serves on the board that puts this together, and of course, the one and only Joe Spracale and so many others!

Many of the stories I so enjoyed listening to this afternoon had to do with the “old” Tempe Beach Park. Of course, as Joe will remind us, it was a park, picnic area and pool along the mighty Salt River; not really a beach. It certainly looked very different in those days but what great memories Tempeans have of it! I believe the original concept of Tempe Beach Park can make a comeback. I’ve discussed this with quite a few folks, will be discussing a lot more in the city council campaign to come, but thought I’d share this thought here.

Tempe Town Lake is a marvelous facility. World class events happen here, tourists flock to the lakeside and event planners rub their hands in glee at the thought of locking in a Fall/Winter/Spring weekend for good reason. People love to come here to play and participate in Tempe and on Town Lake. But I’m thinking that Town Lake has a ways to go to recapture some of the magic of the past. Tempe Beach Park. That was magic!

I will be exploring the feasibility of the City actually opening up a beach for our use and ensuring that it is available to Tempe kids and families the most. In other words, no roping it off for special events, but focusing on keeping it open as much as possible for all our families and neighbors to enjoy.

How is that possible? I think it is possible if we use some sort of easy to put in place, easy to take down, water curtains that would separate Town Lake with a thin sheet of material between anchored pylons so that we could properly treat and maintain a high level of water quality that met all swimming standards for the designated area, maybe an acre or less, with a real sandy beach leading into it. For flood control operations, the barrier could easily be removed to permit the passing of flood waters. The sand might need maintenance after such an event, but the cost of that for the benefit derived would be the real deal for Tempe families.

What do you think? Is it worth taking advantage of this beautiful lake by ensuring that our tax dollars are well used to open up lake activities to everyone? Would you like to see some of the old town charm of Tempe restored with a focus on picnics, families and enjoying a day at “the beach?”

Do you have ideas you’d be willing to share to help make this happen? Councilmember Shekerjian has already agreed to help me look into this with staff but this isn’t intended to be an exclusive club of researchers. The more the merrier. Hope this gets your thoughts flowing, too. And if you need more  validation of the merits of a real Tempe Beach, you might talk to some of the “old settlers” I met with today. They can regale you with the value, the memories and the beauty of such a facility.

Bring back Tempe Beach Park!

Dick Foreman
City Council Candidate and your Tempe neighbor