Waiting for Sunset

The addition of a large dog park and 2½ miles of trails through the sand dunes at Sunset Park’s south end in 2010 resulted in little inconvenience for the public while creating two popular amenities.

The second phase of construction, which began last August, has been more frustrating for those who love the regional park in the southeast Valley. Nearly one-third of the park’s 325 acres have been inaccessible for months, with few visible improvements. But Steve Corry, assistant director of parks and recreation for Clark County, says residents should start noticing progress with the project about halfway done and on schedule to be completed by year’s end.

Park users will be most interested in the addition of a splash-pad area, playgrounds resembling a tree house and pirate ship, and improvements to the lake—including a walking loop with exercise stations, a new pedestrian plaza, a remodeled boat dock and improved picnic shade structures. The $11.7 million project was funded by the Bureau of Land Management’s sales of federal land.

“It’s really going to be beautiful when it’s all complete,” Corry says.

The most important upgrades, though, may be the invisible ones. For the first time since the county acquired the land for Sunset Park in 1967, the park’s utility lines finally will run on an integrated system. With a variety of water and electrical lines added over the years, much of the park’s infrastructure didn’t connect, and there were even some sections of the park that lacked historical plans.

The construction will cause the Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival, which draws more than 40,000 people annually, to be relocated to Silver Bowl Park for a second straight year this October.

“We recognize that Sunset Park is one of the most popular parks in the area,” Corry says, “so we’ve tried to keep some parts open. And we’ve been pretty successful at doing that.”

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