Desert Sky Park in Gilbert

A 3.5-acre irrigation lake is a visual lynch pin for the new Desert Sky Park in Gilbert.

A 3.5-acre irrigation lake, four playing fields with sports lighting and an American-Ninja warrior-style obstacle course will greet visitors this week when Gilbert unveils the first phase of Desert Sky Park.

The debut comes on the heels of the September grand opening of phase one of the town’s 272-acre regional park – its largest recreational amenity to date.

Construction cost for phase one of the “fitness-centered recreation space” came in at just over $20 million, according to town spokeswoman Jennifer Harrison.

“Future phases of the park are estimated to cost $51 million in construction costs,” Harrison said.

The town, for now, has identified paying for the park with park bonds and system development fees that are collected at the time a building permit is issued for residential, commercial and other non-residential development to help pay for growth.

Residents can begin reserving fields at Desert Sky in January.

Harrison said the next phase of Desert Sky is scheduled for Fiscal Year 2024 and that it hasn’t been determined yet how many phases the planned 115-acre park between Pecos and Williams Field roads will have.

“The park is scheduled to complete design work on the remaining amenities of the park in Fiscal Year 2021,” Harrison said.

When built-out, some of the park’s    potential amenities include 12 more multi-use fields, a dog park and a playground.

The town broke ground on the park located in the far southeast corner of Gilbert in June 2018.  

The park is being built within the Rittenhouse Basin as part of an intergovernmental agreement between the Maricopa County Flood Control District and the town.

The park was initially known informally as Rittenhouse District Park until residents last year helped pick its new name.

Despite Desert Sky boasting 16 sports fields when completed, Gilbert will still lag behind the demand.

A 2015 Needs Assessment at the time found the town’s inventory of over 40 sports fields fell short of meeting the community’s needs.

The study further noted that when the town reaches build-out about in 2030, the demand for playing fields will be greater. 

The future demand includes six more youth baseball fields, three more youth softball fields, two adult softball fields, 12 more soccer fields, seven more football fields and one cricket field, according to the study.

The Public Safety Training Facility is currently under construction next to the park.