Daley Park, located halfway between Broadway and Apache on the east side of College Avenue, with it’s close relationship to ASU and the family neighborhoods branching off of College’s busy human-powered thoroughfare can host an array of activity. There is an endless stream of bicycle, skateboard, in-line skating, running, walking and also regular pedestrian traffic, not to mention the “Jupiter“ Orbit route which ferries a bustling load of passengers along the way.
And while there is an ample dose of parents and children at the playground and college kids hoofing a shortcut through the lawn there is also a healthy smattering of transients that accumulate around the restrooms and covered picnic areas; they are generally out of the way, however the occasional drunken dispute can erupt into verbal fisticuffs, which certainly doesn’t add to the ambience, but flavor is flavor, no matter how unsavory. Am I right? As a result, the park is a definitive breezeway, teeming on a Saturday afternoon with a broad assortment of people and events. This is never good nor bad, but unique and different according to our fitness intentions, so while it may be perfect to recreate socially, it may not if you are simultaneously tending to children with less intensive supervision. As for me and mine, we love a “colorful“ bum and celebrate a long and noisy train, albeit not every time ;).
Spread through the park are several recreation features: multiple picnic benches (useful for incline pushups and tricep dips), three of which are covered, a sand playground with one large, connected, multi-dimensional playset (which I’ve found to be somewhat useless for our purposes), a two-hoop basketball court, double sand volleyball courts, two softball fields, and a fenced-in multiple horse-shoe pit (quite unique). In addition, there is plenty of shade provided by an assortment of sturdy old trees, one of which, the “octopus tree“, is a familiar landmark to anyone who grew up in Tempe. There are scattered water fountains and a centrally-located restroom, indispensable to the hapless parent-with-potty-trained-toddler.
With it’s proximity to the Broadmor neighborhoods due south of here, ASU campus to the north and the downtown just a bit further there is a sense of grass-rooted, urbanized public space at work here. The railroad further traces an industrial thread through this park that sets it apart from others. You will not-with the exception of Kiwanis- encounter a more densely trafficked area for activity in season (February to April). To this end, Daley is a sort of community social garden, a confluence of Tempe’s varied personalties.
We will find much to do here, but as a focused fitness center, there is much lacking, or stifled, due to certain aspects of its design. Daley seems to serve as a descriptive location for, on the one hand, it has ideal placement along the central corridor (College Avenue) of Tempe’s burgeoning self-propelled traffic, but also due to its shortcomings as a fitness hub.
The ride to Daley:
and the name of the game is “ParkCourt”
No two parks are alike. In this uniqueness a collective pride in our local parks may be conceived and an appreciation for each park’s distinctive fitness landscape arises. Parks have many aspects explicitly designed for leisure and lounging, but recreation for the atonement of strength and beauty implicitly aspires toward something great, something beyond the steel machines and hamster wheels, something that should not have a monthly bill attached to it. Come with me now. The fire rises!