54 West Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe
Tempe Town Lake is located at 54 West Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe Arizona just north of Arizona State University and west of Mill Avenue. The lake was originally a River that was Named Rio Salado by Father Eusebio Kino, a Jesuit Missionary because it’s abnormally salty for a fresh water channel. In the 17 and 1800's Rio Salado or Salt River was responsible for many floods and even deaths in the Tempe area. /It wasn’t until the river started to dry out that ideas about creating a lake began to arise and in 1966 Dean James Elmore of the College of Architecture at Arizona State University suggested his students create a plan that would productively utilize the dry river bed. The Rio Salado project was designed and consisted of a plan that would enable Tempe to create a lake on a section of Rio Salado to be used as a recreational area. The first controversy over the Tempe Town Lake was that residents in the area were concerned that creating a recreational area that would require approximately 980 million gallons of water was not the most productive way of using a resource that is very limited in such a dry region of the country. The water for Tempe Town lake was to be acquired through a program Known as the “Central Arizona Project which was designed to bring about 1.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water per year to Pima, Pinal and Maricopa counties” (int). The second issue over the Rio Salado project was how Tempe was able to acquire such a significant amount of water for such a low price. These issues were responsible for much debate however on November 7, 1999 Tempe Town Lake officially opened after nearly 33 years of planning. /Today Tempe Town Lake is one of the most visited attractions in Arizona next to the states largest attractions like the Grand Canyon and Sedona. The Tempe town lake fact sheet states that the lake is an estimated two miles long, ranges from 800 to 1,200 feet wide and is an average of 12.5 feet deep (History). The lake has many attractions such as boating, kayaking, fishing and even sea do rentals. Along with its' on the water activities the lake also has volleyball courts, picnic areas, trails and the splash play ground. The final cost of completing the Tempe Town Lake was roughly forty five and a half million dollars, residents have mixed views on whether or not it was the proper use of funds; however one thing is for certain and that is that Tempe Town Lake is a great escape from the Arizona summers.
- Amanda Nishikubo and Daniel Munoz
Central Arizona Project: Water for Arizona's Municipal and Agriculture Needs. Web. 25 Apr. 2011. <http://www.cap-az.com/>.
"History." Tempe in Touch. Web. 25 Apr. 2011. <http://www.tempe.gov/lake/LakeHistory/HistoryFinance.htm>.