Changes at Steele Indian School Park

In my time in Phoenix, I’ve always been a short walk away from Steele Indian School Park, a place that is a nice oasis in the urban sprawl. A lot has changed in the park since my arrival, and I thought these updates merited a little update on my blog as well.

Murals

I made a photo post of my favorite murals at Steele Indian School Park. I thought this was a wonderful way to spruce up an otherwise hum-drum black metal fence. Not even a couple months after my post went up the pictures came down. I thought maybe they were on a rotation and more would be coming, but as the weeks passed and the fence remained bare, I knew something was changing.

Indian School Park - Two Second Street - www.twosecondstreet.com
Overgrown weeds and old signs are all that remain.

Community Garden

I also wrote about the lovely community garden in the park’s southwest corner. Well, earlier this year, I read the sad news that the community garden was shutting down (it has since been relocated further uptown on a slightly less visible thoroughfare). The brief version of the story is that the land there is actually owned by the Department of the Interior and it was being leased to Barron Collier Companies (a Florida company I’m familiar with, as there is even a Collier County near my hometown!). The conditions of using the land were that Collier had to donate a set amount of money to a Native American college fund each year. In 2012, a local group, PHX Renews, worked with the International Rescue Committee to put in the community garden. Fast forward five years later and it turns out that Barron Collier couldn’t uphold his part of the bargain with the Department of the Interior, so they have taken the land back. And just like that, the garden was gone and the fate of the land uncertain. At the time of writing, there are no plans visible to the public for the use of that land in the park, but should anything come up, I will make the appropriate edits.

I’m relieved I was able to capture the park as I remembered it during my best times here in Phoenix. Things change frequently and unexpectedly in life, but this is one instance where my blog helped me capture the essence of a place before it changed and evolved, and for that, I am very thankful.

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