Some residents in San Tan Valley neighborhood upset over grass replacement at local park

Green grass being replaced with rocks: sounds like a small change, but it is a change at one neighborhood park in the Valley that has some people upset.

According to the Homeowners Association that manages Sandwich Park, the grass replacement was done, as a means to save money. The once grassy park, which is located in the Castlegate community in the San Tan Valley, is now covered by 500 tons of rock.

"It's a waste of space!" said resident Cassandra Edgell. "They spent all this money to put nice upgrades in, then they dumped rock on it."

Edgell said since the rock was installed, her three-year-old has hurt himself. Now, the family drive to other parks to play.

"I'm afraid now that the kids can't run and play, they're going to venture across the street to play in the grass area, which is not safe, or they're going to start playing kick ball in the neighborhood streets," said Edgell.

Officials with Oasis Community Management said the park is built on river rock, which makes it difficult to grow grass. The HOA said covering the park in rock is a cost-savings for residents, and that the new gazebo, sports courts and benches will add value, over time.

Resident Chad Hale had a less-than-flattering description of the new park.

"Now it looks like a prison Rec Yard," said Hale. "I was a correctional officer for almost four years, and now I feel like I'm in prison again."

Hale said his four kids do not want to pay in the park anymore, and he's also afraid water costs will be replaced with weed-killing fees.

HOA officials said residents had the chance to speak up at open meetings, long before the rock was installed. The HOA will hold a meeting before the end of the month.

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