Since Tempe Town Lake’s opening in 1999, it has attracted an array of people for boating, fishing, special events, and even just enjoying the view. It is Arizona’s second-most visited public attraction, bringing in more than 2.7 million visitors annually.
With a project led by the Rio Salado Foundation, the lake’s popularity likely will reach new heights. The plan is to build a facility next to the marina called the Arizona Boathouse and Welcome Center — a building with boat and equipment storage, lake access, and multipurpose meeting spaces and offices.
Rio Salado Foundation Executive Director Kim Knotter says the new building will draw visitors to the lake with information on all programs, permits and class sign-ups.
“The much needed Boathouse and Welcome Center will give our boating clubs and programs a home for meeting space, shade and the increasingly popular competitions and events,” she says.
A major goal of the new facility is to provide more solid support to current programs at the lake, such as Youth Rowing, Paddling and Fishing, in which underprivileged and at-risk students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of water-based recreation activities.
“Success takes a community for a project like this,” Knotter says. “It takes enthusiasm, drive and tenacity.”
The project is still in the conceptual phase, with drawings by Davis Design. The Rio Salado Foundation would like to wrap up fundraising for the project’s $5 million budget this year and begin the building process in 2018. Other major donors include the Salt River Project, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Community, Transwestern and the city of Tempe.