Buckeye’s spectacular Skyline Regional Park and the key city staff member who led its development have earned top distinctions from the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association.
Skyline Regional Park, which opened in January to tremendous reviews for its miles of scenic hiking, camping and recreation amenities, was selected as the state’s Outstanding Facility for cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000.
And Robert Wisener, Buckeye’s conservation and project manager since 2008, was selected the Outstanding Parks Professional for not only leading the planning and development of the park, but also for the in-house update of the city’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan and other accomplishments.
Buckeye Community Services Director Cheryl Sedig was pleased with the park’s selection as the top facility.
“After the years of planning and development that went into the park, it is extremely gratifying to see how the public has flocked to its beautiful setting,” Sedig said. “It has helped make Buckeye a destination for outdoor recreation in the West Valley.”
Wisener was surprised by his selection as the state’s top parks professional.
“It’s extremely rewarding to be recognized by my colleagues and peers as the 2016 Parks Professional of the Year, especially knowing how many dedicated and passionate individuals work in the field,” Wisener said.
“I’ve been fortunate to have great projects entrusted into my care. I’m also fortunate to be a part of an amazing team committed to success. Each of the projects required large amounts of support both internal and external to the organization and could not have been accomplished by myself alone.”
Skyline Regional Park, two miles north of Interstate 10 Watson Road exit, lies in an 8,675-acre swatch of federal Bureau of Land Management land in the southern White Tank Mountains. In 2010, with Wisener leading the way, the city signed a 25-year lease agreement with BLM, which will turn over the land at no cost if the city continues to responsibly develop it.
Skyline Park attracts some 10,000 visitors a week to hike, mountain bike, horseback ride, camp or picnic in the tranquil setting. In addition, plant and animal-themed hikes, meet-up hiking events, stargazing and other programs are offered.
There is no entry fee to the park, so anyone can enjoy the beauty of the Sonoran Desert and the tremendous amenities offered there. To learn more about the many features of the park visit www.skylineregionalpark.com.
The Park’s status as a recreation destination is not the only feather in the cap of Wisener, whose planning background and love of nature have bolstered his work in the city’s Community Services Department.
Wisener was a leader in the department’s successful application for accreditation from the National Recreation and Parks Association a year ago. At the same time, he took on a key role in the arduous update of the city’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
Those efforts, which saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars for accomplishing the update in-house, included two public meetings, a survey that reached some 1,300 respondents, monthly stakeholder meetings, two Buckeye City Council workshops, a public hearing before the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and dozens of presentations to interested groups.
He inventoried 592 square miles for public and private open space and researched local and national best practices in policy, funding and programming. The Plan was adopted by the City Council this past January.
In addition, Wisener serves on the board of the White Tank conservancy, a non-profit group formed to protect those mountains and provide valuable volunteer resources to offset operations and maintenance costs at Skyline Park.
Some 835 volunteer hours have already been donated by the conservancy stewards patrolling the trails and providing trailside information to park visitors.
Wisener also represents the city in its role in development of design guidelines that will ensure the protection and quality development of the 17 miles of the Gila River from the Agua Fria River west to State Route 85 in Buckeye.
About the City of Buckeye:
Founded in 1888, Buckeye was first settled as an agricultural town. Today, Buckeye is the country’s 15th fastest growing city (U.S. Census Bureau 2015). The reasons to live, do business and visit Buckeye extend well beyond its 360° horizons. Buckeye is pro-business, with easy access to major highways, a thoughtful plan for growth and miles of available land. Spanning 600 square miles, Buckeye’s vision for the future is as vast as its city limits. It’s truly one of the few remaining Arizona cities where opportunity can be seen in every direction and from virtually every vantage point. Buckeye . . . be a part of something big.