Tempe golf course to transform into urban farm
After nearly 19 years in operation, Rio Salado Golf Course closed its doors last month – as a golf course. Work has begun to transform the space into an urban farm and garden that could include a farmers market, community garden space, plant nursery and educational programs.
When Kemper Sports Management announced in fall 2012 that it no longer wanted to operate the golf course, the City of Tempe issued a request for proposals to find a new operator – or a new use for the space. Ken Singh of Singh Organic Soils, LLC of Scottsdale responded with the proposal to turn the course into an urban farm and garden.
The 63-acre property is located in the Indian Bend Wash outlet east of Miller Road between Curry and McKellips roads. The property is owned by the Maricopa County Flood Control District (MCFCD), which allows the City of Tempe to use the land so long as that use doesn’t interfere with flood control operations.
The Tempe City Council in May approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to sign a 10-year lease agreement with renewal options with Singh Organic Soils, LLC to develop and operate an urban agricultural garden facility. The project will be developed in phases, with initial components opening to the public in early 2015.
Arizona State University’s Engineering Projects in Community Service program, known as EPICS, is a partner in developing the project. EPICS is a national award-winning social entrepreneurship program through which teams design, build and deploy systems to solve engineering-based problems for charities, schools and other not-for-profit organizations.