TTL Turns Tumultuous Twenty

By Mike Ferring

It was never supposed to be quite like this, but 20 years after water gurgled into the ditch that was the Salt River along  the 202, the small body of water that became Tempe Town Lake is still a key part of Arizona Yacht Club sailing. Now the lake is attracting massive real estate development to twist and snuff out lake breezes, but is paying off Tempe’s gamble to spend perhaps $450 million for a bit of water in the desert.

This Saturday, November 9, Tempe will stage a birthday party and you’re invited.

Tempe Town Lake Boating Coordinator Ryan Allison reports that the 20th Anniversary Celebration will run from 11am-4pm, with opportunities to try everything from free boating activities and exercise classes to a rock wall and zipline. He says, “The lake will be staged with activities on both sides from the marina all the way west to the pedestrian bridge.”

The entire marina parking lot will be closed to all public parking from 5am-4pm. After 8am, the marina gates will open to permit parking only. If you plan to boat out of the marina that morning you will have to park offsite at the Arizona Heritage Center off of College Ave or under the 202 off Lakeview Drive.

Ryan says, “If you’re planning to take out your personal watercraft on this day, during these hours, please be patient as parking and lake access will be extremely busy. The lake itself will also be very busy with boating from Rural west to the pedestrian bridge. Boating east of rural will likely be a good option with less traffic.”

Like to know more about the history of this section of the river? The Arizona Republic has put together a nice retrospective tracing the lake from beginning to its position as the second-most-visited tourist attraction in the state, after the Grand Canyon. Click here to read about it.

Lasers cluster downwind with some of the TTL real estate development in the background. Photo: Mike Ferring