SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A $4 million dog park isn't cheap.
But it's cheaper than $6 million.
That's how much a dog park planned for Thompson Peak Park in Scottsdale is estimated to cost.
Voters approved the dog park back in 2019 as part of a series of bonds for public construction projects. At the time, the budget was proposed at about $4 million. That included the cost of building the dog park and infrastructure, as well as a cushion in case costs changed.
And change they did.
"With all of our project budgets, we factored in a pretty healthy contingency amount," City Manager Dan Worth said. "Usually enough to cover a couple of years of cost increases."
But while consumer inflation went up about 9%, Worth says the cost of construction and materials skyrocketed to 19%— after the bonds had been approved, but before any construction could be started.
The dog park is not gold-plated, there's no valet parking or other expensive amenities. The original $4 million budget, as well as the new budget, includes clearing a desert lot that currently has nothing on it. There is also runoff management work to do, landscaping to plan, a bridge to build over a wash and a new parking lot for the increased number of visitors. On top of that, the city needs to put in a new turn lane on Hayden Road. None of that was expected to be cheap.
“It just keeps going up," Scottsdale City Councilman Barry Graham said. "You look at the cost of labor, you look at the cost of materials and then you hear all this stuff about supply chain."
Graham said the dog park isn't the only project that has become drastically over budget.
The bond measures included more than 50 other construction projects: the cost for all of them is tens of millions of dollars more than estimated and more than the bonds cover.
Graham and Worth said the city has rearranged money to cover some of the difference, but not all of it.
"Everybody with the luxury of, you know, hindsight would say, why couldn't you have all done all those projects before the pandemic?" Graham said. "I wish we had."
But as a city construction project, the dog park was never going to move fast. There are public comment periods, design phases, contracts to approve and builders to choose.
The dog park, proposed in 2019, wasn't supposed to be finished until 2025. It's still on track, Worth said — just at a much higher price.
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