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Brandi Fenton Memorial Park

Brandi Fenton Memorial Park Pima County

3482 East River Road
Tucson, AZ 85718

Explore Brandi Fenton Memorial Park

Park hours: 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Visitor Center hours: Tuesday - Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • antique fair
  • covered basketball court

Two covered basketball courts are available for basketball events by reservation through the field coordinator. Please call 877-6120. The half-size sunny court is first come, first served.

  • dog park

Located in the east part of park, easily accessible from Dodge Boulevard.

  • drinking water
  • environmental education
  • equestrian facilities

Equestrian area is scheduled through the staff at the visitors center. Please call 232-1201.

  • exercise stations
  • hiking/walking
  • historic site
  • horseshoes
  • lighted sports fields
  • picnic area
  • playground
  • ramadas

Ramada B, D, and E are by the play area, G is east of the visitor center, all have electricity.
Call 877-6211 or email to reserve, fee is $25 for the full day.

Ramada A is at the south end of the commons and memorial garden. There is no grill and the fee is $25 for the full day.
The Ramada at the equestrian area is called the hay barn, fee is $50 for the full day.
Call 232-1201 ONLY to reserve Ramada A, the commons, the equestrian area or the hay barn ramada.

  • restroom
  • soccer fields

Use of the three athletic fields is scheduled by NRPR's field coordinator. Please call 877-6120.

  • splash pad

Splash Park is available from mid-April until October 31 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

  • wildlife viewing

About the Park

The 56.7-acre Brandi Fenton Memorial Park (BFMP) is in Pima County, north of the Rillito River at the new River Road and Alvernon Way intersection. Pima County has created a unique park that balances the need for public recreation while retaining the character of the Binghampton Rural Historic Landscape through a collaborative effort involving citizens, elected officials, and Pima County staff. 

The park�s scope includes three soccer fields, covered basketball courts, shade ramadas, an equestrian arena and facilities, horse shoe pits, a play ground, a splash park, an off-leash dog park, walking paths, a fitness course, and a memorial garden at the visitor center. Also, BFMP hosts community programs such as local art displays and Breast Cancer Boot Camp and environmental education programs on topics like historic agricultural practices, current water usage, and riparian restoration.

Environmental Considerations

As a major watercourse through the Tucson metropolitan area, the Rillito River forms an uninterrupted corridor along which wildlife can move. Additionally, the historically shallow groundwater along the Rillito supported extensive stands of riparian vegetation. 

Though much of this vegetation has been removed or died due to lowered water tables, Pima County and other public agencies have initiated several projects to reestablish riparian habitat along the river. As these habitat restoration projects mature, they will serve to enhance the biological value of the corridor.

The establishment of Brandi Fenton Memorial Park will complement the biological enhancement of the river corridor. The park will serve to keep as open space nearly 60 acres of adjacent land. Most of the park site was previously cleared of native vegetation as part of historic farming and ranching operations. As such, there are no large stands of undisturbed vegetation to be preserved. 

Please see below the unique nature of this registered National Historic Landscape. There are, however, individual native plant specimens that have volunteered on the site. As part of the detailed design and engineering phase of the project, these plants were evaluated in accordance with Pima County Native Plant Preservation ordinances to determine if they should be preserved-in-place, transplanted, or removed. 

Many of the existing mature trees were salvaged either in place, or relocated within the park boundaries. Extensive additional planting was designed to enhance the preserved vegetation, all irrigated with reclaimed water sources. Within the park the installation and maintenance of native upland and riparian plant species will serve to enhance the site�s habitat value. And, as stated above, programs on environmental issues will serve to educate the community.

Historic Restoration / Preservation

Brandi Fenton Memorial Park is located on the alluvial flood plain of the Rillito River, one of the principal water courses through the Tucson Basin. The relative abundance of water on the site has created conditions favorable to human habitation and use. 

Pre-historic native cultures, early Anglo settlers, and more recent residents of the basin have lived on, cultivated, and used the land for a variety of human endeavors. As a result, the area contains a range of pre-historic and historic cultural resources.

Due to the presence of existing cultural resources including structures (homes, barns, and other buildings), irrigation canal remnants, cleared agricultural field plots, hedgerows, and landscape plantings, certain lands within and surrounding the area were nominated for the National Register by Pima County and, after more than a decade of work by committed community members, thus designated as a historic rural landscape in May 2003. 

In aggregate, these features convey to the public the history of human use of the site. Approximately 427 acres of land, including the entirely of the BFMP, are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Binghampton Rural Historic Landscape, a first in Pima County. From the onset, Pima County developed the BFMP conscience of the area�s historic landscape designation, with historical preservation and interpretation as a primary goal.

To respect and interpret the history of the site, Pima County worked toward the following goals. Preserving existing historic structures on the site through renovation and adaptive re-use. Preserving existing landscape and site features on the site that contribute to the site�s historic character. Installing interpretive signs and displays that convey the site�s history to park visitors. Developing interpretive and educational programs related to the history of the site. 

Re-establishing stone-fruit and nut orchards within the park site. Planting field crops that can be grown in conjunction with on-going educational and interpretive programs. Programming, a classroom building, and greenhouse for the implementation of educational interpretive programs related to historic and contemporary agriculture for the next phase of construction.

Existing historic structures on the site were preserved through renovation and adaptive re-use such as the old Davidson House which will serve as an area for historical interpretation, public use, and office space. Other historical resources that have been preserved include the Post Residence, now the Caretaker House; the Garcia Residence, now the Visitor Center; the McKee Residence, now the Operations & Maintenance Facility; the Hay Barn, now the Equestrian Area Grandstand Shade Structure; and the stable, now the storage building adjacent to the playground area. Additionally, exhibits in the park provide historical information and interpretation for visitors.

Community Relations

Brandi Fenton Memorial Park has been above all a cooperative, community effort, with a variety of funding sources, both public and private. On March 2, 2005, the Pima County Board of Supervisors named the park �Brandi Fenton Memorial Park at the Binghampton Historic District� to honor and commemorate the life of a young Pima County citizen who died tragically in an accident at the age of thirteen. 

As a way of honoring Brandi�s remarkable but all too brief life, the Fenton family initiated a public � private partnership, the Brandi Michelle Fenton Foundation, to advocate for and help fund, the development of this park. The organizers of the Private Fund Raising Activities have many reasons to be commended. Through their efforts they have provided the most private sector money for a park project in a very long time. 

This first phase of development was larger and accomplished on an accelerated schedule due to the efforts and support of the Foundation.

BFMP serves as a major recreation / open space node along the Rillito River corridor. Along the Rillito and other major watercourses Pima County has developed, and continues to develop, a system of linear parks. These river parks are in-and-of themselves a valued recreation resource. 

They also serve to connect other parks, community facilities, schools, and residential neighborhoods. This Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Department Project involved the construction of a paved shared-use path, landscape development, and other improvements along the north bank of the Rillito River, from Campbell Avenue to Dodge Boulevard. 

A portion of the river park will abut the BFMP site. This project is of significance to the park in that it will facilitate pedestrian, bicycle, and equestrian access to the park via completed portions of the Rillito River Park and connecting trails.

Urban growth of the Tucson metropolitan area over the past century has contributed to an acute need for public park facilities; historically, Binghampton was founded 7 miles north of Tucson. More recent residential developments to the north and established residential neighborhoods to the south of the Rillito River Bend area have been historically underserved in terms of park and recreational facilities. BFMP has helped to correct these community deficiencies.

Beat Cancer Boot Camp

Beat Cancer Boot Camp provides an opportunity for education and mentoring, a chance to meet new people, share stories, set goals, build strength and stamina, and take charge of your health. The office is in the southwest corner of the visitors center. 

There are monthly lunch and supper meetings, an overnight retreat, and workshops and lectures on nutrition and wellness. The Boot Camp exercise course is at Ramada G. For more information check or call 546-1601.

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