This project was made possible in part with Federal Transportation funds administered by the Arizona Department of Transportation in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration and the City of Phoenix. Project support included $500,000 in Federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) funds administered through the Arizona Department of Transportation and $50,000 in Salt River Project Municipal Aesthetics funds. $1,550,000 was provided through Phoenix Water Services Department Percent for Art funds administered by the Phoenix Arts Commission in partnership with the Phoenix Street Transportation Department and the Phoenix Parks, Recreation and Library Department for project design and administration, community outreach and art feature construction.
The trail and landscape improvements of the Sunnyslope Canal Demonstration Project enhance the comfort and accessibility of the Arizona Canal banks as a recreational amenity for the Sunnyslope community and provide a model for canal improvements in other areas of Phoenix. Key elements of the project include enhancement of existing trails, neighborhood streets and the alternative transportation corridors of the canal banks; new landscaping and irrigation along the north and south banks of a 1.5-mile section of the canal; a continuous berm on the north bank of the Arizona Canal that delineates the pedestrian walkway and equestrian trail along the existing maintenance road from the paved bicycle path; materials and experiences that stimulate greater awareness of the environmental beauty and purpose of the canal and its surroundings; and open-air "rooms," or small plazas where trail users can rest and enjoy the canal environment. These plazas, crafted from indigenous Arizona stone, conform to the character of the canal. There are two "rooms" that feature seasonal Arizona desert grasses, one with Mulenbergia Capillaris, commonly known as "Regal Mist," and another with Pennisetum S. "Cupreum," commonly known as "Purple Fountain Grass." Another "room" serves as a sundial where a viewer can approximate time through his or her shadow upon an intricate stone mosaic. One water "room" creates a cool microclimate, and the final "room" contains a "water table" with a map of the ancient Hohokam canal system hand carved into a stone tablet.