QUEEN CREEK – Town Councilman Jake Hoffman is being hailed for taking swift action to stop crews from turning Queen Creek’s Mansel Carter Oasis Park’s skate park into a giant sandbox.
On April 4, the Town of Queen Creek officially closed all playgrounds, skate parks, restrooms, basketball and volleyball courts. Parks remained open, but the community was “strongly encouraged to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people and maintain a six-foot distance.”
The skate park may have proved to be too much of a temptation for kids, so it appears staff took the closure one step further and began filling the pool-type skate park with sand on Sunday.
— Danielle Miller FOX10 (@Fox10Danielle) April 18, 2020
On Sunday afternoon, Hoffman posted an update on his Facebook page:
THE SAND IS BEING REMOVED IMMEDIATELY.
I am on the QC Town Council. This gross overreach was done without approval of council. There was NEVER a vote to do this. I have been communicating with the Queen Creek Town Manager since early this morning.
I told them that this was a horrible decision and that if they didn’t fix this immediately I would go down there today with a shovel and a blower to remove it myself.
Maintenance started today and I’m told will keep working until it’s done.
This was completely unacceptable. I have already begun discussions about holding the responsible staff accountable for this.
Arizona State Representative Travis Grantham called the move a “shameful display of tyranny,” and thanked Hoffman for stopping a “rogue bureaucrat.”
A shameful display of tyranny in my legislative district this weekend by a rogue bureaucrat. Thankfully, councilman @JMHoffman got on this immediately and the sand is being removed. https://t.co/4OuHjJ6niH
— Travis Grantham (@TravisGrantham) April 19, 2020
Even the Republican Party of Arizona weighed-in on the situation. Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward called on federal, state, and local elected officials to “safeguard against the risk of Arizonans’ constitutional rights being violated.”
“From Phoenix to Tucson to Flagstaff, we have seen municipal governments in Arizona impose strict ordinances that, in many respects, go far beyond the ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected’ executive order signed by Governor Ducey in March,” said Ward in a press release. “These additional restrictions imposed by municipalities must not tread upon Arizonan’s civil liberties or constitutional rights.”
The idea of filling skate parks with sand appears to have started in California earlier in the week. James T. Harris, radio show host on KFYI, called the quasi-sandbox building a “bridge too far.”