Park honors Esquer legacy

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City parks are designed as havens of nature and outdoor recreation for families living hectic urban lifestyles.

But Tempe’s newest park is also a tribute to the Esquer family, whose long history there helped to shape the development of this university town.

Tempe officials formally dedicated Esquer Park in October. The park is on McArthur Drive in Victory Acres, one of the city’s oldest Latino-settled neighborhoods. Eduardo and Rita Esquer moved there in the 1940s, and started a family legacy of being involved in the community.

Victory Acres residents asked for the park in 1999 after the Price Freeway segment of Loop 101 split the neighborhood and cut it off from the park on the west side of the freeway.

Esquer Park boasts Tempe’s first BMX facility, and includes basketball courts and a splash playground.

Elias Esquer, a retired Arizona State University professor, and his retired attorney wife, Cecilia, are among Tempe’s highest profile couples. Married more than 40 years, these community activists have influenced public policy at the state, county and city levels. In 2003, they were inducted into Valle de Sol’s Profiles of Success Hall of Fame.

Elias says the park honors all the Esquers, many of whom still live in Tempe. He also thanks long-time amigo and Tempe Councilman Ben Arredondo for nominating the family for this special recognition.

“They love the idea,” Elias says, his voice filled with family pride. “We are honored.”

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