Cancer survivors park for Carlson

There’s lots to see and do at Phoenix’s Central Arts District 

We live in a very busy city. There’s more to life here than the regular hustle and bustle of a thriving city. I recently made my first visit to Phoenix’s Central Arts District near McDowell Rd. and Central Ave. After exiting my light rail train, I went to the Cancer Survivor’s Park along east McDowell Rd. What a hidden treasure. 

There are plaques offering hope to those with cancer and those who have beaten it. I especially love the sculptures around the park depicting families and an older couple walking together. 


After taking in the serenity of the park, its cactus garden and shade trees, I headed south to the Burton Barr Central Library. Although I’ve lived here for 50 years, it’s my first time inside. At five stories high, it’s impressive.  


Barr Library

Yet it’s also very peaceful. There are water features inside the library that I found very soothing. The art pieces outside were once a part of the Phoenix Civic Plaza and were removed when the plaza added a new hall. 

Barr Library art work

Phoenix Public Library Community Relations Manager Lee Franklin said thousands of  visitors rely upon the light rail to visit the library. It allows them access to an architecturally renowned building, reading materials, computers and the Internet, as well as programs that aid in pursuing college, finding a job or introducing children to the magic of reading.

There’s a fantastic collection on the state’s heritage, lifestyle and geography from ancient times to today. The library has plenty of resources and if you need help, just ask. 

Other nearby locations of interest include the Phoenix Art Museum just north of the McDowell/Central Ave station. Collections change often, so check out the museum’s web site to get the latest exhibit information at 

Phoenix Art Museum

While you’re visiting the Cultural District, check out Margaret T. Hance Park, named for Phoenix’s long-time and first female mayor. The park covers 32 acres and is located at the Deck Park Tunnel over I-10. 

The park features the Japanese Friendship Garden, McClelland Irish Library and the Phoenix Center for the Arts. The park is currently under a $100 million renovation including a west entrance lawn walk, a café plaza area and a splash pad.

There's so much more than I had anticipated at the Cultural District, and it's all just an easy stroll from the light rail platform at McDowell/Central Ave. Now that I've discovered for myself all the area has to offer, I plan to visit it as often as I can.

Hance Park Art Work
Mark Carlson
Operations Communications Specialist
Mark Carlson is an Operations Communications Specialist with Valley Metro. He brings 40 years of newsroom experience to his new position including working as a newsroom supervisor for 23 years with The Associated Press in Washington, D.C. and Phoenix. In addition to serving as a writer, editor, anchor and reporter for radio stations in Phoenix and Los Angeles, he also worked as a television assignment editor and digital news writer and editor in Phoenix and Baltimore. Mark attended Arizona State University majoring in sociology, communications and religion.