About Rio Salado Foundation

The Rio Salado Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that manages historically significant restorations and economic development projects along the Rio Salado Corridor and Papago Park funding more than $18 million in projects around Tempe Town Lake and Papago Park since 2001. The Foundation is the catalyst organization and the honest broker connecting individuals with projects to facilitate their completion. Through public-private partnerships and support from the City of Tempe, major donors such as SRP, APS, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Vestar and Cox Communications, to name a few, have been instrumental in the success of our projects.

The Foundation’s projects include the relocation of the Sandra Day O’Connor House in 2010 and renovation of the grounds of the historic Hayden Flour Mill site to create a Community Venue in 2012. The Foundation also participated in a collaboration to present the Papago Park Regional Master Plan, funded the grand opening of Tempe Center for the Arts and was instrumental in establishing the Children’s Splash Playground at Tempe Beach Park as well as other funded projects.

Current projects include:

The History of Rio Salado Foundation

Rio Salado Town Lake was first envisioned in a 1966 student project at Arizona State University. In 1975, the City of Tempe adopted the project, which received a boost of support after extreme flooding in 1979 and 1980 further validated the need for a reliable flood control system. Today, a 5.5-mile stretch of the Salt River has been transformed from an eyesore to a regional recreational, cultural, and commercial destination. The lake, which is the focal point of the project, is two miles long and is surrounded by 147 acres of park and 100 acres of native habitat.

The Rio Salado Town Lake Master Plan called for a 72-acre linear park system, first-class boathouse, marina, additional recreational and educational facilities, restaurants, retail shops, office space, residences, walking and bike paths, picnic areas, aquatic activities and a Performing and Visual Arts Center. Rio Salado Town Lake, now known as Tempe Town Lake, is a major national tourist destination with an outstanding array of activities for local citizens in the greater Phoenix area as well as dramatic cultural, educational and recreational opportunities for the 2.7 million visitors each year.

After a feasibility study was completed by the City of Tempe, the Rio Salado Town Lake Foundation (RSTLF) was created in 2001 to provide ongoing coordination with the City of Tempe and the community and to help develop financial resources to support the build-out of the non-commercial areas of the master plan.

In 2007, Rio Salado Town Lake Foundation officially removed the words “town lake” from its name and became the Rio Salado Foundation (RSF) to create a broader scope and larger regional area not only to include the Rio Salado Project and Town Lake District, but also Papago Park.

Current Projects:

Completed Projects:

Supported Projects: