According to City historical documents, in 1972, a 125-acre parcel of land was purchased, with a 50 percent grant from the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, for a total cost of nearly $765 thousand. The new community park was to be the premier park in the City of Tempe, which would become a "regional park" for the East Valley.
The new park was named, Kiwanis Park, to honor and recognize those leaders in the early 1970s who negotiated with the city and ensured that money was available for the ambitious development. The Kiwanis Club of Tempe gifted $25,000 as seed-money for the new development. Over the years, KCOT has continued to support this community treasure by assisting with park improvements.
Kiwanis Park, which stretches a mile from Baseline Road to Guadalupe Road along the residential end of Mill Avenue, in the middle of the City of Tempe, is one of the most heavily visited parks in the area. Kiwanis Park is a desirable venue for summer night movies and music in the park; family parties; charity walk-a-thons; community special events; and a host of athletic activities.
When the Kiwanis Park Recreation Center and its famed Wave Pool were built in the 1990s, it was noted as the first indoor wave pool in the U.S. The facility also includes a gymnasium, showers, classrooms, pool observation room, birthday party room, and other facilities. The Tennis Center next door has 15 courts and a pro shop. Batting cages are just north of the rec center.