[Source: Kristina Parma, East Valley Tribune] -- Strollers along portions of the Valley’s canal system now have the opportunity to learn a little history. Salt River Project has begun installing a series of interpretive signs, which will run from Phoenix to Scottsdale along state canals, said SRP spokesman Jeffrey Lane. He said there will be 24 signs installed over an 18-month period. The signs are aimed at educating the public about the history of the canals, said SRP analyst Jim Duncan. “Each sign conveys historic information about what used to be here and how things have changed,” Duncan said. The series will cost about $100,000 for design, fabrication and installation, he said. The canal system is part of the Valley’s history, Lane said. He said it has been around for almost a century.
The first canals were made by the Hohokam people and they were smaller and built by hand, Lane said “The canals we have today are much larger, but they follow roughly the same contours,” he said. The project is a joint venture between SRP and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, as well as the state Historic Preservation Office, Duncan said. The first two signs were installed in Mesa and Gilbert, respectively, Lane said. A third sign was put in last Wednesday along the Western Canal in Tempe. The next sign is set to be installed on the South Bank at 64th Street. Duncan said the interpretive sign in Mesa was the first one installed and was put about one-quarter mile west of Horne Road in February. The sign in Gilbert was added in the spring about one-half mile south of Guadalupe Road, Duncan said. The next series of signs will be installed in Tempe over the next two weeks, Lane said.