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Some $900,000 in lottery money — in the form of five grants from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) — will help Jefferson County improve parks, playgrounds, trails and recreation areas.
Foothills Parks and Recreation District received a $350,000 grant to build an inclusive playground at Clement Park; the City of Wheat Ridge received $350,000 to renovate Prospect Park; the City of Arvada received a $75,000 grant to create a master plan for the Clear Creek Corridor; Jefferson County received a $75,000 grant to plan future trails; and Prospect Recreation and Park District received a $50,000 grant to update its master plan.
Wheat Ridge will use its grant to enhance Prospect Park. Nearly 45,000 residents and visitors use the park annually, and renovating it has been a top priority, according to city officials. The enhancements will provide more opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to enjoy the park.
Prospect Park, at 44th Avenue and Robb Street, has been a part of the Wheat Ridge community since the city incorporated in 1969.
A master plan for the park was created in 2015, and the GOCO Local Park and Outdoor Recreation grant will help the city replace the south picnic area and complete the new pickle ball courts.
“Without the grant award, one area of the project would have been delayed until funding was available in future years,” said Joyce Manwaring, director of parks and recreation for Wheat Ridge.
The renovations will be completed in three phases. Phase I is in progress and includes the renovation of the two softball fields and the addition of a football field. Phase II is the south picnic area and new pickle ball courts, and Phase III will be replacing the restroom building on the north side of the park and renovating the existing Berbert House. The house, located on the north end of the park, was home to the original property owners, Manwaring said, and has been used for a variety of programs over the years.
The total project is budgeted at $1.7 million.
Construction for Phase II is set to begin in June 2018 with an anticipated grand opening sometime late fall.
The park serves the entire community, as well as the neighborhood because it is the only park in its area of the city, Manwaring said.
“Prospect Park is an asset to the Wheat Ridge community, as it is serves as a major gateway to the regional Clear Creek Trail and Wheat Ridge greenbelt,” Manwaring said. “The renovation of this beloved and popular park will provide updated and improved amenities and, hopefully, an improved experience for park users.”
Clear Creek Park
Arvada's grant will help the city create a plan for recreation along Clear Creek that prioritizes future park acquisitions and improvements while protecting wildlife habitat. The city will focus on improving Gold Strike Park based on feedback from the public and hopes to increase connectivity from the Ralston Creek State Recreational Trail and Olde Town Arvada.
The project comes on the heels of an Adams County master plan in progress for the Clear Creek area, which stops at the Sheridan border — where Arvada and Jefferson County begin. The $75,000 grant will be coupled with a $35,000 match from the City of Arvada for a project total of $110,000.
“We'll be trying to find creative ways of reaching out to people so we know how to prioritize projects in the future,” said Stephen Padilla, grants administrator for the City of Arvada.
Areas of interest include the underutilized Gold Strike Park, pedestrian crossings and better access from Arvada to Clear Creek Regional Park, connections to Ralston Trail, balancing biological and ecological enhancements and other recreation opportunities citizens may bring up during the process.
The city will start work this spring by hiring a consultant and aims to have a finished plan by the end of 2018.
Other Jeffco projects
With its $350,000 Local Park and Outdoor Recreation grant, Foothills Park and Recreation District will build a unique, universally accessible playground at Clement Park in unincorporated Jefferson County. Clement Park receives more than 1 million visitors per year, including families with children of all abilities, making it the most highly used park in the district.
The project goal is to provide a renovated and expanded playground and play experience that is inclusive of all ages and abilities while also creating a space that supports neighborhood, community and event use. Currently, families looking for an inclusive playground need to travel outside of the district.
The playground project is part of a $6.3 million park redevelopment effort, and will replace two existing, deteriorating playgrounds with the aim of attracting more children to play at the park more often. It will include performance-art inspired features that promote imagination and creativity, helping highlight the art, music and performance events that occur at nearby Grant Amphitheater. The playground's grand opening is slated for May 2019.
Jefferson County will put GOCO funding to work creating a countywide trails plan for paved and soft-surface trails. The Jeffco Trails Plan will focus on trails outside of existing county parks and explore how trails can become better connected throughout the county. The ultimate goal is to have every resident within a 10-minute walk of a park, trail or open space. The county aims to have the plan complete in spring of 2019.
Prospect Recreation and Park District's planning grant will enable the district to assess current inventory, evaluate next steps for Applewood Golf Course and develop a conceptual plan for Prospect Arena. Options will be presented at public meetings beginning in fall 2018, with plans to complete the new master plan by the end of 2019.
To date, GOCO has invested $43 million in projects in Jefferson County and has conserved more than 6,000 acres of land there. GOCO funding has previously supported Clement Park, helping to build the new interactive water feature, in addition to Carmody Park in Lakewood, Applewood Golf course in Golden and Standley Lake Park in Arvada.
Christy Steadman contributed to this report.
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