DENVER - Today the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded $4,079,891 in funding for 22 outdoor recreation projects by local governments across the state. The grant round was highly competitive, with funding requested totaling more than triple what was available to award.
Grants were awarded from GOCO’s Local Parks and Outdoor Recreation (LPOR) grant program and the mini grant program for LPOR projects with total budgets of $60,000 or less.
Funded projects will construct new parks or update aging parks, giving families across the state better access to outdoor recreation. In addition, the projects connect Coloradans to the outdoors with new trails and provide more places for everyone to get outside, regardless of ability or experience.
This cycle of funding included three fairground projects, and seven projects that will improve access for water-related activities like fishing, swimming, and whitewater recreation.
In total, GOCO funding will:
- Invest in 18 counties across the state
- Leverage just over $8.3 million matching funding dollars
- Acquire 2.2 acres of land for the public
- Construct 9 new parks or outdoor recreation areas and update 12 others
- Serve 5 rural communities
- Serve 19 communities with a median income under the Colorado average
Grant details are as follows for LPOR projects:
Alma Riverwalk, $63,928 grant to Town of Alma
The Town of Alma will use its GOCO funding to help design and construct the Alma Riverwalk Trail and Park. The Alma Riverwalk will provide an easily accessible trail and park for residents and visitors of all ages. The town envisions an 1,800-foot linear trail that is ADA compliant running along the Middle Fork of the South Platte River. The trail will include dock viewing areas, boardwalk bridges, and a series of inclines and landings. ADA access to parking lots, fishing areas, interpretive signs, and other neighboring trailheads will facilitate outdoor recreation for individuals of all ages and abilities.
Art Dague Pool Aquatic Play Structure and Shade Structures, $217,500 grant to City of Rifle
The City of Rifle will use its LPOR funding to renovate Art Dague Pool and Waterslide (ADPW). The city will expand the existing bathhouse to add two new family changing rooms and an improved concession, admission, and staff/first aid area. New construction will also include a zero-depth-entry leisure pool with flow channel and aquatic play structure, a separate six-lane lap pool, a family whirlpool, and concrete and turf deck space with multiple shade structures. ADA upgrades, including lifts and recessed stairs, are integral elements of the new facility.
Baca County Fairgrounds, $350,000 grant to Baca County
Baca County will make needed improvements to its fairgrounds with the help of GOCO funding. Decades of exposure to the elements has rusted many of the fences and livestock pens, and drainage flows directly into the arena and grandstand. Wire shortages have caused blackouts in the arena. Baca County will address the critical drainage issues, replace arena materials, make improvements to fencing and lighting, and construct a new multi-use building to include participant dressing rooms, showers, and bathrooms. ADA accessibility will also be incorporated into the designs.
Breeze Park Development Phase II, $150,000 grant to City of Craig
The City of Craig has been making improvements to Breeze Park since 2015, and with the help of the GOCO LPOR grant, it will start a second phase to include upgrades to a 35-year-old irrigation system; construction of an 820-foot, ADA concrete trail; and the addition of three 144-square-foot picnic shelters, a 720-square-foot gazebo, two shade canopies, and a 3,400-square-foot safety surface. Updates to the park are expected to encourage the nearly 4,000 residents of Craig who live within a 10-minute walk of the park to engage in outdoor activities and participate in stewardship events organized by the parks and recreation department.
Buffalo Track and Field Project, $350,000 grant to Logan County
Logan County, in partnership with Buffalo School District, will make updates to Merino High School’s Buffalo Track and Field. To provide its students and residents with a safe, outdoor exercise venue, the county will use its GOCO funding to construct a new all-weather, eight-lane, 400-meter track. The track will include sand pits for long and triple jumps in addition to all-weather surface for high jump, pole vault, discus, and shot put. The project will also be designed to be ADA compliant and provide direct access to Merino’s one-mile Fit Trail, the town’s only other outdoor exercise venue. Construction of the track will save Merino students the travel costs of some of the away-from-home meets, as well as the 30-mile bus trip to use the town of Sterling’s outdoor facilities.
Cortez South Neighborhood Park Project, $350,000 grant to City of Cortez
With its new GOCO grant, the City of Cortez will develop an 11-acre portion of the 14-acre lot where the former Montezuma-Cortez High School once sat into a full-service park, one that includes a newly constructed parking lot, concrete walking trails, benches, picnic tables, grills, a water fountain, and bike racks. The park will feature a nature-themed playground equipped with a log crawl tunnel, balance beams, challenge ropes, and stepping form rocks. The project will also include a multi-purpose ball field, a street course skate park, two bike parks, lawn games, park shelters, and a community gathering space. Designs will also be ADA compliant, providing an inclusive and accessible outdoor recreation experience for all.
Del Norte Riverfront Project: Phase 2, $350,000 grant to Town of Del Norte
The GOCO grant will help the Town of Del Norte with its Del Norte Riverfront Project, a community-led effort to improve access, create recreation infrastructure, and enhance habitat along the Rio Grande. GOCO funds will be used to realize phase two of the project, which includes pedestrian river access and a whitewater play wave, allowing for rafting, paddleboarding, kayaking, and tubing. Additionally, improvements to the river habitat and streambanks will be made through the design and shaping of stable channel structures. Grant funds will also be utilized to build a new ADA-accessible picnic area complete with a covered shelter, tables, benches, and recycling facilities, as well as for the development of bilingual signage to be installed at key areas around the park.
Holly Park Renovation Project, $214,348 grant to Montrose Recreation District (MRD)
Holly Park is Montrose’s oldest park. In the 43 years since its construction, few updates have been made to the park, and now, due to the its current state and size, MRD is seeing a significant drop in park use. With its GOCO funding, MRD will make several improvements to Holly Park, including adding a multi-purpose field, playground, enhanced handball courts, and colorfully painted courts to inspire creative play. Additional improvements will include the removal of unsafe and unusable elements, particularly the outdated sand volleyball and tennis courts. Grant funds will also be used to expand infield, dugout, and shade structures; provide additional parking and lighting; and update the park’s irrigation system.
Las Colonias Park River Recreation, $350,000 grant to City of Grand Junction
Grand Junction’s LPOR grant will help the city further develop the 140-acre Las Colonias Park. The goal of the project is to design inlet channels to improve water flow in the Colorado River throughout the year and to revegetate the bank along the river to promote better access and safe, recreational use of the riverfront. The project’s revegetation effort will help control erosion, support the native wetland habitat, and ensure the sustainability of the riverbank. The site’s upgrades will also make it more suitable for outdoor education programming for local children and students of Colorado Mesa University.
Outdoor STEM Classroom & Playspace, $255,000 grant to Mesa County
With its GOCO LPOR grant, Mesa County, in partnership with EUREKA! McConnell Science Museum, will build an outdoor STEM classroom and play space. EUREKA! offers a variety of weeklong summer camps that consist of educational environmental science and recreation science programs for pre-K through eighth grade. The new area will include features tied to recreation interests on the Western Slope. It will incorporate climbing features and boulders that encourage adventure play and exploration, a pollinator garden with a native plant walk, and benches that are designed for recreational skateboard use. The play space will be open and free to the public and is designed to be multi-generational to accommodate seniors, college students, and families.
Panorama Park RISES with the Community, $350,000 grant to City of Colorado Springs
With the help of its GOCO funding, the City of Colorado Springs will enhance Panorama Park, marking the largest neighborhood park renovation project in the city’s history. In partnership with The Trust for Public Land and RISE Coalition, the city engaged in a yearlong park discovery process, designed to gather input from the public and then develop conceptual designs for a park that would inspire safe, outdoor recreation and play. So far, ideas have included the following additions to the park: fitness stations, walking loops and paths, active play equipment, sports fields, bilingual signage, native grass, trees and weather protection, and a community plaza space for events and activities. These features illustrate the desire for a park that offers spaces for families and neighbors to gather, recreate, and play.
Pitkin County Healthy Rivers Whitewater Park, $350,000 grant to Pitkin County
Pitkin County will use its GOCO funding to provide safe and improved access to its Healthy Rivers Whitewater Park. Currently, heavily vegetated areas along the riverbank and changing water levels make access to the park difficult. In an effort to engage multiple recreation users, Pitkin County, in partnership with the Town of Basalt, will use the GOCO grant to create emergency access routes, river-viewing platforms, an elevated boardwalk to encourage exploration and education, and a raised pedestrian table crossing. Additional improvements include restrooms and changing rooms to accommodate increased demand and park usage.
River Park Phase II, $350,00 grant to Town of Breckenridge
With its GOCO LPOR grant, the Town of Breckenridge will begin the second phase of its River Park project. The first phase, which was partially funded by GOCO, wrapped up in fall 2018. River Park is an inspired, artfully designed and constructed, nature-based environment for visitors to Breckenridge as well as residents of the neighborhoods along the Blue River. The park’s mountain, meadow, and river theme complements the surrounding landscape.
The second phase of construction will create an ADA-accessible fisherman’s landing next to a fishing hole on the Blue River for children of all ages, a beginner bike loop for toddler and preschool children, a log climber area and playground, and a custom fish-climbing structure. Other additions will include slackline posts, grassy spaces for additional areas of play, parking, signage, and trailhead access.
San Miguel County Fairgrounds & Regional Park Outdoor Arena Renovation & Upgrade Project, $157,103 grant to San Miguel County
San Miguel County will use its GOCO grant to help upgrade the existing Outdoor Arena at the San Miguel County Fairgrounds & Regional Park (SMCFRP) in Norwood. This unique rural facility has served the community for decades and requires repair in order to ensure a safe public venue for equestrian training, practices, and events. In order to meet demands placed on the outdoor arena, this project includes replacing fencing and footing and renovating the existing structure to improve drainage. Reliable footing, and its ability to drain quickly, are critical to equestrian events. The benefits of these improvements include increasing economic activity for the community, inviting locals to participate in major events, and supporting local clubs.
Soda Springs Park Phase I, $293,658 grant to City of Manitou Springs
The City of Manitou Springs will use its GOCO grant to redevelop Soda Springs Park, the city’s historic park dating back to the mid-1800’s. The park’s west side, which was used as a staging area for dirt and debris during the Waldo Canyon floods of 2012 and 2013, now sits barren and unused. Proposed improvements include adding natural boulders and a beach zone by Fountain Creek, as well as a small plaza, a climbing net, nature exploration area, and plants. The improvements will revitalize the west end of the park, encouraging families and residents to recreate there.
Yuma County Fairgrounds Project, $350,000 grant to Yuma County
GOCO funds will help Yuma County make improvements to its fairgrounds. The livestock building has not been updated in several years and is in need of repairs. The new construction will include a pre-engineered metal building to increase the current building envelope by 12,500 square feet. The livestock building will be open-air on one side and will include a relocated, larger animal wash area with proper drainage. Additional improvements include larger, ADA-compliant restrooms with showers. Renovations to the livestock building will better equip the facility to host various events throughout the year, including the Yuma County Fair, and will allow for a better user experience for 4-H, Future Farmers of America, and community members.
Land Acquisition to Complete Buchanan Park, $350,000 grant to Evergreen Park and Recreation District
The GOCO LPOR grant will help EPRD purchase 2.2 acres of private residential property in order to connect Buchanan and Bergen Parks and prevent future private development on the land. The property is in the northwest corner of Buchanan Park, with Denver’s 25-acre Bergen Park to its north and Jefferson County’s 1475-acre Elk Meadow Park to its south. It is the last piece of privately-owned residential property in 1,540 acres of contiguous parkland in North Evergreen. A future, updated master plan for Buchanan Park will help identify appropriate and feasible recreational uses for the land according to residents’ needs.
Grant details are as follows for LPOR mini projects:
Brenda Joy Bike Park, $45,000 grant to City of Fort Morgan
The City of Fort Morgan will use its GOCO funding for trail work and the purchase of BMX-style bike park equipment at Brenda Joy Park. The city will build a half-mile, multi-use nature trail, ranging from single-track to wider areas, to include ramps, landing zones, balancing obstacles, tunnels, and raised platforms. The range of difficulty will cater to both beginner and expert riders. The city hopes its younger group will have better opportunity to grow an appreciation for biking, while older kids will enjoy the additional features and added excitement they bring.
Centennial Park Enhancement, $45,000 grant to Town of Kersey
The Town of Kersey will use its GOCO funding for upgrades to improve residents’ experience at Centennial Park. The town plans to relocate and rebuild the horseshoe pits to bring them up to current safety standards, as well as install a play structure, sidewalks, and a grass seating area. Planting trees and extending the irrigated turf to cover the new area are also included in the plan.
Coal Miners' Bucket Park, $42,472 to Town of Oak Creek
The Town of Oak Creek will make improvements to Coal Miners’ Bucket Park. The park is an extension of the Tracks and Trails Museum, one of the town’s main attractions and a reflection of its industrial history. The primary goal of this project is to build a trailhead for the park’s Noon Whistle Trail, which is currently difficult to access. It is the only trail that connects to the town’s main street. The presence of a formal trail head will also significantly increase the number of users. Other planned enhancements include ADA-accessibility improvements, adding electricity, and an underground irrigation system‒ making room for a fresh open space with a picnic table and updated landscaping around the park.
Mancos New Playground, $45,000 grant to Town of Mancos
The Town of Mancos will invest its GOCO funds in a new park for residents on the town’s north side. Currently, the only two parks in town are on the south side. This new park will be located within walking distance of one-third of the town’s residents who currently have no nearby outdoor recreation sites. The park will be completely organically-managed and will include a playground, two picnic tables, a shade structure, and a grassy area. The playground equipment will be nature-themed and will incorporate educational elements for children.
The Farm Recreation Area, $44,540 grant to Town of Frederick
The Town of Frederick will invest its GOCO funds in an outdoor recreation area in the Johnson Farm neighborhood, nicknamed “The Farm.” The new space will be built on an existing four-acre lot located within walking distance of 1,700 town residents. Planned features include a basketball court, pickleball court, four-square space, gaga ball pit, and picnic area. The new park will provide safe access to unstructured recreation opportunities for both children and adults.
Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 5,200 projects in all 64 counties of Colorado without any tax dollar support. Visit GOCO.org for more information.