Adams County Commissioners Award More Than $8 Million in Open Space Grants

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, the Adams County Board of Commissioners (BoCC) awarded more than $8 million in open space grants for 16 projects thanks to the voter-approved Open Space Sales Tax. Funding for the fall 2023 grant cycle came from revenues from the first half of the 2023 Adams County Open Space Sales Tax, which was passed by Adams County voters in 1999, and in perpetuity in 2020.

When the Open Space Sales Tax was presented to voters in 1999, the ballot question called for the creation of an Open Space Advisory Board. This board recommends open space projects to the BoCC for funding. Grants are funded from 68% of the tax proceeds and are awarded twice a year.

The grant recipients for the fall 2023 grant cycle are as follows:

City of Brighton

Brighton Sports Complex Dugouts and Shade Structures

The Brighton Sports Complex, built in 1998, is one of the main baseball/softball complexes in Brighton. The dugouts have deteriorated to a level where funding is needed to replace them as they are a safety hazard. Also, the site has very limited shade. This project would remove and replace all eight dugouts and add eight metal shade structures over the bleachers for patron safety. Since the replacement of natural grass with artificial turf, we have seen more patrons and year-round activities. This will be a great addition to improving safety and shade at this complex.

Grant Request: $500,000

City of Brighton – Mini Grant

High School Beautification Tree Planting Project at Water Tower Park

The purpose of this project is to purchase trees from a local nursery for our annual high school tree planting. Every year, Brighton High School participates in a “senior ditch day.” On this “ditch day,” instead of engaging in potentially unsafe or dangerous activities, the students volunteer their time to help plant trees in a City of Brighton park. This year we want to purchase 35 trees to plant at Water Tower Park in Brighton (4204 Crestone Peak Street). We need to purchase these trees and tree planting supplies to provide for the Brighton High School students to plant with the help of the City of Brighton’s Open Space team. Without the help of the Adams County mini grant, we can’t support the number of trees needed to make an impact on the overall tree requirement to increase the tree canopy at Water Tower Park. The components of this project are to buy 35 approved trees to be planted at Water Tower Park. The City of Brighton Open Space staff will facilitate tree planting by helping the students learn how to properly plant a tree.

Grant Request: $6,250

City of Aurora

Westerly Creek Greenway Improvements Phase 2

The Westerly Creek Greenway Improvements Phase 2 is the construction phase of a collaborative vision between the City of Aurora, Mile High Flood District, adjacent businesses, and the local community. The improvements begin at Montview Boulevard and run north along the Westerly Creek Greenway, terminating just after the Stanley Marketplace near 26th Avenue. Improvements include a channel realignment that will create more usable recreation space, a new trail system that will provide trail connectivity on the Aurora side of Westerly Creek, and a passive recreation area for the community. Phase 2 will give residents access to multiple parks, trail corridors, recreation opportunities, businesses, and residential areas.

Grant Request: $1,860,000  

City of Commerce City

Pioneer Park Spray Ground Refurbishment

Pioneer Park is a 35-acre community park in the southern part of Commerce City. It is a very active park including four ball fields, two playgrounds, a batting cage, skate park, basketball courts, a spray ground, and Paradice Island leisure pool. Over the past 15 years, the spray ground has begun to fail and needs to be refurbished. This is the only spray ground in the city, receiving thousands of visitors a year and providing a free water-based activity throughout the summer.

Grant Request: $750,000

City of Northglenn

Alvin B. Thomas Memorial Park Renovation

This project includes the design and construction of significant improvements at Alvin B. Thomas Memorial Park. These improvements include the complete replacement of the playground and park amenities, new lighting, and the addition of trail connections to both the residential neighborhood and the regional trail.

Grant Request: $600,000

City of Northglenn

Kiwanis Pool Improvements Phase 2

Kiwanis Pool, the city’s only outdoor aquatics facility, has been in operation since approximately 1960. This project aims to complete the rehabilitation of this aging outdoor aquatics facility by replacing the concrete pool deck and all the leaking underground plumbing, modernizing the inefficient filtration system, bringing all electrical components to code, resurfacing the large pool and the toddler pool, and providing additional shade structures and site amenities for participants. The project is now fully designed and bid, but pricing is nearly double the original budget. This request is for additional funding to help cover the gap in funding.

Grant Request: $919,722

City of Northglenn – Mini Grant

Wayfinding, Walkability, and Vinyl Wraps

Throughout our history, Northglenn has struggled with identity. Staff consistently hears feedback from both residents and non-residents that they didn’t realize an amenity or landmark was located within Northglenn or get asked, “Where is that again?” This project aims to help grow a sense of identity through pedestrian wayfinding by redesigning traffic signal cabinets in key locations along major trails adjacent to arterial roadways throughout the city. An artist or team of artists would be commissioned to develop a customized series of 35-40 pieces that would incorporate wayfinding and walkability messaging, as well as iconic imagery to help passersby know they are in Northglenn and assist them in finding their way along these trails associated with major arterial roadways (Huron Street, Washington Street, 104th Avenue, 112th Avenue, Malley Drive, Melody Drive, and Irma Drive) that lead to desirable destinations within the community. In addition to the commissioned art, including the associated public outreach, artist selection, development of wayfinding components, and coordination of the artistic process, this project also includes the cost to digitize, print, prepare, and install the completed wraps on approximately 35-40 traffic signal cabinets. The wraps would include an anti-graffiti lamination as one layer of protection against vandalism. Unlike artwork that is applied directly to a cabinet, if the wraps are damaged beyond repair, the original art is digitized and can be re-printed and re-applied in the future.

Grant Request: $25,000

 City of Thornton

Thornton Trails Renovation

This project will address unsafe and failing sections of existing concrete and asphalt trails throughout the city, add ADA accessibility to areas around the wayfinding kiosks, and ask for additional funding for one trail rehabilitation section previously funded. Identified trail hazard sections will be removed and replaced with concrete that meets ADA requirements and redesigned kiosk areas will include ADA compliant paving for easier access.

Grant Request: $1,137,500

City of Thornton

Trail Winds Artificial Turf Replacement

This request will help fund replacement of two artificial turf fields at Thornton Trail Winds Park & Open Space. Opened for play August 2008, the fields have outlived the standard manufacturer’s eight-year warranty by seven years! While the turf is safe for play, there are excessive wear patterns and most of the safety infill sits on top of the turf instead of inside it to hold up the fibers. The fields will be replaced with a U.V. resistant turf, an energy absorbing underlayment pad, and engineered organic safety infill to bring play surface temperatures closer to natural grass surface temperatures.
Grant Request: $1,450,827

City of Thornton

Volunteer Landscape Trailer

The City of Thornton will purchase and equip a 7’ x 16’ trailer with battery-operated and common landscaping tools that will be available for use by volunteer groups and residents. As we build a more robust community engagement and volunteer program for service projects in Thornton parks and open spaces, the trailer will provide access to adequate available tools and equipment that are safe and reliable.

Grant Request: $12,500

Hyland Hills Parks and Recreation District

Camenisch Park Pedestrian Bridge

Hyland Hills is seeking support to install a new pedestrian bridge, as well as repair an existing bridge, at the Badlands Disc Golf Courses in Federal Heights’ Camenisch Park that will improve the user experience and increase connectivity between two community parks. The two 18-hole courses are extremely popular and make up the largest disc golf course in the state; however, they need key investments to improve the courses’ safety, quality, and longevity. The pedestrian bridges would streamline the player experience, while providing a valuable foot connection between two parks in an underserved neighborhood.

Grant Request: $155,400

Hyland Hills Parks and Recreation District

Carl Park Playground

The goal of this project is to renovate an aging playground in an underserved community. The area surrounding Carl Park has limited recreational opportunities, so restoring this amenity for residents is a high priority. The playground is close to a K-8 charter school, with which Hyland Hills has a longstanding and positive relationship. This partnership is key to the project’s success, as we will coordinate an event for the students to select their desired playground equipment. Upgrading this playground aligns with the district’s mission of providing first-class parks that enrich and promote a healthy lifestyle while valuing equity and inclusion.

Grant Request: $120,000

Hyland Hills Parks and Recreation

Xeriscape Concept Plans

Hyland Hills is seeking support to adopt Xeriscape concept plans for installation at a variety of parks and facilities sites. Hyland Hills is mindful of the ever-changing environment, including the limitation of water resources within the area. Staff is proactively seeking ways to conserve water at all district facilities and has identified several areas with the potential to convert landscape beds and under-utilized turf areas to low-water usage spaces. Xeriscaping offers many benefits to a facility including water conservation, reduced maintenance costs, eliminating chemicals and lawn pest control tactics, and sustainable plants that are drought tolerant. Through this project, Hyland Hills hopes to produce 3-4 concept plans that can be plugged into a variety of landscape areas at parks and facilities. Utilizing those plans and conserving water at key areas of the district will be a high priority over the next several years.

A recently completed Carroll Butts Master Plan, which received a mini grant in the spring of 2023, identified several median beds and passive turf areas as potential Xeriscape beds. This is a major component of this park’s future in efforts to conserve water long-term. Once Xeriscape concept plans are complete, landscaping at Carroll Butts Park will be one of the first facilities to be converted.

Grant Request: $25,000

 Town of Bennett

Kiowa Creek North Open Space Trail

This project will be to construct a trailhead and parking in our newly annexed Kiowa Creek Open Space. The trail that will wind through this open space will be part of the trail system that begins in Arapahoe County in our Bennett Regional Park and Open Space, goes through the Arapahoe County Open Space, across I-70, through the center of Bennett, and ends in the new open space. The town is currently in design for this connecting trail. Construction will begin in fall 2024. Phase 1 of the trailhead and parking will entail sitework, hardscape components, and irrigation. Phase 2, which is planned for 2025, will include plant material, softscape, and other amenities such as shelters, benches, and a bathroom.

Grant Request: $1,166,000

Town of Bennett

Trupp Park Rubber Surface Replacement

Due to drainage issues within the park, the rubber surfacing of the western side of the playground has become damaged. The water has caused the rubber to shrink and pull away from the concrete sides of the playground creating a trip hazard. The drainage issues have been resolved with additional phase of the park therefore we are ready to repair this damage.

Grant Request: $25,000

Wildlands Restoration Volunteers

Empowering Community Lead Leadership

This project will address environmental stewardship priorities identified by primarily Latinx residents of Commerce City. Building on input from partners and collective decision-making, Wildlands Restoration Volunteers will respond to requests of this historically underrepresented community by continuing to build a diverse coalition of partners including Latinx community organization and land management agencies. Together, we will train community leaders in ecological restoration, increase access of the Latinx community to Adams County open space, and complete 19 restoration projects on that open space. We will also engage up to 20 Latinx youth in a paid internship program. The City of Commerce City approved Wildlands Restoration Volunteers request to sponsor this request.

Grant Request: $83,968

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