Adams County Commissioners Award More Than $10.5 Million in Open Space Grants

On Tuesday, Dec. 7, the Adams County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) awarded more than $10.5 million in open space grants for 20 projects thanks to the voter-approved Open Space Sales Tax. Funding for the fall 2021 grant cycle came from revenues from the first half of the 2021 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 2021 grant cycle are as follows:

Adams County
McIntosh Farms Phase III Conservation Easement

Adams County Parks, Open Space & Cultural Arts (POSCA) was awarded funding to purchase a conservation easement on the McIntosh Farm property. This will be the third conservation easement transaction for McIntosh Farm and will complete the work begun in 2001 to protect the important agricultural and ecological values of the property. The “Phase III” parcels together comprise approximately 42.8 acres.
Grant Award: $777,000

Adams County
Parks and Trails Wayfinding Signage System

The Adams County POSCA Department was awarded funding to support a system of park identification signage, directional signage, and other wayfinding features throughout Adams County's parks and trails facilities. The parks and regional trails system in Adams County is almost entirely without directional or informative signage of any kind. This presents many challenges to our customers using the county's various parks and trails facilities. Not only are directions unclear, particularly at points where trails converge, but distances to one destination or another are also not marked. Additionally, the implementation of the wayfinding signs will aid first responders responding to emergency situations. This project seeks to address Adams County's clear need for wayfinding at our parks and on our trails.
Grant Award: $1,250,000

Adams County
Adams County Sheriffs Memorial – Mini Grant II

This project will provide dedicated space at the Adams County Government Center honoring Adams County deputies who have lost their lives. This portion of the project is for the construction of the Memorial Wall.
Grant Award: $25,000

City of Aurora
2021 ADCO Nature Playground at Star K Ranch

The City of Aurora will plan, design, and construct an inclusive outdoor nature playground at the Star K Ranch property. The playground will consist primarily of elements and textures found in nature including tree logs, boulders, plants, stumps, and climbing elements, all dependent upon the final design. The playground will provide a unique and needed resource for community members of all ages and abilities to enjoy the outdoors, connect safely with nature and practice healthy and playful lifestyles. The primary user groups will be families who use the Sand Creek Regional Greenway Trail and those who visit Morrison Nature Center.
Grant Award: $300,000

City of Brighton
High School Seniors Beautification Project at Donelson Park – Mini Grant 

The High School Seniors Beautification Project at Donelson Park addresses several needs with one overall purposeto enhance the beauty and shade within the heavily used Donelson Park. The park is the host to practices and games in soccer, football, and rugby. It also has a well-used playground, shelter, restroom, and new basketball court. The purpose of this all-inclusive tree planting project will be accomplished with volunteer labor from high school senior students of all abilities. The seniors will plant 30 trees (26 deciduous trees and four evergreen trees) around the edges of the park and around the centrally located park shelter.
Mini Grant Award: $2,500

City of Commerce City
Buffalo Run Golf Course Irrigation Phase 2

Buffalo Run Golf Course, built in 1995, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The irrigation system installed when the course was constructed is still in use. Phase one of this project occurred in 2015 and included replacement of the control system. This project will replace the irrigation system including pipes, sprinkler heads, computer system, wiring, and pump station. The city expects to see a substantial increase in efficiency of water use, which is becoming more and more important as water becomes scarcer.
Grant Award: $1,500,000

City of Northglenn
Justice Center West Park Construction

The Justice Center West (JCW) Park Construction project comprises construction of a water-wise and ADA-compliant neighborhood park with playgrounds, an adventure course, trails, public art, signage, lighting, furnishings, and landscaping all designed to fit in with the natural contours of the site and take advantage of the Front Range views. The proposed construction would transition an unimproved, inaccessible property into an active, nature play-themed space that invites youth, teens, adults, and seniors of all ages and abilities in an area without such an amenity within a one-mile walking distance, while also demonstrating responsible water use.
Grant Award: $1,500,000

City of Northglenn
Croke Reservoir Improvements

The Croke Reservoir Improvements project comprises a comprehensive education/regulations sign package, including a consolidated theme, reduced sign clutter, ground surface signs at major reservoir entrances, and three-foot-post signs to deter social trail entrances; approximately 360 feet of post-and-cable fencing at the western trail edge to further deter wetland degradation, bank destabilization, and box culvert trespass; and an ADA-compliant second fishing area at the southeast corner of the site where anglers already congregate. The improvements would enhance the recreational amenities, security, and conservation of Croke Reservoir for existing and future users.
Grant Award: $40,000

City of Thornton
Niver Open Space Enhancements

Niver Open Space Enhancements project will activate and enliven this detention, dam, and open space area through the addition of a trailhead, trail improvements, boardwalks, bridges, water crossings, observation platforms, shade shelters, and other passive amenities. The project will also restore degraded vegetation and will complement other projects within the open space including re-grading eroded creek banks, a new dam outlet with a low water crossing and constructed wetlands and nature play/story node areas, all of which are in progress but not a part of this grant. Thornton is managing the design process and will be involved in implementation. 
Grant Award: $1,000,000

City of Thornton
McAllister Field/North Huron Christian Center Purchase and Stabilization

Since 2001 under a joint-use agreement, Thornton has leased McAllister Field from the North Huron Christian Center. The city designed, constructed, and maintained the park area on the center's property (baseball field, half basketball court, playground, picnic area) until offered first right of refusal to purchase the property. This grant will help reimburse the purchase cost of the property and provide funds for necessary Phase One City Code and Building Department requirements for public use.
Grant Award: $815,400

City of Thornton
Niver Creek Trail Benches and Trash Receptacles - Mini Grant

The existing benches along the Niver Creek Regional Trail (and tributary trails) are worn down and outdated. The old benches will be removed and replaced with new benches. A minimum of 10 new benches will be installed. The new benches will be a special type of bench that was adopted to be the standard along the designated Niver Nature Heritage Trail (NNHT). The NNHT runs from Pecos Park to 88th Avenue, along the creek. There are about eight benches in need of replacement. Several additional benches will be added between 84th Avenue and 88th Avenue where there is a shortage of benches. Several new city standard trash receptacles will be added as well.
Mini Grant Award: $25,000

City of Westminster
McKay Lake Area Management Plan

The City of Westminster Open Space Division was awarded funding for engineering and design services to complete an area management plan for McKay Lake Open Space. The current infrastructure was developed during a time of lower usership and lower water levels. To best serve the community and create sustainable trail systems, parking solutions and amenities, engineering, and design work are necessary. The support of Adams County funding will allow the city to take on the whole project at once with help from a consultant and develop a comprehensive plan for this unique open space.
Grant Award: $42,000

Mapleton Public Schools
Valley View Inclusive Playground

Mapleton Public Schools was awarded funding to construct a sensory-rich playground for students and community members of all abilities including those with physical, sensory, social, or emotional disabilities, at our new Valley View school building. The funds will support the addition of innovative equipment and features that are both accessible and inclusive far beyond legal and code requirements, including main and stand-alone play structures, sensory spaces and elements, site topography and surfacing. Valley View PK-8 is currently undergoing renovations and will reopen to students in August 2022.
Grant Award: $240,000

Strasburg Parks and Recreation District
Community Park Phase One

The Community Park East Phase One project is the next step in the development of the Wagner Street Land Acquisition. The project will ultimately establish a “recreational hub” within Strasburg, complete with amenities and facilities that have been identified as top priorities. It will provide a complete connection between the school campus and the Recreation District. This application will fund the construction of the following: lighting and electrical, furnishings (amphitheater, basketball court, etc.), planting and irrigation, vault restrooms, and an interactive water splash feature. To streamline the project and keep costs in check, we have opted for a design-build approach.
Grant Award: $1,177,582.97

Todd Creek Metropolitan District
Mann Lakes Wave Erosion and Pedestrian Deterrent Plan

This project is to discourage pedestrian traffic to the water’s edge without having the usual 6-foot chain link fencing with barbed wire on top. The project is going to have a 15-foot-wide Riprap band installed in Lakes 1 and 2 as shown on the attached plan sheet and approximately 3,700 feet of fencing in areas that will not have Riprap. The result is a visually pleasing set of deterrents that do not conflict with the desired Riverdale Regional Park goal of a park setting.
Grant Award: $1,960,780

Town of Bennett
Civic Center Improvements

This project will help maintain the health and appearance of existing landscape at the Corridor of Honor Military Memorial by planting new trees and shrubs, improving the irrigation system, addressing drainage issues, and laying new sod. Additionally, this project will include new asphalt for the space used for our farmers and artisan markets. These improvements will help preserve the memory of our veterans and enhance the feasibility of local merchants to host farmers markets. This project will help reinforce the town boards’ vision of creating a “place where residents can live well and thrive.”
Grant Award: $35,000

Town of Bennett
Park Video Surveillance

The town of Bennett has spent a significant amount of money in the last five years improving all seven parks and open spaces within the town. Vandalism has long been a cause for concern, but the town saw a substantial uptick in vandalism since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this grant is to request funding for security cameras for the town’s parks and open spaces. It is our hope that through visible camera monitoring we will deter vandalism as well as have footage if vandalism occurs.
Grant Award: $60,000

Town of Bennett
Trupp Park Irrigation Improvements Mini Grant

Trupp Park serves as the central location for health and wellness in the Town of Bennett. Trupp Park provides a variety of accessible recreation opportunities for all ages and a venue for social and cultural activities. It is with the generous support from the Adams County Open Space Sales Tax grant program that the town has been able to make significant improvements to this vital community resource over the last six years. The town’s goals and objectives are to improve the accessibility of the Trupp Park restrooms and to reduce the reliance and ongoing cost associated with the use of port-a-potties.
Grant Award: $11,200