Adams County Commissioners Award More Than $18 Million in Open Space Grants

Open Space

On Tuesday, Aug. 9, the Adams County Board of Commissioners (BoCC) awarded more than $18 million in open space grants for 25 projects thanks to the voter-approved Open Space Sales Tax. Funding for the spring 2022 grant cycle came from revenues from the second half of the 2022 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 spring 2022 grant cycle are as follows:

           Adams County
         Willow Bay Phase 2 Acquisition

Adams County Parks, Open Space & Cultural Arts (POSCA) department was awarded funding for the Willow Bay Phase 2 project. This 6.6-acre acquisition sits at the center of Adams County's Willow Bay Open Space and effectively bisects the site. Acquisition of the parcel will enable Adams County to develop Willow Bay as a contiguous open space park, instead of as two halves separated by private property. Trails, water access, and visitor amenities will all be greatly improved as a result.
Grant Award: $986,000

Adams County
Riverdale Bluffs Trail System

POSCA was awarded funding to develop visitor amenities at the county's Riverdale Bluffs Open Space. Purchased in 2010, this open space has been available for recreation, but there are no trails, signage, restroom facilities, or shelters, and there is minimal parking. Adams County wishes to develop Riverdale Bluffs into an accessible open space, connected to the rest of the county system and beyond, while maintaining wildlife habitat and scenic values and respecting neighboring property owners. POSCA received an Adams County Open Space Grant in Spring 2021 for the initial part of this project; this second phase will help complete the funding picture.
Grant Award: $1,733,069

Adams County
Ranger Patrol E-Motorcycle

The e-motorcycle is intended to enhance the patrol capabilities of the Adams County Ranger Service. This special purpose Ranger Service vehicle is an excellent model for responding to emergencies or incidents where maneuverability and agility are key. This is particularly important during large events such as concerts and fairs but is also very useful in daily patrol of trails and open spaces. The absence of a gasoline engine reduces noise and exhaust disturbances, improving public relations by being quiet and environmentally conscious.
Grant Award: $12,000

Barr Lake State Park
Lake Appreciation Day 2022

The 15th Annual Barr Lake Appreciation Day was July 9, 2022. One of the main purposes of this event was to bring public awareness to water quality and issues facing our lakes and waterways, including the importance of keeping Barr Lake free of debris and dangerous obstacles that may harm mammals, birds, and waterfowl that frequent our lake. The volunteers started with projects followed by lunch and educational activities, ranging from an archery course, boat rides, climbing wall, face painting, and kid’s crafts. We are proud to have so many supporters from the community come together for such a great cause. Their support made this event a success.
Grant Award: $3,900

Bird Conservancy of the Rockies
Bringing Nature Home

Bird Conservancy fosters understanding and engagement in the world in which we live by providing universally accessible, quality, environmental education programs and opportunities for all communities to experience nature. Funding from this grant will ensure we are able to connect more under-resourced students, families, and individuals to standards-based, relevant, and experiential education programs that will help them develop lifelong learning, wellness, and civic-minded behaviors using birds as the hook. Together with bird lovers, scientists, conservationists, students, families, and everyone in between, we can change lives and create a better world for people and birds.
Grant Award: $594,994

City of Aurora
High Line Canal Trail Construction - Colfax Ave. to I-70

The High Line Canal is a 71-mile-long utility that served as a water delivery system for over 100 years. Since the canal's original function of supplying water to settlers and farmers along its entire length, it has become a historical Front Range landmark and a beloved recreational greenway. This project involves construction of the High Line Canal Trail from E. Colfax Ave. north to I-70 near Tower Rd. This segment is one of the last segments of the High Line Canal that does not have a hard surface trail. The construction of this segment of trail will help close the gap along the High Line Canal and allow users to cross over I-70 on an elevated pedestrian bridge.
Grant Award: $1,600,000

City of Aurora
Sand Creek Trail System

Sand Creek Trail is a 13-mile regional trail that passes through Aurora, Denver, and Commerce City. The trail is a collaborative initiative among these jurisdictions and the Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership. Aurora works with the Partnership to achieve mutual goals for the greenway and trail. This project will improve a 1,000-foot segment of trail between Sand Creek Park and the Denver border. The existing trail will be re-graded to be ADA compliant to accommodate equitable access for all residents, and a new ten-foot-wide concrete trail with a three-foot-wide parallel crusher fines trail will be constructed.
Grant Award: $261,170

City of Brighton
Historic Splendid Valley Target Property #1

Brighton was awarded funding for the Historic Splendid Valley Target Property #1. This 116.3 acres is in the Historic Splendid Valley south of Brighton, within the District Plan boundaries adopted by Adams County and Brighton. Land and water acquisition, the conservation easement, transaction, and due diligence costs are included in this grant request. The city has engaged The Conservation Fund to acquire the property using a "buy-protect-sell "strategy whereby TCF The Conservation will purchase from the current owner, grant a conservation easement to Adams County, then sell to Brighton subject to the conservation easement restrictions. This keeps the site as productive farmland.
Grant Award: $2,812,000

City of Commerce City
Fitness Court®

Commerce City is partnering with National Fitness Campaign to bring a Fitness Court® to the city. This Fitness Court® provides free outdoor recreational fitness space with open accessibility to all residents. Fitness Court® has several stations providing different functional exercises that can either be programmed with staff or individual use and guided through a free application. These stations allow multiple users, regardless of skill level, to use the court. This court is also ADA accessible and allows those with disabilities a safe space to workout.
Grant Award: $100,000

City of Commerce City
Second Creek Farm Park

Commerce City was awarded funding for a ten-acre neighborhood park in the Second Creek Farm subdivision. There are very few city-owned and maintained recreational facilities in this part of Commerce City. Additional funding has become available from the 2K Initiative (1% sales tax) passed in November 2013. The park will include a perimeter path, open play fields, an inclusive playground, a picnic area with a large shelter, and a plumbed restroom. Other amenities will be determined after public outreach has occurred. A 10-acre future elementary school site is located directly south of the future park site.
Grant Award: $1,895,515.24

City of Commerce City
Park Ranger E-Bikes

Commerce City was awarded funding to purchase electronic bikes, along with a bike rack to transport e-bikes, for our new Park Ranger Program. E-bikes will assist the park rangers in ensuring a safe experience for parks, trails, and open space users. Electronic bikes allow for faster response times, reduced fatigue for the rangers, and an expanded patrol range. Currently the new Park Ranger Program has a mid-size truck available for patrol. Outside of the truck, rangers have only the option to walk trails for patrol. When on trails such as the Sand Creek Regional Greenway, the truck blocks most of the trail, and trail users must get off to the side for the truck to pass. In addition, blind spots along trails and trucks tend to startle trail users. E-bikes are also beneficial in some larger parks, allowing for rangers to respond to concerns and medical needs quicker.
Mini Grant Award: $9,275

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 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.
Grant Award: $1,000,000

City of Northglenn
Rotary Park Pavilion

Rotary Park is adjacent to a neighborhood elementary school and near multi-family and single-family housing. The park currently has a baseball field, with a backstop and covered dugouts, as well as a grassy area that extends beyond the outfield. Other than scheduled sports practices or games, there are no amenities in this park that encourage community members to gather and enjoy the park. This project would provide additional park amenities, including a pavilion on a concrete slab, picnic tables with wheelchair accessibility, trash/recycling containers, and several additional trees.
Grant Award: $20,000

City of Thornton
Aylor Open Lands

Thornton's Aylor Open Lands project will develop the 139-acre Aylor property into a public open space with a trailhead, trails, entry drive from 136th Ave., and a library facility, in partnership with Anythink Library. Grant funding will help pay for the Aylor Master Plan, Phase 1 Design, and Phase 1 Construction. Most of the land will be preserved as open space for natural habitats and agricultural demonstration. The site will be integrated into the existing trail system, becoming an important passive open space destination in the northeastern section of Thornton.
Grant Award: $2,902,770

City of Thornton
Trail Connections, Upgrades, and Rehab 2022

This application would help fund design and construction of trail connections for access, trail lighting, replacement of broken concrete, pedestrian bridge decking, and asphalt rehabilitation for safety, plus replacement of several sections of temporary asphalt trail with city-standard permanent concrete.
Grant Award: $651,231


City of Thornton
Brandon Place Park Playground Swings

This project at Brandon Place Park involves the installation of an ADA-compliant swing and one toddler swing at the existing playground location. The new swing will be a standalone structure for community usage. The current play structure does not have an ADA-accessible swing, nor a toddler swing available to park users, and it is our intent to provide a fully integrated play opportunity for residents and visitors. We will expand the existing playlot concrete curb to allow for the additional standalone swing bay and the required safety zones around the play equipment, install new Poured-In-Place ADA-accessible safety surfacing, and irrigation components will be adjusted to accommodate the expanded play area and site restoration.
Grant Award: $25,000

City of Westminster
Swim & Fitness Center Front Entrance ADA Enhancements & Upgrades

The Swim & Fitness Center is the City of Westminster’s first recreation center, opening its doors in 1975. This multi-level facility hosts activities and provides amenities on the lower level and upper level while requiring all guest visits begin at the middle level, at the main entrance welcome desk. There are challenges and safety issues presented with existing ADA accessibility, front desk design, and layout, and the main entrance vestibule we prioritize in this project and funding will help resolve through the following changes:

  1. Addition of elevator with three stops, redesign of interior and exterior to accommodate elevator, and blend with lower and upper-level circulation spaces, as well as an exterior ADA ramp system.
  2. Renovation of entryway, main lobby, and welcome desk/staff work area.
  3. New main entry vestibule with new exterior enclosure.

Grant Award: $1,000,000

City of Westminster
Legacy Ridge Golf Course and Parks Reclaimed Irrigation Project

The city is requesting assistance with the reclaimed irrigation conversion for the Legacy Ridge Golf Course and two nearby parks - Windsor and Foxshire. This project replaces all irrigation equipment and piping at Legacy. It will also change all the irrigation from potable to reclaimed water in the parks and along Legacy Pkwy. Overall, the project will reduce potable water use by 8.5 million gallons, the equivalent of 26.08 acre-feet. A new, aesthetic pond will store additional reclaimed water. Lastly, the project will convert a dirty storm water swale to a rain garden benefitting pollinators and runoff water quality.
Grant Award: $1,250,305.93

Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District
Sherrelwood Play Space and Shelter

The goal is to add amenities and enhance community health and wellness by promoting access to Sherrelwood Community Park by installing a new play space and shelter outside the water detention area. Creating this play space and shelter will create a safe and fun environment for families to enjoy. The play structure and shelter will be a great addition for the new single-family townhomes being built adjacent to the park. There will also be water reduction created with adding a play space and shelter that will reduce the Kentucky bluegrass footprint.
Grant Award: $450,000

Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District
Design and Planning of Hyland Hills Sports Complex

The purpose of the planning and designing of the drainage, irrigation, and playground and shelter placement is to determine what is needed to improve the drainage of the baseball/softball fields. The fields are in poor condition and often unplayable. This design report will determine a long-term solution to improve the playing conditions of the fields. Hyland Hills would like to remove the batting cages and repurpose this area for more of a family gathering and event space. The existing playground (which is in the middle of the parking lot and is a safety concern) would be removed and be replaced with a new accessible playground structure located in the former batting cage location. There would be two to three shelters adjacent to the future playground. The design and planning process give cost estimates and provide project designs for future construction build out.
Grant Award: $25,000

Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership (SCRGP)
SCRGP Community Engagement Initiative

The SCRGP will invest this funding in a 10-month community engagement process to create an equitable community engagement strategy. This strategy will help inform our organizational decisions focused on increasing the diversity and representation of Adams County residents on the Sand Creek Regional Greenway and events over the next five years. The SCRGP is a 13-mile linear trail and greenway in the northeast Denver area. The SCRGP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to help the three partnering cities: Commerce City, Aurora, and Denver, and will develop the trail and greenway while encouraging stewardship. Now, as much of the trail is developed, we are excited to continue enhancing this tremendous natural resource while emphasizing our three pillars of equitable access, awareness, and engagement for all Sand Creek Regional Greenway community members.
Grant Award: $24,653

Strasburg Parks and Recreation District
North Field Batting Cages

The North Field Batting Cages are located next to the only baseball field in Strasburg. Many teams use the field throughout the year, including the Strasburg High School baseball teams, youth recreational baseball teams, competitive youth baseball teams, and the men’s slow-pitch softball league. This equates to approximately 20 or more teams utilizing this field from March through October each year. There is a need for new batting cages at North Field because the current cages have served their useful life. The existing cages are constructed out of old, donated telephone poles. The poles have settled over the years and have begun to lean. After multiple repairs, the cages have become a safety concern and need to be replaced. In addition, the location of the cages needs to be addressed. The current cages are in an area that impedes parking during events. There is also a drainage issue. By moving the cages to the northwest corner of the property, we can ensure proper drainage and installation and provide superior access to the ball field. The new location is also next to the equipment shed where the pitching machines are stored. The project components include the purchase and installation of the Tuff-Frame Pro Standard Batting Cages – including two tunnels. We chose this model because of the durability – the tensioned overhead cable supports the cage and there are no side poles or overhead structures to cause the ball to ricochet. The heavy-duty support poles will also be important during eastern Colorado windstorms. The base of the cages will be artificial turf. Our district has purchased excess turf from a local company, so we already have the material on-hand. The installation of the turf will include a three-inch fill of road base and compaction. The turf will then be installed with necessary hardware, providing an all-weather base conducive to year-long use. In addition, we will improve the driveway access leading to the cages by adding additional road base. The final component will be the demolition of the existing cages.
Grant Award: $24,139

Strasburg Parks and Recreation District
South Field Shade and Scoreboard

The South Softball Field is centrally located in Strasburg. The field is the most highly used ball field along the I-70 corridor. From April to October, the field is in use six to seven days per week. There are many teams that call the South Field home, including: Eastern Plains Pink Sox teams, Strasburg Youth Baseball teams, Big D’s Warriors Adaptive Baseball, Adult Coed Slow-pitch Softball league, and Strasburg High School Softball. In all, more than 26 teams utilize the ball field per year. With that many teams using the field, there are hundreds, if not thousands of spectators enjoying the field as well. This project will include a new scoreboard for the ball field and the addition of shade structures in the spectator area. The purpose of the improvements at South Field is to provide an improved spectator experience. Given the fact this is the most highly used ball field on the I-70 corridor, the amenities will be enjoyed by many people. There is a need to make these improvements at South Field. The existing scoreboard at South Field is 15 years old, and, after many repairs, it has come to the end of its useful life. Scoreboards are important at ball fields so both teams, umpires, and fans are all on the same page during a game. The aluminum bleachers are currently uncovered. The addition of shade structures over the bleachers will greatly improve the spectators experience and will provide some much-needed protection from sun exposure, especially for our elderly audience members. The project components include the purchase and installation of a new scoreboard and the installation of shade structures over two of the three sets of existing bleachers. The third set of bleachers do not require shade because of existing mature, shade trees.
Grant Award: $24,667

Town of Bennett
Purple Pipe Phase II

The Town of Bennett has made significant progress in installing purple pipe to local parks (Trupp Park, Field of Dreams, and Paul Reid Field) since being awarded a grant by the Adams County Open Space Grant Committee in 2019. Currently, we have almost two miles of purple pipe reuse water main installed, a 2.5 mill. gallon lined storage reservoir completed, and a 1,000-gallon per minute pump station due for delivery later this year. We are not able to get the next 1,600-foot phase complete due, in part, to two long bore sections for the UP Railroad and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), respectively, and overall significant material, equipment, and labor cost increases over the past three years’ time. This new project will provide the resources needed to complete the remaining section and add 2,600 feet of new pipe to serve the town’s seven-acre regional park to the south which had not been dedicated at the time of the original purple pipe project grant concept or application. The new regional park area is also adjacent to a large, planned 25-acre school site to the west, a future reuse water user.
Grant Award: $960,000

Town of Bennett
Mountview Cemetery and Open Space

Like many Colorado cities and towns, Bennett has experienced significant population growth. To help prepare for this growth, important improvements to our local cemetery and open spaces are necessary. These improvements include adding a parking area at the trailhead along with an Open Space Trail info exhibit or mini kiosk to assist visitors with getting acquainted or navigating the area. Additionally, these improvements include adding a stormwater detention pond to the open space to prevent future flooding to the area along with added cemetery plots, a storage facility for cemetery equipment, and a gazebo or shelter overlooking the area. To further these ideas, the town will need to complete conceptional designs that will assist with phasing out each of the elements for the project and projected timeline so the funding can be appropriated in the coming fiscal years to bring this vision to life.
Grant Award: $25,000