Adams County Commissioners Award More Than $21 Million in Open Space Grants

Spring 2024 Open Space Grants

On Tuesday, July 9, the Adams County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) awarded more than $21 million in open space grants for 24 projects thanks to the voter-approved Open Space Sales Tax. Funding for the spring 2024 grant cycle came from revenues from the second 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 spring 2024 grant cycle are as follows:

Adams County Parks, Open Space & Cultural Arts
Confluence Acquisition
In accordance with the Parks, Trails, and Open Space Master plan, we intend to acquire four parcels of land adjacent to the confluence of Clear Creek and the South Platte River to pave the way for the development of a regional park as part of our 10-year plan. This first step of purchasing this property from Lawrence Construction Co will have the potential to move the plans for this regional park forward. Ensuring the conservation of this open space land will provide benefit to the surrounding communities and secure Adams County’s ability to carry out the plan for this park.
Grant Award: $3,500,000

Adams County Parks, Open Space, & Cultural Arts
High Line Canal Trail Underpass at Colfax Avenue
The purpose of this project is to construct an underpass to cross Colfax Avenue along the High Line Canal Trail. This project will provide safer and more efficient alternative transportation opportunities in the neighboring communities connecting to the existing transit network while avoiding crossing intersections and conflicts with vehicular traffic and offering a continuous trail path for commuting and recreation. The project will also include utility relocation and right of way (ROW) acquisition.
Grant Award: $830,000

Town of Bennett
Civic Center Park Construction Phase III
Bennett Civic Center came to life in 2010 via comprehensive planning, when the Town of Bennett identified a new central area along Highway 79 that would become the core of Bennett. Civic Center Park as identified in the Town's Parks, Trails, and Open Space Master Plan as one of the most valuable assets for active and passive recreational amenities in the community. Phase I of Civic Center Park encompasses the veteran’s memorial, trailhead parking, community garden, and the Historical Charles Muegge House. Phase II is the construction of a regional park that will include many active amenities such as a playfield, playgrounds, and water activities. The subject of this grant is Civic Center Construction Phase III which includes additional landscaping and concrete, bathrooms, paved parking, and preparation for the second field that will be installed later.
Grant Award: $3,891,550.83

Bennett Park & Recreation District
Facelift – Phase 3
These funds will support repairs to our aquatic facility that has worn over time due to age, humidity, and chemicals. 
Grant Award: $51,680

Town of Bennett
Purple Pipe Phase III
Like much of Colorado, Bennett is facing a water crisis. To mitigate this concern, the town has acquired permitting for Category 1 reuse water as allowed by the state for irrigation of open spaces and parks. Since 2019, the town has made significant progress in creating a reuse water system. This includes the lining of a decommissioned wastewater lagoon for storage, necessary pumps and pump houses to move the water through the system, and installation of a water main through the western part of town. In spring 2024, we began watering several town parks with this water. Despite this significant progress, the town needs additional storage and water mains to meet the demand of all the parks and open spaces in Adams County. The town already expanded and relined a second lagoon for storage; however, it needs pumps and lines to connect it into the system. In addition, the town wants to expand the beltway to allow for additional use of the system.
Grant Award: $2,000,000

Town of Bennett
Trupp Park Electrical Upgrades
Trupp Park is currently our primary community park in Bennett. It is the location for our annual Bennett Days Celebration and the site for many outdoor sports including soccer, flag football, rugby, and kickball. This park includes a skate and bicycle playground, an ADA inclusive playground with rubber surfacing, a grandstand utilized for our summer party in the parks, and a perimeter walking trail. The focus of this grant is to make much-needed repairs to the existing electrical at the grandstand, bathrooms, and picnic pavilion. The existing electrical is insufficient and unreliable to accommodate the community events in the park each year.
Grant Award: $25,000

City of Commerce City
Paradice Island Aquatics Park Leak Repair and Re-plaster
Paradice Island Aquatics Park is a beloved facility that serves all. However, persistent leaks in the pool and water feature water lines have compromised the facility's functionality and sustainability, worsening year after year. After multiple gas pressure tests throughout the facility, the professionals have recommended an entire water line replacement project, addressing the issue as soon as possible before it causes additional challenges. Lines are located under the hard surface of the facility. Therefore, we seek funding for a comprehensive replacement project to enhance water efficiency, reduce maintenance costs, and contribute to a more sustainable facility for the community.
Grant Award: $1,000,000

City of Commerce City
Ragweed Draw Open Space and River Run Park Improvements
Ragweed Draw Open Space and River Run Park are integral parts of the community. Ragweed Draw serves drainage purposes, but this 45-acre open space also has a soft surface trail, native grasses and shrubs, and a ball field at the north end. River Run Park is just under 14 acres and is adjacent to Thimmig Elementary. Park amenities include a playground, ball field, open grassy area, shelter, perimeter path, restroom, and sand volleyball court. The proposed project includes a new irrigation system for the River Run Park ball field and two areas in Ragweed Draw, as well as a new playground at River Run Park. The new playground will have a poured in place rubber surface and inclusive elements that will exceed ADA accessibility requirements.
Grant Award: $500,000

City of Commerce City
Pioneer Park Scoreboard Replacement
The project's primary objective is to upgrade and modernize the four baseball field scoreboards at Pioneer Park, aiming to improve the overall experience for players, coaches, spectators, and the community. Pioneer Park is a very active, high-use park that receives tens of thousands of visitors annually. The park is 37 acres and is located in the southern area of Commerce City, surrounded by several residential areas. The park is inclusive and has various amenities, including four baseball fields, a batting cage complex, a skate park, basketball courts, an aquatics park, a splash pad, community shelters with picnic areas, and grass gathering areas for community or individual use. The need for replacement stems from various factors, including outdated technology, maintenance challenges, and the desire to enhance user experience. These upgrades aim to engage fans and increase user experience, reflecting our commitment to quality sports facilities and community pride at Pioneer Park.
Grant Award: $25,000

Hyland Hills Parks and Recreation District
Camenisch Park Master Plan
Hyland Hills is seeking support to develop a Master Plan that will assess and connect multiple adjoining properties within a 150-acre complex, which includes Carstens Park, Camenisch Park, the Badlands Disc Golf Courses, and the Hyland Hills Sports Complex in the City of Federal Heights. The plan will utilize results from a 2020 District Master Plan, a 2023 Strategic Plan, and additional input from residents to transform this area into a fun, safe, and walkable destination that includes connector trails, upgraded ADA-compliant amenities, improvements to the existing disc golf courses, shade shelters, and water-saving turf conversions.
Grant Award: $108,433.80

Hyland Hills Parks and Recreation District
Sports Complex Phase II
Hyland Hills is seeking support for the continuation of the Sports Complex Phase II project, of which Phase I was previously funded through Adams County Open Space. Phase I included the successful conversion of three ball fields to artificial turf and the construction of a new water quality pond. Phase II includes parking expansion; ADA upgrades to walkways; the addition of 27 trees and four new shade structures; additional water conservation tactics including upgraded irrigation systems and water-wise landscaping; and the redesign and relocation of the playground to be safer and ADA accessible.
Grant Award: $2,700,000

Hyland Hills Parks and Recreation District
Clear Creek Valley Bike Park
Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District is seeking additional support to design and construct a bike park within the 80-acre Clear Creek Valley Park. The original plans for Clear Creek Valley Park included a bike park, which would feature amenities for all users regardless of age or abilities. This location at Clear Creek Valley Park is ideal due to its proximity to the main parking lot and the Clear Creek Trail system. In providing improved opportunities for outdoor recreation, this project aligns with the district’s 2020 Parks & Recreation Master Plan and the City of Arvada Parks Master Plan. Hyland Hills was awarded a mini grant in Spring 2023 to support the development of a concept plan for the bike park. The concept plan has been developed in collaboration with the City of Arvada and bike-specific stakeholders, and includes a pump track, kids’ skills course, flow trails, and bike jumps. However, because a portion of the bike park is in a floodplain, additional design and permitting work is required per Adams County. An engineering firm must be hired to manage the additional requirements including an erosion control plan and floodplain use permit. This mini-grant application is to help pay for the additional design work needed to complete this portion of the project. The goal is to finalize construction documents and bid the project later this year for construction in 2025.
Grant Award: $24,745

City of Northglenn
Audio, Lighting, and Video – Safety Enhancements
This project includes the design and construction of additional lighting, video surveillance, and an emergency alert system for E.B. Rains, Jr. Memorial Park, and the Civic Center Campus, incorporating Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles to deter criminal activity, convey critical information during emergencies, and foster a safe environment for park visitors.
Grant Award: $385,000

City of Northglenn
Greenway Trails Project
This project consists of replacing old, cracked, and dilapidated concrete trails with new concrete along approximately 3,000 linear feet of the Greenway Trail. Concrete trails offer advantages such as durability, low maintenance, accessibility, safety, sustainability, and aesthetic appeal. By upgrading the concrete, the project aims to enhance the longevity, usability, and overall quality of the trail system, providing residents and visitors with safe and enjoyable outdoor recreation opportunities while minimizing environmental impact and maintenance costs.
Grant Award: $233,000

City of Northglenn
Northglenn’s First EV Mower
This request is for the purchase of one electric mower replacing one gas-powered mower. The gas mower in operation is over a decade old and is scheduled for replacement this year. The city has budgeted funds to replace the old mower, but this grant would allow the city the opportunity to upgrade it with a new electric powered mower. Electric mowers are more costly than gas mowers, though they come with significant environment and operational benefits.
This project aims to start the transition of the city's gas-powered lawn equipment to electric. Transitioning to electric lawn mowers for our parks is a prudent investment that aligns with our values of environmental stewardship and responsible management. By embracing this change, we can create cleaner, quieter, and more sustainable parks for the enjoyment of all. Electric mowers not only offer a sustainable alternative to gas-powered equipment, but also contribute to a healthier environment for both our communities and future generations.
Our plan is to purchase this electric powered mower to jumpstart our park maintenance fleet into the 21st century. Overall, EV mowers play a crucial role in promoting environmental sustainability, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality, and enhancing the quality of life in communities. These improvements will be a catalyst to moving our parks maintenance division toward electrification and aligns with the cities and state’s sustainability goals. Their importance will continue to grow as we strive to address the challenges of climate change and transition to a more sustainable and equitable society.
Grant Award: $25,000

City of Thornton
Thornton Grounds of Inclusion: Cherrywood and Margaret Carpenter Parks
Thornton Parks, Recreation, & Community Programs requests $2,000,005 to make significant capital improvements to two of its largest public playgrounds to better serve individuals with disabilities and their families, friends, and caregivers. Improvements to Cherrywood - adjacent to Prairie Hills Elementary (4th ward) - and Margaret Carpenter – co-located with the Recreation Center and regional park (second ward), will advance the city's comprehensive plan vision to ensure city amenities and recreation programs are inclusive of all ages and abilities. This will allow the city to offer multiple specialized recreation spaces across the city that meet a higher standard of inclusion for users with diverse behavioral/emotional, sensory, physical, and developmental experiences.
Grant Award: $2,000,005

Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory DBA Bird Conservancy of the Rockies 
Environmental Education: Providing Opportunities for Everyone
Bird Conservancy of the Rockies has provided environmental education programming to Adams County residents and visitors for over 35 years. Our hands-on, experiential, and nature-based programming is developed for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Birds go beyond borders, cultures, ideologies, and languages to connect us to nature and each other. Support of our organization will ensure the continued delivery of universally accessible, high-quality, environmental education programs delivered by experienced staff and trained volunteers. Together, we will create opportunities for everyone to connect with the world around us and develop the environmental literacy to protect it.
Grant Award: $739,863

High Line Canal Conservancy
High Line Canal Natural Resources Management Plan
Now over 140 years old, the High Line Canal’s ecosystem is in a time of transition as Denver Water reduces its reliance on the canal for irrigation delivery and local agencies manage the corridor more actively as a recreational trail and ecological corridor. This project will create a comprehensive Natural Resources Management Plan for the canal that establishes a sustainable vision for the canal’s future landscape and identifies natural resource maintenance, restoration, and enhancement strategies to help the jurisdictions along the canal collaboratively steward the corridor into a more resilient future.
Grant Award: $43,000

The STEAD School
Founders Field
The STEAD School (STEAD), which stands for science, technology, environment, agriculture, and systems design, is a next-generation agriculturally focused public high school located on a 10-acre site in Reunion, a master-planned Commerce City community. STEAD respectfully requests to build a 130’ x 230’ natural grass play field at the northeast end of campus. STEAD began operations in August 2021 and is fundraising for the final campus assets. STEAD’s ability to have its own play field allows for onsite support of the school’s physical education programs, athletic practices, and broader community, while also supporting the school’s “learning made real” plant science pathway.
Grant Award: $550,000

City of Thornton
Thornton Community Center Design
This project will provide the design and construction documents for a new 40,000 square-foot community center located at 2211 Eppinger Blvd. in Thornton. The new community center will offer a gymnasium, dance studios, boxing gym, teen space, community makerspace, weight room, classrooms, meeting rooms, city-operated daycare facility, coffee lounge, common areas, shared spaces available for rentals, an Anythink Library, meditation gardens, amphitheater, a new pre-school aged playground, bicycle/skateboard repair stations, native plantings, Smart Irrigation technology, increased ADA access, and improved parking.
Grant Award: 1,744,521

City of Thornton
Electrified Handheld Grounds Maintenance Equipment
This grant request will help fund the purchase of battery-operated grounds maintenance equipment such as handheld string trimmers, blowers, their batteries, and charging hubs. State Regulation 29 was adopted by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission on Feb. 6 and specifically prohibits the municipal use of gas-powered small engine equipment (25 horsepower or less) during summertime ozone season, June-August. Thornton has begun to replace its gas-powered equipment with battery operated options.
Grant Award: $25,000

City of Westminster
Barber Property Acquisition
The 4-acre Barber property is located at 11761 Federal Blvd. in Adams County. This parcel has a dramatic view of the Front Range and the Continental Divide and overlooks the city’s Big Dry Creek corridor. Future trail connections to the Big Dry Creek Trail could be built, providing an excellent recreational opportunity and outstanding views. This is the last remaining undeveloped parcel in this area of Big Dry Creek. It will provide additional open space buffer and expands the protection of this critical area.
Grant Award: $1,100,294.60

Colorado Front Range National Wildlife
Invasive Species Control at Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR
In partnership with regional fire crews, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge completed prescribed burns in several units earlier this month in accordance with its habitat management and prescribed burn plans. Best management practices show that when combined with prescribed burns, herbicide use can significantly control invasive species. This project will support the cost of herbicides for application on roughly 550 acres of existing and future burn units over the next two years which have been prioritized by the severity of the invasive species within the Refuge. Additionally, treatment will be used along Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR's 20 miles of trails - including several accessible trails - to improve recreational opportunities for the roughly one million visitors who come through our doors.
Grant Award: $24,202

Strasburg Park and Recreation District
North Baseball Field Improvements 2024
The North Baseball Field is the only regulation-sized baseball field in Strasburg. The facility was constructed with funding from Adams County Open Space in 2002. It is centrally located, across the street from Hemphill Middle School and the Strasburg Recreation Center. The field is a shared resource for many teams, including Strasburg High School baseball teams, youth baseball teams, and adult slow pitch leagues.

With many teams using the field, there are hundreds, if not thousands of spectators who enjoy the field each season as well. The field is used for much more than just baseball. Youth football and soccer teams use the wide-open outfield grass for practice in the fall. We also host outdoor movies at the facility all summer long. This project will include a new scoreboard for the baseball field and the addition of an artificial turf mound.

The purpose of the improvements at North Baseball Field is to replace the obsolete scoreboard and provide a more consistent, durable, lower-maintenance pitching mound. The project components include purchase and installation of a new scoreboard, demolition of the existing pitching mound, and purchase of a portable, artificial turf mound. There is a need to make these improvements at North Baseball Field because the facility is highly used nearly all year long, beginning in February with high school practice and continuing through October with football practice in the outfield. The facility is important to our community and these improvements will both enhance the spectator’s and player’s experience, and the mound will significantly decrease maintenance responsibilities for the district. 
Grant Award: $25,000