Adams County Commissioners Award More Than $9 Million in Open Space Grants

Open Space Awards

On Tuesday, June 27, the Adams County Board of Commissioners (BoCC) awarded more than $9 million in open space grants for 21 projects thanks to the voter-approved Open Space Sales Tax. Funding for the spring 2023 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.

“Locally based, long-term open space plans help communities protect the environment, improve quality of life, and preserve critical elements of our local heritage, culture, and economy,” said Steve O’Dorisio, BoCC Chair. “We are delighted to be part of the process, alongside the residents of Adams County, of providing these valuable spaces which offer comfort and support to people everywhere.”

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 2023 grant cycle are as follows:

Adams County
City View Park

City View Park, in the Welby neighborhood of unincorporated Adams County, has long needed renovation. Its limited facilities are in disrepair and suffer from frequent vandalism. The proposed project completely re-envisions the park and how it serves the community. These improvements will offer new opportunities for recreation and community enrichment, including design elements such as new picnic areas, a walking trail, and a new playground that will be a landmark of the park. Additionally, environmental benefits and aesthetics of the site will be enhanced by reducing the amount of irrigated turf and using more native grasses and better landscape plantings, including a pollinator garden. A boulder play area and new shade structures will also be provided. All these improvements will be a major upgrade for this previously overlooked park and an important improvement for residents.
Grant Award: $1,250,000

Adams County
Path to Wellness

Path to Wellness is a series of connected park spaces proposed along the northeastern shore of Mann-Nyholt Lake focused on promoting awareness of overall well-being from both a physical and mental health perspective. These spaces are intended to provide opportunities for sensory experiences, mindfulness, and reflection. New walking paths, planting areas including pollinator gardens, a labyrinth, and future art installations will offer a unique way to enjoy the outdoors at Riverdale Regional Park that is completely different than anything else within Adam County's Park, Open Space, and Trails system.
Grant Award: $375,000

Bennett Park and Recreation District
Roof Repair Grant 2023

A grant was awarded to repair the leaky roof of Bennett Parks Recreation Centers. The roof required sealing to protect the building and contents such as exercise equipment, computers, working areas, and printers. The Recreation Center is one of the only local establishments that supports a broad range of health and wellness for the entire I-70 corridor.
Grant Award: $58,000

Bennett Park and Recreation District
Pool Cover

A grant was awarded  for a pool cover at the Bennett Recreation Center. A pool cover will conserve energy and save costs.
Grant Award: $21,000

City of Brighton
Benedict Park Improvements

This centrally located, community-loved park will revitalize the park experience and provide updated/upgraded amenities. The highly visible, 21.83-acre Benedict Park project includes: two new playgrounds (one with sensory play and the other with an obstacle course), replacement of very old irrigation system (to provide water efficiency and less maintenance), an improved skate park, three new ADA-accessible shelters, trail loop connection, safety lighting, identification signs, upgraded amenities, trees, and resodding of disturbed construction areas. This project revitalizes Benedict Park through highly needed construction improvements.
Grant Award: $1,750,000

City of Commerce City
Open Space Restoration

Commerce City began restoring the open space near Second Creek in 2019. The last three years have been very successful, and staff plans to continue restoration in the Second Creek corridor, as well as expand it to the Prairie Gateway Open Space, an open space in the southern part of the city. Restoration includes weed mitigation, erosion control, revegetation with native species, and ongoing monitoring and maintenance. This project will ultimately result in healthier prairie grasslands, a higher quality habitat for wildlife, and a better experience for trail users in these spaces.
Grant Award: $260,000

City of Commerce City
Single Rider Golf Cart Purchase

Buffalo Run Golf Course, owned and operated by the City of Commerce City, hopes to purchase one  Solo Rider, single-rider golf cart geared toward disabled golfers. Single-rider golf carts are specifically designed for individuals with mobility disabilities,; Purchasing one of the specialized carts would provide opportunities for more people to participate in the game of golf. Buffalo Run hopes to provide a safe and fulfilling experience for individuals with disabilities in the community, improving their overall well-being and quality of life. This grant will help enhance the quality of life for Adams County residents and demonstrates a commitment to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities in the community.
Grant Award: $13,250

City of Northglenn
Fox Run Playground Project

This project includes a complete renovation of three playgrounds within the Fox Run subdivision. These three parks, known as North Park, Central Park, and South Park for their location within the neighborhood, are well used by community members. Aging equipment will be replaced with thematic, engaging new play structures. Since all three parks are within walking distance for many community members, it allows for each to have a distinctive audience. Currently, North Park and South Park playgrounds are designed for children between the ages of 2-5 years old and Central Park is designed for children between the ages of 5-12 years old. This playground renovation will upgrade these parks with new exciting and engaging features and add enhanced ADA-accessible, poured-in-place safety surfacing. Funding has been identified through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) disbursements to provide matching funds, but it isn’t enough to create a truly innovate play space that creates a sense of place for each of the three parks.
Grant Award: $250,000

City of Northglenn
Aquatic Adventure Cross Project

The Northglenn Recreation Center, Senior Center & Theatre is seeking a fun, out-of-the-box system to enhance programming in the lap pool. The addition of an aquatic adventure course, like the Ninja Cross System, is a retractable system that allows for the lap pool to be utilized for traditional lap swim, as well as have the opportunity to add a whole new fun fitness element. The system would be mounted directly to the facility’s existing roof structure, which lowers into position for use. The course is creatively designed with interchangeable obstacles that are fully customizable to continually create new course sand challenges with a range of difficulty. With more than 20 obstacles placed above, below, and on the water, the courses create three-dimensional challenges for swimmers and aquatics exercisers of all ages and at any fitness level. This system will complement the overall programming for the aquatic facility that otherwise may be limited to specific user groups. The unique combination of recreation, fitness, and extreme sports are all combined in the system, making it a unique enhancement to our pool that may otherwise be specifically programmed for a traditional demographic. An aquatic adventure course can be deployed in under 60 seconds to supplement programming – from high-intensity, low-impact exercise to fan-driven competitive events and recreational obstacle course racing. This enhancement is anticipated to generate new member interest at our aquatic center, particularly amongst youth and teens. The 154,633 gallon Natatorium is a tremendous asset in the new Northglenn Recreation Center. The goal of this project is to enhance the six lane, 25 yard lap pool with a retractable obstacle course for all generations.
Grant Award: $300,000

City of Northglenn
Trail Map and Signage Stewardship Project

The Trail Signage and Stewardship Project will improve utilization of the trail system by providing accurate maps, informative trail signage, and increased engagement with park rangers. Funding is needed to improve the design of the trail map, print pocket trail maps for the community, and design and install trailway finding signage at key areas around the city. Currently, there is minimal signage on Northglenn’s trails. New trail maps and signage will encourage safety, community and regional connectivity, and trail usage. This will be paired with improved patrol of the trail system by our park ranger staff with two additional electric bicycles, safety equipment, and park ranger program materials. The seasonal park ranger program is a stewardship-focused program that educates users, encourages safety and proper use of public resources, and serves as a true community liaison.
Grant Award: $25,000

City of Thornton
Playground and Nature Play Rehab & Installation

Thornton has 73 playgrounds, 39% of which are 20 years old and do not meet the design guidelines. Thornton recognizes the value of play and nature for healthy childhood development and is committed to connecting children to the outdoors. This grant will support playground rehabilitation at four aged playgrounds, will design and build two nature play areas, and will add nature and sensory play along trails and other playgrounds.
Grant Award: $1,227,500

City of Thornton
Niver Open Space Improvements Second Ask

This project will activate and enliven the 63-acre Niver Open Space area through the addition of a lighted parking lot trailhead, an improved intersection at 88th Avenue and Conifer Street, site furniture, a climbing feature, nature playgrounds, trail upgrades, a rocky low-water crossing, a shade pavilion, plantings, and restoration of degraded vegetation. The city has an intergovernmental agreement with Mile High Flood District (MHFD) to coordinate design and construction. Thornton has been managing the design process and will be involved in implementation. Since the 2021 Adams County Open Space grant request, some of the costliest project scope has been removed, while estimated costs have increased due to requirements for new intersection infrastructure (88th Avenue and Conifer Road), as well as due to inflation. The streamlined project scope will achieve the project goals, while preserving more of the open space in its natural condition.
Grant Award: $910,000

City of Thornton
Ballfield Backstops & Baselines

Building upon the Parks and Open Space Master Plan in 2017, the City of Thornton outlined a 10-year plan to repair and replace aging ballfield infrastructure at 27 of its 33 ballfields. Fencing and wood planks used for backstops, dugouts, baselines, and outfields had been stretched, bent, rotted, broken, and dilapidated by repeatedly being hit, climbed, and otherwise battered during everyday use. Resulting gaps in the fencing poses increased risk of injury for players and onlookers and has given the parks an unkempt appearance, encouraging misuse and vandalism. Thornton Parks and Recreation researched best practices and identified opportunities to enhance the durability of ballfield facilities by using a thicker gauge fence fabric, reinforcing the fabric with an added crossbar, and replacing painted natural wood with heavy-duty composite backboards. These improvements will help to level the proverbial playing field for Thornton’s diverse population. Representing three of the city’s four wards, the proposed 2023 ballpark improvements will serve populations with significant risk for chronic illnesses including asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. All four parks are in neighborhoods with high proportions of racial/ethnic minorities and non-English speakers. Two of the parks (McAllister and Yorkborough) have high proportions of disabilities, unemployment, and low educational attainment (CDPHE Community Health Equity Map 2015-2019). Research indicates a strong correlation between outdoor play and a wide range of benefits to children’s physical, social, and emotional health (LoBue 2021). Investing in the quality of public recreational amenities provides better outdoor play options for Thornton families and can help combat cyclical poverty and disease. This project entails renovating five ballfields at four ballpark locations including three elementary schools and one community park.
Grant Award: $25,000

City of Westminster
Open Space Utility Vehicle Acquisition

The Open Space Division at the City of Westminster is exploring the option of buying two new UTVs to support land management and maintenance operations in our 3,800+ acres of open space. The division currently has two Kawasaki Mules that are both over 10 years old and need replacement. Both mules are operating with old technology and do not run at the most efficient level. They also have parts that need constant maintenance throughout the year due to their age. Two new UTVs would allow open space staff to operate at a safer and more efficient standard when conducting management operations in the open space. The primary utilization of the UTV’s will be noxious weed management. Noxious weed management is a key component of the divisions ongoing effort to restore the city’s open space lands to healthy, native short-grass prairie ecosystems. Staff employs integrated pest management (IPM) strategies to meet this ecosystem goal. UTVs are vital in carrying out these methods but are particularly important for chemical applications. They are some of the safest and most efficient vehicles to apply chemicals on uneven terrain, like the kind found in Westminster’s open space. Both UTVs will carry 100-gallon spray tanks that have a boom-less nozzle spray attachment and a fixed-boom spray attachment, allowing us to efficiently cover large open space areas for treatment while minimizing disturbance to native landscapes.
Grant Award: $25,000

Hyland Hills Parks and Recreation District
Hyland Hills Sports Complex – Phase 1 Renovation Project

The mini grant that Hyland Hills was awarded to acquire design and concept plans gave Hyland Hills a vision of how the Hyland Hills Sports Complex should be improved. The purpose of the drainage, irrigation, and playground and shelter placement is to activate those plans and concepts. The fields are in poor condition and many times unplayable. The existing playground is located in the middle of the parking lot, which is a safety concern and will be removed and replaced with a new accessible playground structure located in the former batting cage area. There will be three to five shelters adjacent to the future playground.
Grant Award: $1,866,240

Hyland Hills Parks and Recreation District
Carroll Butts Park Master Plan

The purpose of this project is to plan and design improvements to Carroll Butts Park. This park is very popular for residents to recreate on the tennis court, playground, and sports fields. The walking paths throughout the park are also heavily used by residents. The park is due for an update as many amenities are beyond their typical lifespan. Proposed improvements would also explore adding recreational amenities to further meet the needs of the community. Proposed amenities could potentially include pickleball courts, more walking paths, more picnic shelters, and a reimagined playground area. In addition, a major component of this project is water conservation. A new irrigation storage pond for more sustainable water needs is proposed as part of this project, in addition to converting manicured turf areas to more natural, low-maintenance turf.
Grant Award: $25,000

Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership, Inc.
SCRGP Environmental Education (Spark.Inspire.Embrace)

The Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership (SCRGP) uses the 13.1 miles of the Sand Creek Regional Greenway as an outdoor classroom for historically underserved youth, families, and adults living in the northeast metro Denver area. Funding from the grant will support SCRGP’s “Spark.Inspire.Embrace.” environmental education program, which offers equitable, experiential, and hands-on environmental education for peope of all ages and abilities living near the Sand Creek Greenway. Using nature as the catalyst, SCRGP’s programs help to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards.
Grant Award: $116,129.60

Strasburg Metro Parks and Recreation District
Wolf Creek Run Athletic Fields Renovation

The Wolf Creek Run Athletic Fields Renovation project will nearly double the athletic facilities available for the residents of Strasburg. This project will rehabilitate an existing sports complex and provide immediate benefits at a fraction of the price it would take to build a brand-new facility. There is a huge need for additional field space as a result of the growing community and demand for youth sports. What makes this project especially attractive is the groundwork is already complete. This will be the first youth soccer field in Strasburg.
Grant Award: $442,250

Town of Bennett
Trupp Park Phase VI

With support from Adams County Open Space, the town has made significant and much needed improvements to Trupp Park over the last seven years. These improvements have included new improved drainage, a new playground, a new skate and bicycle playground, a new play field, a new grandstand, and repaired trails. Trupp Park is currently identified as the town’s "community park" making it one of the town's most highly utilized amenities. For this phase of the project, the primary improvements will be adding additional lighting, expanding the popular skate park, and finalizing the landscaping.
Grant Award: $225,000

Town of Bennett
Highway 79 Permanent Trail Construction

The trail that runs along Highway 79 through Bennett was installed as a temporary asphalt trail in 2008 by the developers responsible for the King Soopers in Bennett Market Place. This trail has quickly become the backbone of the town's Adams County Trail system as it connects to many of the town’s business districts, trails, and parks. Currently, the trail is in serious disrepair as the useful life of 10 years or less has expired. The town replaced a portion of the trail in 2020, but there is still an asphalt portion that needs to be replaced. The replacement will be an eight-foot-wide concrete trail from just past Muegge Way to North Marketplace.
Grant Award: $140,000

Town of Bennett
Open Space Event Bleachers

The Town of Bennett hosts many free outdoor events for the community. These events primarily take place in Trupp Park, but we have also hosted events at the Historic Charles Muegge House, the Corridor of Honor, and the Mount View Cemetery. The events include Party in the Park, Veterans Day Celebrations, BBQ, and more. The largest event we host is Bennett Days, which typically includes a free bull riding event and a concert. In years past, we have rented bleachers for these events. However, the events have grown in popularity, and the cost to rent a sufficient set of bleachers has become a burden on our budget which has led to us having to consider charging a fee for the events. Therefore, we are hopeful to purchase our own portable bleachers that can be moved to different Adams County Open Space events to accommodate our attendees.
Grant Award: $25,000