Colorado Lottery recognizes Longmont with Starburst Award for Garden Acres Park renewal

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Jul. 25—Longmont City Council and staff on Tuesday night are to note the Colorado Lottery's recognition of the multimillion-dollar renovation of Garden Acres Park, a project funded in part with state lottery revenues.

The Colorado Lottery, which is also expected to have representatives at Tuesday's council meeting, announced earlier this year that it had designated Longmont as a recipient of what it calls a Starburst Award, recognizing Longmont's use of $1.98 million in Conservation Trust Fund lottery dollars to help fund the $5 million total cost of improving and upgrading the community park at 2058 Spencer St.

Garden Acres Park, throughout its 32-year existence, has been "one of Longmont's most highly utilized parks," Colorado Lottery officials said in an April news release.

However, "due to the consistent high level of use throughout the years, the park was in disrepair and did not provide a safe, accessible, user-friendly experience to Longmont residents and visitors," Colorado Lottery officials said in their news release, and in 2014, Longmont identified Garden Acres "as the highest priority park in need of renewal in the city."

City staff said in a memo to the council for Tuesday's meeting that "playgrounds had been vandalized and burned, railings were loose, falling over and missing, seating was broken and missing, concrete was cracking and heaving, retaining walls were damaged, restrooms were in disrepair, landscaping and irrigation was failing, and lighting was not working.

"Several playgrounds and amenities had to be decommissioned and removed due to safety issues," city staff wrote. "In 2014, the Garden Acres Community Park was identified as the highest priority park in need of renewal in the City as part of the new Parks, Recreation & Trails Master Plan."

Colorado Lottery officials said in their April news release that "after coming up with a master plan update and renewal plan," the work re-established "a safe, usable, accessible, and enjoyable experience at Garden Acres Community Park. The design focused on creating ADA compliance for the entire four-plex, which required re-grading the concrete walks to all features of the sports complex including spectator seating, dugouts, the center pavilion, restrooms, and score booths. Two new playgrounds were also designed to be ADA compliant and feature a mix of rubber tile surfacing, poured in place rubber surfacing, engineered wood fiber, a sand play area, and universally accessible play components."

City staff said in their memo for Tuesday's meeting that "enhanced safety was also achieved by opening up views throughout the park. Retaining walls were removed, unneeded chain link fencing was eliminated, and shelters were renovated to be open on all four sides. These open views, in addition to extensive lighting improvements, create visibility throughout the four-plex, which is a primary principal of CPTED, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design."

Staff wrote, "Additional goals that were achieved by the project included site improvements that now adhere to current city codes and standards as well as current building codes. These included installing a new ADA compliant restroom with increased capacity and a family restroom. Drainage issues were addressed by improving grading and changing roof structures to drain away from ball fields. The ball fields themselves were re-graded.

"Additionally, the overall maintenance needs at the park were reduced by simplifying landscaping, providing strategically located trash collection locations, and providing functional, durable infrastructure. A lockable vending machine vestibule is available for lower use times such as weeknight leagues, and an area for food trucks is available for high use tournaments," staff said.

Longmont was able to do the project in two phases, city staff reported. Phase One replaced the raw water irrigation pump system for the park and was completed in 2018. Phase Two was a full renovation of the four-plex sports complex which included a new restroom building, two new playgrounds, dugout, score booth, and shelter renovations, landscape and irrigation upgrades, new site furniture, a new trash enclosure structure, parking lot improvements, lighting improvements, and concrete renovations. Phase Two was completed in 2019.

The city's share of the $5 million-plus total project expense was funded by the Longmont city budget's Public Improvement Fund, which gets its money from tax revenues, as well as Longmont's Parks and Greenway Maintenance Fee fund, which earmarks fee revenues to pay for the operation and maintenance of the city's parks, trails and greenways, city staff and Colorado Lottery officials reported.

"With existing dollars stretched thin, lottery dollars made this large project possible," city staff wrote.

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If you go

What: Longmont City Council regular meeting

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Civic Center Council Chambers, 350 Kimbark St., Longmont

Agenda: tinyurl.com/yt4j3b5b