Thornton preps new park

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Thornton city employees are laying down the sod and final landscaping touches to the Margaret W. Carpenter Park in preparation for its grand unveiling next month during the city’s annual ThorntonFest celebration.

“I can’t wait,” Capital Projects and Planning Manager Diane Van Fossen said. “One of the best parts about what I do is seeing citizens use our facilities and enjoy it. For me, having it open to the public is our goal and getting to see peoples’ happy faces is just great — it’s the best part of what I do.”

The official May 18 unveiling of the Margaret W. Carpenter Park and Open Space site — located on the southwest corner of 112th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard — will culminate nearly two years of work that kicked off in summer 2011.

Construction on the nearly $12 million, which was spearheaded by Loveland-based general contractor ECI Site Construction Management Inc., began in July 2011 shortly after Thornton City Council approved the project’s final development plan.

These construction costs, Van Fossen said, were primarily funded through the city’s park and open space tax revenues along with over $2 million in grants, including two Adams County Open Space Grant awards totaling $1,876,122; a $200,000 Great Outdoors Colorado Local Government Grant award; and a 21,800 Division of Wildlife “Fishing is Fun” grant.

A majority of the 48-acre park, including the 300- to 500-seat outdoor amphitheater, 14,529-square-foot skate park and 18,000-square-foot playground, opened to the public on Feb. 20.

Recreation and Program Facility Supervisor Jan van der Sanden said residents can also take advantage of the four lighted tennis courts, two basketball courts, two volleyball courts, two bocce ball areas, two horseshoe pits and two shuffleboards but must provide their own equipment.

The park’s indoor carousel from the old Biggs store, splash ground, flush toilets and paddle boat rental are next to the park’s two lakes will operate on a seasonal basis from May until about August each year and will not be available for use until the start of ThorntonFest.

Resident fees for the two- or four-person paddle boats and two-person canoes will range from $5 to $7 for a 30-minute rental, but Van der Sanden said residents will be able to use these amenities free of charge during ThorntonFest. The city, he said, will also charge residents a $1 per ride on the indoor carousel.

Van der Sanden also said the outdoor amphitheater will be the stage for the festival’s annual Battle of the Bands competition.

Northglenn resident Yvette Yrigollen said her family have visited the park at least three times since they moved from Carlsbad, N.M. six months ago — a place that, she said, has less playground options to keep the children busy.

“We really love this playground,” Yrigollen said as her five young family members played nearby. “The kids really enjoy coming here and it seems to be a lot safer to play on with the turf that they have.”

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