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When Castle Rock's town council approved the 2018 budget, parks and recreation director Jeff Brauer knew he'd have $2 million to build a new neighborhood park. The big question was, where would that be?
Residents got their answer in October after the town council selected a location in The Meadows from among five sites presented by Brauer at the Oct. 17 council meeting.
The other locations — one in Cobblestone Ranch, Castle Oaks, Castlewood Ranch and Crystal Valley Ranch — will all receive a park in the future, Brauer said, but staff recommended starting with The Meadows location after soliciting public input. Nearly 550 residents participated in an online survey and 26 others attended one of two open houses held by the town, of which nearly 60 percent favored building a park in The Meadows.
The site selection criteria also included a location's access to open space and trails, any existing public amenities, development costs, future maintenance costs, recreation potential and the area's population density.
The Meadows' park location, which is along Low Meadow Boulevard near the Aspen View Academy, is the smallest site from among the five options but has the largest surrounding population, Brauer said. The park will be approximately 5.5 acres and will serve nearly 1,200 homes. There are an additional 130 active building permits for the area.
“It's a fairly easy site to go ahead and develop,” he said, stating the area was flat, had already been graded and amenities were in place. “It makes a pretty good fit for us to maximize the budget that's available.”
Jeff Smullen, assistant director of Castle Rock's Parks and Recreation department, said the town will contract with a landscape architecture firm starting in December and engage residents in January to learn their preferences for the park. The town hopes to begin construction this summer and have the park completed by the spring of 2019, Smullen said.
Mayor Jennifer Green said she'd participated in a field day along with town staff to visit each proposed park site. Knowing amenities were already in place made The Meadows site an attractive option and would help the town get more from its $2 million budget.
“Which sounds like quite a bit of money to each of us, but when building a park, it's not really a significant amount,” Green said.
For the remaining four park locations, the town estimates it will build a new park every two to three years. The town council will decide in which order parks are built.
Until then, the bidding and design process for The Meadows' park is underway. Construction will likely begin in 2018. Updates on the project will be posted to CRgov.com/FutureParks.
“It really does look like you did some good homework on this, Jeff,” Councilmember George Teal told Brauer. “It looks like the analysis is very solid and it looks like it's going to be a great site. Very shovel ready.”
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