Herron Park improvements await fall planning effort
Local families hoping for improvements at the popular Herron Parkwill have to wait a while, according to city officials.That’s because, although the Aspen City Council has set asidemoney for some minimal work at the park next summer, it won’tbe until next fall that the parks department gets down to writingup a “master plan” for the park.”There’s no question that Herron Park is an important park, oneof our most popular parks,” conceded city Parks Director JeffWoods.But, he continued, “There’s so much going on right now, we thoughtwe’d wait” before taking on any new projects.Woods has been the city’s point man in putting together the listof capital improvement projects that will be the subject of abond election in May. At the polls, voters will be asked to authorizenearly $14 million in bonds to pay for a new recreation center,numerous ball fields and soccer fields, a basketball court andother recreational amenities.The money also would pay for construction of a pedestrian bridgeand underpass across Maroon Creek Road, linking the public schoolscampus with the recreational facilities at Iselin Park.Woods indicated that, with all that going on, he would not havethe time or staff to devote to significant improvements at HerronPark.But, he said, he hopes to begin work next fall on a master planfor the park which would include plans to do something with thesmall patch of land across Neal Street from the existing park.That land, which Woods referred to as “Herron Park East,” is ownedby the city but not slated for major improvements.”We’d like to keep it fairly low-key,” he said, leaving it inas natural a state as possible, with perhaps some benches or picnictables for “passive use.”In the meantime, he said, the City Council has allocated $50,000to move the swing sets at the park, relocating them to a spotcloser to the log playground equipment in the northwest cornerof the park. Part of the reason for this move, he said, is tokeep kids and parents from having to deal with the bicycle trafficalong the trail that bisects the park.He said part of the money may be used to do some work on the logplayground equipment itself, which is approaching 15 years oldand is in need of updating. For one thing, he said, it is not”ADA compliant,” meaning it is not handicapped accessible. Thefederal Americans with Disabilities Act requires that such facilitiesbe able to accommodate use by handicapped citizens.Woods said he will be seeking citizen ideas and opinions aboutwhat to do with Herron Park once the master planning process begins.
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