Redstone park takes shape for remodel
October 17, 2014
The Elk Park project at Redstone, managed by Pitkin County Open Space and Trails on open space land, has the basic outlines of the new park in place, but winter weather will stop the project until next spring.
Cathy Montgomery was on the Elk Park steering committee that was organized by open space staff. She is also a member of the Redstone Community Association and was delighted to see Redstone finally get a dedicated recreational space.
"I've only heard positive comments from community members, and that's pretty terrific," Montgomery said. "It's already looking really nice, and I personally can't wait to start using it. We're also hoping the park will help people find our little town."
The planning process for the park started in 2010 as open space staff worked with the steering committee at Redstone. The committee identified the final design at Elk Park as a priority and worked with Open Space and Trails to advance the project.
In August, the project kicked into high gear with construction happening along the east side of Highway 133 and west of the Crystal River.
Elk Park will feature two large recreational fields, a new parking area and a sloped field at the south end of the project that is near the main entrance to Redstone. The sloped area will help mitigate flooding from the Crystal.
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Lindsey Utter, the recreation planner for the Open Space and Trails, has managed the construction at the project.
"The Elk Park area will give the local residents some great recreational options," Utter said. "That community lacked a real open area to kick a soccer ball. Redstone Park was the most they had, and it's narrow with a lot of use."
Phase one of the project called for the construction of a depot kiosk that will function as an open-air visitor and information center. That aspect of the project is funded mostly through a scenic byway grant of $124,000, which is federal money distributed by the Colorado Department of Transportation; Open Space and Trails will pay $31,000 and any additional costs for the depot.
Open Space and Trails did not receive an acceptable bid within its budget for construction of the kiosk and will reopen the bidding process this winter. The goal is to have the depot and kiosk project completed sometime in 2015, along with the rest of the park.
"In a ideal world, phase one would have been built two summers ago," Utter said. "But securing the funding through the CDOT review process took longer than we anticipated."
Historically, there was a train depot for Redstone in that location. Architecturally, the kiosk will look like a train depot with interpretive panels included. The panels will highlight the history of Redstone, including coal mining, geology, a map of the West Elk Loop Scenic Byway and historic photos.
Phase two of the project, which began in early August, involves work on the majority of the park, including the fields, parking, trails, interpretive signs and more. The outline of the park is now complete. Grass seeding will take place next week before the project is shut down until next spring. The seeding areas will be roped off, but the trails within the park are already being used.
The estimated cost of phase two will be $480,000 and paid for with county money.
Part of phase two will be the addition of the commemorative grow area, highlighting Redstone's past and presenting an area that will consolidate many of the memorials already dedicated in the town.
"We wanted to give the memorials a home of their own," Utter said. "So we put them into vegetation and planted about half the grow with trees to honor the memorials. We also left about half the trees as commemorative opportunities, so members of the community can purchase a tree to commemorate an event or a person."
Phase two also required an irrigation connection from the main line in Redstone Boulevard, necessitating a temporary closure of both the parking area at Elk Park and the pedestrian bridge over the Crystal River that links Redstone and Elk parks.