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Open Space sets priorities for park projects

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By Sandy Barnes

Jefferson County Open Space has set an extensive list of goals and priorities for improvements to parks in its system this year.

Trailhead construction is planned at Matthews/Winters Park and in the western portion of Mount Falcon Park. At Apex Park, there are plans to build a bike skills challenge course, with an estimated completion date in November.

Lair O’ the Bear, Mount Falcon, Matthews/Winters and Pine Valley Ranch parks are slated for restroom replacement. At South Valley Park, a san-o-let will be replaced with a vault toilet.

“The recurring theme is bathroom issues and restroom improvements,” Anna Smith, Jeffco planning supervisor, said in a report to the Jeffco Open Space Advisory Committee last month.

At Matthews/Winters Park, a variety of other issues exist, including the need for trail improvements and a new kiosk, Smith added.

Elk Meadow Park in Evergreen is also scheduled for trail improvements this year, which may include a secondary location for the trailhead at the dog off-leash park on Stagecoach Road, Smith said.

Other key projects for Jeffco Open Space include completing the North Fork Trail and segments 7 and 8 of the Clear Creek trail in the Peak to Plains project by February 2015.

Developing nature and park-related history education, and communications and community involvement plans are also among priorities for 2014, along with a study of natural resources at recently acquired properties at Blue Mountain and Deer Creek.

“Things that are on this list are not all-inclusive, including land acquisition. It’s an important part of what this organization does,” said Tom Hoby, director of Jeffco Open Space.

The first priority for Open Space is completing repairs to flood-damaged parks, Hoby remarked. While some repairs have been made since last September, much work still needs to be done, including trail reconstruction at Apex Park, which remains closed.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Hoby.

Jeffco Open Space has applied for state and federal funding for flood repairs.

Members of the Open Space Advisory Committee also have identified topics for consideration this year, such as possible night use of parks and a study of mountain lions.

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com.