Rifle DDA plans to open Centennial Park in 2005
Post Independent Staff
RIFLE ” Right smack in the middle of Rifle is a large parcel of open space. Except for a bike path that parallels Rifle Creek and meanders through tall grasses and trees, the parcel is unimproved.
But, perhaps, not for long.
The city of Rifle’s Downtown Development Authority has plans to transform the field into Centennial Park ” just in time for Rifle’s centennial celebration in September 2005.
“Centennial Park will be Rifle’s biggest park,” said Tom Stuver, chairman of Rifle’s DDA.
Garfield County Fairgrounds is on the north side of the parcel, and the Park Avenue neighborhood is on the west. To the south is 3rd Street, and Rifle Middle School is on the east.
Stuver made a presentation Tuesday to the Garfield School District Re-2 board of education at its regularly scheduled meeting to gain the district’s support and involvement in the proposed park.
Though not committing themselves at this point, the board passed a resolution authorizing the school district to enter into negotiations regarding the park with the city of Rifle and the DDA.
Besides the Rifle Middle School campus, the district owns other land that would be included in the park. A small portion of the proposed park is owned privately, and the rest is owned by the city.
Stuver said the park would directly benefit the district. He said plans include constructing an outdoor learning center and nature center, taking advantage of the beaver ponds and wetlands that currently exist at the site.
“We’d like for Rifle schools to utilize those areas,” Stuver said.
Another educational component of the planned park is a “Rifle Time Line” that will tell 100 years of Rifle’s history through a series of markers and benches that will be placed along the bike path that runs lengthwise through the park.
Stuver said plans are to build direct routes to school through the park.
“Now, a lot of parents drive their kids to school,” said Stuver. “They drive them all the way around. We’d like to create a direct way for kids living on the west side of town to get to school through the park.”
Those plans include building a new bridge across Rifle Creek to replace the old iron bridge that was torn down last summer due to unsafe conditions.
Stuver told the district that other uses for the park include playgrounds for small children, and picnic areas.
“Right now, the children that live in that neighborhood have no playground facilities,” Stuver said. “And there are some spots near the creek with beautiful, big cottonwood trees, that we’d like to see turned into places for people to picnic or sit by the creek. It’s ideal because there’s no road nearby. It’s quiet and peaceful.”
Stuver said the budget for the park is $200,000 ” $100,000 to come from cash contributions from the private sector and $100,000 in in-kind donations.
Re-2 superintendent Gary Pack and the school board were enthusiastic about Stuver’s plans.
“That area has so much potential,” said board member Jan Hubbell.
Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518
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