Sodless park won’t open until next fall |

Sodless park won’t open until next fall

Greg Masse

Construction has begun on Glenwood Springs’ 13th city park and is expected to be largely finished in about two months, Parks and Recreation director Dan Rodgerson said.

But the park won’t be open to the public, even for light use, until fall 2003.

“The problem is we have to use seed instead of sod, and that delays the park’s opening,” Rodgerson said.

Grass seed will be planted next spring, so it will take until next fall for the grass to be able to handle activity.

“I spoke with the architect and our parks superintendent and determined that with proper application and irrigation, the fields should be ready for light use in the fall of 2003,” Rodgerson wrote in a memo to city manager Mike Copp.

The one exception could be allowing students from Sopris Elementary School to use a portion of the park for recess in late spring and early fall before the park opens.

A tight budget forced Rodgerson and his staff to go with seed instead of sod, and to trim other amenities at the park.

One major blow to the park’s budget was the denial of a $150,000 Great Outdoors Colorado, or GOCO, grant.

“Three times as many (entities) are vying for GOCO grants than there used to be,” he said. Grants that used to be all but assured now are less likely to be awarded.

Other features cut from the plan are rest rooms and two sand volleyball courts.

Despite these cutbacks, the seven-acre park will feature two baseball/softball fields, two soccer fields in their outfields, a concrete and earthen trail that encircles the park’s perimeter, pedestrian connections from the Cardiff Glen subdivision and Sopris Elementary School, picnic tables and drinking fountains.

“There’s a fairly substantial landscape plan, as well,” Rodgerson said.

The park, which has not yet been named, is located just east of Sopris Elementary School off Mount Sopris Drive. With the cost-cutting measures, the estimated cost is now $477,000.

The job of naming the park is in the hands of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission.

“The Parks and Rec Commission is doing more than just naming the park. They’re trying to figure out a naming policy on how we name our parks and why we name them that,” Rodgerson said.

Whatever the name, it will be convenient for students who attend Sopris Elementary School.

“It will be nice to have this in their backyard,” Rodgerson said.

Construction on the park began Sept. 30 and by Thursday, concrete sidewalks were being poured and earth grading was being completed.

“It looks like they finished the rough grade and they’re starting with the irrigation and sidewalks,” Rodgerson said.

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