New Castle park open for business

Alex Zorn

Mayor Art Riddile, other city officials and those that helped with the project stood by for the ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday at Bear Dance Park.
Alex Zorn / Post Independent |

A project that has been in talks since the late ’90s became reality when New Castle cut the ribbon on Bear Dance Park Monday.

“Here we are,” Mayor Art Riddile said. He explained a park with a playground and tennis courts has been discussed and featured in New Castle master plans for decades. The initial plan was to build Bear Dance Park in 2008, but an economic downturn delayed those plans for years.

The town made several unsuccessful grant submissions to Greater Outdoors Colorado, a state organization which invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails and wildlife. Then, in 2016, New Castle won the grant money while competing with nearly 100 other projects across the state.

“The favorite part of my job is to come out and see the various parks in Colorado we help to build,” GOCO representative Madison Brannigan said. “This was truly a community-driven effort that is going to serve New Castle for years to come. We are thrilled to be a partner.”

GOCO was among the biggest partners to the project, investing $347,000 total. The park cost $637,000 to build, with the city putting in $150,000 and Warrior Golf contributing $100,000.

John Wenzel, New Castle public works director, said the project would not have been completed so quickly if not for the New Castle town staff who helped install underground facilities, performed concrete curbing and flat work and assembled playground equipment. The cost of the labor is estimated at $140,000, he said.

The park is located next to the Lakota Canyon Ranch neighborhood and is expected to serve as a much-needed attraction in an area of town that continues to grow.

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