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Ken Mitchell Park and Open Space master plan designs get public look

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — Members of the public were able to have a final say in the Ken Mitchell Park and Open Space master plan during a June 27 public meeting. Resident’s were able to give their final input before the master plan is presented to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

The last master plan for the park and open space was created in 2006 and Parks and Recreation Director Gary Wardle said a lot has changed since then. The addition of Earger’s Pond to the system of reservoirs is among those changes, as is converting Cell 2 into more acreage instead of water storage. The park’s activity area has been relocated to Cell 2 and entrances to the park were reconsidered. 

The city is also working to acquire two pieces of property that would enhance the park’s features — the property surrounding the Aichelman house that will serve as the entrance to the park and a parcel of property to the east of Cell 3 that would be converted into a beach and swimming area for residents. 

Proposed amenities for the park includes biking and walking trails; a playground, two basketball courts; two tennis courts; an 18 hole, tournament friendly disc golf course; a multi-use turf area as big as two soccer fields; a skate park; a large dog park and a 25 foot sledding hill. The park would also have a grand fishing pier, a boat structure,  picnic area, shade structures and restrooms. 

The master plan also includes the Colorado Front Range Trail, a walking and biking trail which spans from the Veteran’s Park to about 136th Avenue; a wildlife habitat around Earger’s pond located west of the Front Range Trail; restoring Third Creek’s flow to the Platte River; and using the Aichelman house as a visitor’s center. Wardle said they are even suggesting leaving a portion of the land bridge in Cell 1 to be transformed into a bird and wildlife habitat. 

During the meeting several resident’s expressed the importance of having access to the river for boating and kayaking. Wardle said that is something they’re willing to explore further. 

In respect to the time frame of the project, Wardle said he anticipates mining at the site to be completed in 2016 and hopes to have the Front Range Trail completed by the end of 2016, early 2017. He said the city has just received a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado for the Front Range Trail and that they have applied for a Natural Resource and Damages fund grant. 

Wardle said the park won’t be completed all at once but will be worked on in pieces at a time, as  the city has other parks and recreation needs the project has to compete with.

“The important thing is people need to know that it’s a long-term plan. It’s not something that’s going to happen tomorrow,” Wardle said. 

The master plan will be presented to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board at 5:30 p.m. July 9 at the Recreation Center, 555 North 11th Avenue. The public will be able to give feedback at that time. The master plan will be presented to city council during its study session at 6 p.m. July 22 at city hall.