Two public meetings this month launch the visioning exercise for the redevelopment of Memorial Park. With its view of Pikes Peak, the signature pond and urban location, the park is a vital piece of the city’s landscape.
In April, the city awarded a $24,320 contract to Land Patterns, Inc. to design the plan. “We envisioned the project in a community-driven process,” said David Morrison who, with Bryan Kniep and David Mijares, leads the public process July 17 and 24. “We want stakeholder involvement to make sure the community feels engaged and invested in the outcome of the master plan.”
The project springs from the city’s comprehensive plan which identified the redevelopment as the number priority for the parks and recreation department directed by Cindy Keating.
“We want to have ideas flowing about how people use as well as perceive the park and how it all meshes together,” Morrison said.
A visioning exercise is a chance for the citizens to put voice to their dreams of how the park could enhance the community. “Our design will be based on their input,” Morrison said. “Everybody’s going to have a different dream or idea and we cherish that, look forward to all the input we can get.”
While most cities have memorial parks, the visioning is designed to identify unique characteristics of the one in Woodland Park. As well, the exercise is expected to identify the park user and to spotlight the amenities.
“Are the amenities sacred, should always stay there?” Morrison said. “Or are there amenities that don’t belong, don’t function well?”
Among the issues that may come up are parking, the desire for festivals and a place reserved for open space, Kniep said. “While we’re going through this, we’re also doing sight analysis, looking at viewsheds, doing an inventory of the trees and identifying the park’s features.”
After two public sessions, the landscape architecture and planning firm retreats to the drawing board. “We’ll take all the design ideas back to the office, filter through the information and see a theme start to evolve,” Morrison said.
The public is once again invited back in August to refine the preliminary plan, an exercise followed by approval by the city’s parks and recreation advisory board. Ultimately, the Woodland Park City Council will approve the final plan. “If we need to, we will do the redevelopment in phases,” Keating said. “Grants are getting tougher and tougher to get.”
The public sessions are from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. July 17 and from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 24 at the Ute Pass Cultural Center.