Planning for Centennial Park makeover

Enthusiasm is growing. At a May 19 public meeting held at the Leeper Center, members of the Parks Advisory Board, downtown business owners and interested citizens met to discuss design options for Centennial Park, Wellington’s downtown park on Cleveland Street.

“I was thrilled by the amount of interest, input and enthusiasm shown by those in attendance,” said Wendy DuBord, executive director of the Wellington Colorado Mai Streets Program.

The Parks Advisory Board will orchestrate the project. The Main Streets Program received a grant of $5,200 from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to fund the design phase. DOLA has a program through the University of Colorado in Denver to help rural communities with design and planning to move projects to a point where they can seek funding.

Three graduate students, working through UCD’s Colorado Center for Community Development under Mike Tupa, the program’s director, presented six alternates for park development.

“The favorite was unanimous,” DuBord said. She went on to describe how a downtown park differs from a community park because the focus is on play equipment and playing fields.

Downtown parks cater to all sorts of gatherings. Those who work in town may stroll and have lunch in the park. It is often a place for summer concerts and special events. Also, it can house a public art display.

Input from the meeting indicated that people were interested in having some sort of performance area, space for the Farmers’ Market, “organic” play area, water feature, picnic tables and centrally located large tree suitable for a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Also, suggestions were made for turf, hardscape, parking areas, restrooms, signs identifying the park and trees that provide plenty of shade.

DuBord was careful to say that the current plans are preliminary, subject to change and dependent on funding for implementation. The entire redesign will not happen all at once and may take as long as five years to complete. She emphasized that grant opportunities are available and an initial small grant would be sufficient to begin the project and make it more possible to find additional funding.

A special meeting of the Parks Advisory Board is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on June 30 at the Leeper Center to review the final design. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

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