Wellington Community Park seeks community buy-in

Trustee Ashley Macdonald admitted that she hadn’t imagined having a discussion with Mayor Jack Brinkhoff and fellow trustee Tim Singewald standing on the water-soaked floor of a noisy pump house on the site of what will soon become Wellington’s newest and most expansive community park. All three are on the Wellington Parks Advisory Board whose goal is to establish, improve and maintain parks for the town. Long-time park activist, Lorilyn Borchardt, and Mayor Jack Brinkhoff co-chair the advisory board.

It was gray and chilly, too cold to chat outside, late on an October afternoon when the three met to talk about the topic currently most dear to their hearts — the Wellington Community Park project. Therefore the escape to the pump house.

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It’s been a long time in coming to fruition. More than 10 years ago, the developer of Buffalo Creek housing development, where the planned park is located, dedicated 30 acres of land and made a commitment to building a park as an enticement for selling lots. But plans lay dormant and unfunded until a couple of years ago when Buffalo Creek resident Tim Singewald began a campaign to make the park a reality.

His dedication, willingness to research the most cost-effective and efficient options and his continuing persistence catapulted him into a seat on the Wellington Board of Trustees.

A contest was held to name the park and a survey of citizens indicated they were behind the idea of a park for the use of the entire community that connected to a system of trails and bike paths in the area.

Architect Chuck Mayhugh has mapped a south to north trail through town and plans have been made for striping, signs and safety features.

GRASP, a GIS accounting system used for many large park projects, will assure sensible planning for the future. “This plan will avoid the need for a huge expensive study,” Macdonald said.

A design company and contractor have been hired and construction of utilities is underway. Grants are being sought from USDA, Great Outdoors Colorado and other entities, specifically for baseball and tennis venues.

In a letter being sent to local businesses and individuals, the advisory board describes the role of the park in promoting a sense of community. “This project will give people the opportunity to stay in town instead of having to travel for recreation. There are many smaller neighborhood parks but none with universally accessible offerings for people of all ages and abilities in one location. This park will have lighted ball fields, a splash pad, tennis courts, age appropriate playgrounds, a dog park, bathrooms and a shaded area for groups and families to spend time together.”

The town of Wellington has obtained a loan, which was approved by voters last April. Many businesses and individuals have made commitments to the $4 million project. Even with the anticipated grants, Singewald estimates the project needs another $800,000 for completion.

Weather permitting, progress on the park will continue through the winter with preparations being made for a grassy area, irrigation system, trees and shrubs, tennis courts, playground and dog park likely to be installed first.

Several levels have been established for donations beginning with a diamond level of $20,000 or more.

Macdonald and Singewald, both residents of Buffalo Creek, shared their excitement in announcing that their neighborhood HOA has made a commitment of $25,000, earmarked to ensure the construction and development of a state-of-the-art playground for all the children of Wellington.

Other levels from platinum through bronze and below have been identified. All donors will be acknowledged on the Wellington Park Advisory Board Facebook page and in the North Forty News. Large donors will receive a variety of other promotional benefits as well. All donations are tax deductible.

Checks are payable to the Town of Wellington and can be allocated specifically for such items as a tree or bench in someone’s memory, a picnic table, trash container or grill. For more information, contact Lorilyn Borchardt at lorilyn@yahoo.com or Jack Brinkhoff, brinkhjd@co.larimer.co.us.