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City advisory board eyeing recreational enhancements

By Chris Michlewicz; photos by Tim Gamble

Photo of kids playing in the splash pad at Elk Ridge Park

Kids play in the splash pad (above) at Elk Ridge Park.  The park is owned and maintained by the City of Castle Pines, which created a parks and recreation advisory board earlier this year to help oversee the expansion of recreational amenities throughout the City.

Educational monument at Elk Ridge Park

The creation of the Castle Pines Parks and Recreation Advisory Board has set into motion plans to enhance recreational opportunities across the City.

The advisory board to City Council was formed in February and its members are already identifying areas where changes can be made. Castle Pines being bisected by I-25 presents unique obstacles – as well as opportunities – for the City.

“We’ve done some exploratory excursions on the east side of I-25 and walked around the west side to get a grasp on what’s needed, what the challenges are, and where we can improve,” said Stew Larsen, chairman of the advisory board.

Currently, the City owns and maintains only a portion of recreational amenities in the area, including Elk Ridge Park and some of the trails in Castle Pines. The Castle Pines North Metro District (CPNMD) is in the process of deciding what to do with its parks, trails and open space after voters overwhelmingly approved the inclusion of CPNMD’s water and wastewater utilities into the Parker Water & Sanitation District in May. CPNMD dissolved its parks authority in June 2019 and transferred $719,000 to the City of Castle Pines Parks and Recreation Fund.

The Castle Pines Parks and Recreation Advisory Board is seeking new, more relevant activities to reflect today’s fitness and outdoor activities, and one of the most common requests centers on a growing sport, Larsen said.

“We’re getting strong demand and input about pickleball courts,” said Larsen, who plays the sport regularly. “We hear it, we know it, and we’re moving quickly toward a solution,” but a specific timeline has not been determined.

Pickleball skyrocketed in popularity among older adults in recent years, but has since spread to younger demographics.

The City is also interested in incorporating educational components into at least one park on the east side and is exploring the creation of a disc golf course. On the west side of Castle Pines, the board is looking at opportunities to complete trail connections, which involves working with other government entities.

“We want to provide better-than-average opportunities for all the homeowners and visitors who come to the City of Castle Pines and enjoy the outdoors, fitness and recreation,” Larsen said, adding the board is “trying to think big and trying to think relevant.”

Because it’s an advisory board, discussions continue with City leaders to determine priorities, funding and timing for future recreational improvements.

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