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Pocket Park plan previewed

WALSENBURG — Walsenburg’s Downtown Revitalization group and Downtown GID hope an eye catching design of the lot at Sixth and Main Streets will stop many of the millions of vehicles that pass through the community each year. Downtown Revitalization hosted a public showing of two designs for the Pocket Park Tuesday night at Walsenburg City Hall. The designs were made by senior landscape architect, and city planning students from University of Colorado Denver, under the direction of Technical Assistance Coordinator Jeff Wood. The initial design work was paid for by Downtown Revitalization and a grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs through the University Technical Assistance Program / Colorado Center for Community Development. The students making the public presentation were Ben Wurzer, architect and landscape architect, Chris Whitenhill, urban planner and Alex Taft, landscape architect. Downtown Revitalization was represented by

Gaye Davis, April Moran, Cindy Campbell and Karen Wilson. After the presentation of the two proposed designs, public comments were taken. The two designs incorporate historic and cultural elements; including backdrops to a stage area paying homage to the Spanish Peaks. One depicts a mine shaft type of look, and the other a more contemporary vision. Both designs incorporate a stage and storage area, keeping in mind the various proposed uses for the park; the Farmers Market and other public events. Both designs include a drinking fountain, but not public restrooms, which the designers say could cost up to $100,000. The designs were made with the thought of low cost maintenance, as the City of Walsenburg remains in dire financial condition. Some of the comments from the public centered on the restrooms, and landscaping, noting the park has little in the way of green scaping, i.e. trees, or plants which again would be an ongoing maintenance expense. The designs presented both show flexibility for the addition of top cover and shading panels that could be installed temporarily and removed to accommodate different events. The public’s and governmental comments and suggestions will be taken into account as Downtown Revitalization members work towards making a final design selection, according to Davis. “From this point we will take all the thoughts and suggestions from the public and coalesce those into one design,” she said. Davis said Downtown Revitalization would like to have a final design selected by mid-April and the planners would then begin work on material and construction costs and assist in grant research to pay for the proposed project. Davis said the group hopes to have the design boards available for additional public viewing at La Plaza Inn, April’s Attic and possibly the Spanish Peaks Public Library in the near future. Action on a proposed Memorandum of Understanding concerning the Pocket Park project between the Downtown GID and the City of Walsenburg was postponed by city council earlier this year.