Survey helps define Dolores playground project

Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018 5:17 PM
The results of a community survey for a new playground to replace the previous structure, shown here, were released this month. Potential builders and grant funding are being sought for the project, slated for 2019.

The Dolores Parks Advisory Committee has released the results of a community survey about a new playground planned for Joe Rowell Park.

The survey was distributed earlier in the year and was filled out by 634 individuals over a broad age range. In addition, more than 100 local children gave their input at local events and during classroom exercises.

Of the survey respondents, 34 percent lived in town, 34 percent lived within the Dolores ZIP code, and the rest resided in the surrounding region or have roots in the area.

Ninety-seven percent of respondents would like to see a new playground built in Joe Rowell Park, and aside from the river trail, the previous playground was the primary reason most people visited the park. The previous playground equipment was removed in January because of safety concerns, and the town created a parks committee to start planning for a new one.

Survey takers preferred the new playground serve children ages 2-12 and that future park projects incorporate additional play and exercise features for teens and adults.

“The playground should be unique to the town of Dolores and should not be composed primarily of prefabricated components,” according to a survey summary. “Ideally, the playground will again be a significant landmark in the region.”

Also, according to survey results, the playground should allow for group and individual play, stimulate imagination, create a gathering space for people of all ages, be accessible for users of all abilities and be ADA compliant, and have good visibility along with safe hiding areas that create a sense of mystery during play.

During a town board meeting Aug. 13, the committee recommended “incorporating elements of natural, landscape-based style with more traditional play and sculptural features to create a hybrid play area. The new playground should emphasize or reference natural elements, materials and natural play.”

According to survey results, 49 percent had a strong interest in a natural-style playground.

Survey takers said the playground should include a variety of features for climbing, swinging and sliding. Other features with strong community interest include monkey bars, musical elements, and a zip line. A sculptural element is also wanted that references a local or historical theme.

Also, there is very strong interest in creating better shade around the play area, adding sitting areas, and increasing accessibility for all users.

New Dolores Town Manager Jay Ruybalid will be reaching out to playground construction companies to gauge interest and inform them of community preferences on style. Once the town determines the budget for a new playground, a formal request for bids will be released.

The town will be applying for grants to help pay for the new playground project, Ruybalid said. The application deadline for a Colorado Health Foundation grant is Oct. 15, and the Great Outdoor Colorado grant deadline is Nov. 1.

If funding can be obtained, the plan is to begin construction in 2019, parks committee members said.

Parks Committee vacancyThe Dolores Parks Committee is looking to fill a vacancy. Applicants can submit name, physical address and phone number with their letter of interest to the Dolores Town Board of Trustees at town of Dolores, P.O. Box 630, Dolores, Colorado or 420 Central Ave., Dolores, Colorado, no later than 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 27. Appointments will be made on Aug. 27 at 6:30 p.m.

Questions can be referred to the town of Dolores at 420 Central Ave., Dolores, Colorado, or 970-882-7720.