Frisco moves forward with $1.3 million peninsula improvement project
The town of Frisco began pouring concrete over a new and improved skate park at the Peninsula Recreation Area earlier this week, marking a leap forward in the town’s $1.3 million improvements initiative.
Along with the skate park, which will serve as a center point in the area’s reinvigoration, the town is also planning a new climbing area for children, bathroom expansions, landscape and connectivity improvements, and potentially more.
“I think the PRA itself is such a gem for Frisco,” said Diane McBride, director of recreation for Frisco. “There’s so many opportunities out there, and as we’ve gone through this planning process we really wanted to do it right. We want to make sure we’re giving the community amenities they’ll utilize. It’s a wonderful place and any opportunity to make it better or more sustainable is what we want to do.”
The prospect of upgrading the peninsula began three years ago with a series of community surveys, public open houses and council discussions that were later used to inform the design charrette completed by Norris Design in 2017. Last year the town completed nine new holes of disk golf and a new trail taking visitors behind the Water Dance neighborhood to the waterfront. The bulk of the improvements will be completed this fall and into next spring.
First up is the skate park. Designed by Evergreen Skateparks LLC, the sprawling 28,000-square-foot structure will be nearly three times the size of the old one. The original 10,000-square-foot park has been stripped of all its features, and will be turned into a street skating plaza with above-ground elements. The old section will be connected to the new, described by Evergreen founder Catherine Coulon as “a lunar landscape kind of flowing park” with jumps, bumps, bowl pockets, transition areas and more.
“It’s a really fun kind of park with a skateable street path that connects the old park to the new park,” said McBride. “There’s lots of different features, and it’s a lot bigger.”
The town expects the skate park to be completed this fall, along with a new climbing area for kids. The boulder garden will feature three realistic looking boulders 8-10 feet high made from glass-fiber-reinforced concrete. Each boulder provides a different level of difficulty to suit children of different ages and abilities, and there are even rope connectors between boulders for the more adventurous. The boulder garden is being installed with safety surfacing by AtoZ Recreation.
While some upgrades are simply meant to expand recreational amenities in the area, others are meant to address long-standing issues. The addition of outdoor restrooms at the day lodge falls under that category.
“We’ve got the indoor bathrooms at the lodge that get utilized by people renting the facility, people outside and everyone really,” said McBride. “It became difficult to separate out bathroom use for the general public vs. someone with a private rental. This way you have a private entrance to another facility for anyone in the park, and it allows for private access within the facility.”
The town issued an extended request for bids on the restroom expansion project this month, though it’s unlikely to be finished until next year. The same goes for landscape improvements throughout the park, meant to improve both connectivity and aesthetics in the area. On top of new trees, planter boxes and picnic areas, this component will also include new walkways connecting different elements of the park.
“It’s really about connecting the site by providing walkways to make it flow between the bike park, day lodge and skate park,” said McBride. “It’s all disjointed right now. The idea is to clean it up and make it flow better.”
Despite a number of imminent changes to the peninsula area, the list of improvements may continue to grow well beyond what’s already planned. McBride said the town is looking at several possible upgrades in the years to come including a sports court for basketball and volleyball, the continued expansion of the disk golf course and a pavilion to provide a dedicated space for private rentals.
Perhaps the most exciting prospect for residents and visitors alike is the potential for massive trail improvements on U.S. Forest Service land within the peninsula. While most of the recreational amenities fall on Frisco’s land, about 220 acres, most of the trails are on the more than 560 acres of federal land. The town is currently partnering with the Forest Service, the International Mountain Bicycling Association, SE Group and Morton Trails to complete a new master development plan for the trails. If the Forest Service signs off, it could mean annual trail improvements in the area.
“We’re almost at a completion stage,” said McBride. “We’re all collectively looking at the trails out there, and we want to make them ski and ride better, and to be more sustainable for future uses whatever that may look like.”
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