Dillon pushes Town Park improvements to 2022, plans new winter attractions
Dillon Town Park will be closed to the public this winter, and many of the planned improvements at the park are being pushed to 2022, according to Dillon’s Marketing and Communications Director Kerstin Anderson.
Dillon began making renovations to the park in 2019 as part of the Town Park Master Plan. After a yearlong delay brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the town kicked off the latest phase of improvements in June, but difficulties finding a contractor who could take on the project within the town’s budget has delayed much of the work until next spring.
“It’s disappointing because Town Park has been a priority for council and staff for many years, and it did seem like there was a light at the end of the tunnel and that we were going to be seeing the completion of this park that we believe will be another gem within the community,” Anderson said. “We’re not the only ones in this boat, and we’re just reprioritizing and moving forward positively to get the job done on the earliest timeline available.”
Several projects were completed this summer, including the upgraded parking lot at the north end of the park, the excavation and grading of the lawn in preparation for the new multiuse field, and the installation of new underground utilities and electrical conduit.
Other items on the town’s list to complete this year are being pushed back, such as the installation of the multiuse field, pathway and playground construction, and irrigation among others. The town will also tackle landscaping next year, which Anderson promised would be a robust effort calling for 169 new trees, 400 shrubs, ornamental grasses and more than 1,800 square feet of flowers.
Anderson said the town put out a request for proposals on the work but only received one incomplete bid. The town also looked into hiring a general contractor, but Anderson said bids came back well in excess of the town’s budget.
“Based on the responses and price increases that we got, we’re reevaluating the big package, and we’ll rerelease that in late September or October for the spring,” Anderson said. “Earlier, we were holding out hope that we might get some work done this fall, but it’s just not materializing.”
As the park remains an active construction site, it will be fenced off to the public throughout the winter.
The closure may take some getting used to for residents and businesses. Despite being closed for construction throughout the summer, the park has served as a major draw over the past three winters due to the Ice Castles. The castles won’t be erected in Dillon this year — a location outside of nearby Silverthorne remains a possibility — but the town is looking at new ways to attract residents and visitors to the town core this winter.
The idea for now: lights.
During the most recent Dillon Town Council meeting Sept. 7, the council gave staff direction to begin pursuing a $100,000 light display in partnership with Breckenridge-based Elevation Holiday Lighting. The concept, presented at the meeting by Elevation owner Michael Szymanski, would create a “corridor of walkability” by lining trees with classic white and programmable colored lights down Lake Dillon Drive to Marina Park.
As community members make their way through the corridor, they would be met with illuminated archways leading them into the Marina Park pavilion, which would serve as the ending point and highlight of the immersive experience.
“When you are driving up Lake Dillon Drive, it’s sort of creating little breadcrumbs toward Marina Park,” Szymanski said. “What it does is it encourages people to explore town. It encourages (people to look at) what’s around the next corner.”
Anderson said town staff is also set to present concepts to the Dillon Reservoir Recreation Committee later this month for an ice rink on Dillon Reservoir, which, if approved, would provide another amenity on the ice alongside the groomed trails the town set up on the lake last winter. She noted that the town was also in talks with The Recess Factory and Colorado Pond Hockey to bring the annual Pabst Blue Ribbon Colorado Pond Hockey Tournament from North Pond Park in Silverthorne to the reservoir.
“I think that pond hockey would be a fun event that would be well suited to the space that we have on the Dillon Reservoir,” Anderson said.
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