Marina Park slated for upgrades |

Marina Park slated for upgrades

NICOLE FORMOSAsummit daily newsSummit County, CO Colorado
Summit Daily file photo/Kristin Anderson

DILLON Dillon’s Marina Park buzzes with activity during the warm summer months when tourists and locals alike flock to the town’s treasured waterfront. The hours pass as people peruse the Farmer’s Market, picnic at the pavilion, watch their kids scurry around the playground or take in a free concert at the amphitheatre.But, parts of the popular park are outdated and the town wants to see them spruced up.The town is looking to invest $429,000 to revamp the existing playground into a destination playground, replace and enlarge the picnic pavilion and build new restrooms to avoid the need for portable toilets during busier times, said town planner Melissa Wyatt.Right now, the playground consists of a swingset and a small play structure with a slide, and is in need of work.”The swings are heavily used. I think there used to be gravel in there, but we haven’t replenished the gravel anytime recently and when it rains you get a foot-deep puddle beneath the swings,” Wyatt said.The planned destination playground would be larger in size and would offer a variety of toys and structures, sort of like the Frisco Funground, making the play area its own attraction.

“(A destination playground) draws people versus being incidentally part of the park,” Wyatt said.The existing 20-by-40-foot picnic pavilion could also use some TLC. It was built in the early 1980s by town employees and has a dirt floor that gets mucky and messy in the rain.”It’s basically just 4-by-4s and a shingled roof, and it’s in one of the most beautiful spots in the park,” Wyatt said.Local architect Jerry Dokken has drawn sketches for a larger pavilion that includes picnic tables, benches, a skylight and a duel-faced gas fireplace. Dokken is proposing the pavilion be constructed with stone elements and an A-frame roof and pillars built with wood from locally harvested pine beetle kill trees.That idea came to him knowing the number of trees in town killed by the mountain pine beetle – last summer alone, the town removed 950 infected lodgepole pine trees from its property. Also, Dokken’s known Gene Dayton for many years and has already talked to him about using Dayton’s log lathe to prepare the infested wood for construction.Dokken also wants to incorporate the pine beetle wood in the new restrooms, which will include separate facilities for men, women and families.”We just thought it was a nice connective way to kind of put this together … it has some green aspects, it has some sustainability aspects those things are all good,” Dokken said.

The main driver behind the park improvements stems from a comprehensive parks master plan completed in January by GreenPlay, LLC, Wyatt said.GreenPlay consultants identified a top area of focus as park improvements, particularly around the town’s marina, Marina Park and the amphitheatre. Then the town’s volunteer parks and recreation committee recommended the specific upgrades to the town council.”This represents the first element of a master plan – of implementing our master plan,” Wyatt said.Right now, the only missing link is money. The town has budgeted $201,000 for the improvements and has applied for a $200,000 matching grant through Great Outdoors Colorado, which funds parks, trails and open space projects with state lottery funds.The grants are competitive, but Wyatt is hoping Dillon will have an edge because the town used a Great Outdoors Colorado grant to pay for its parks master plan, which goes hand-in-hand with the park improvements.The town won’t know whether the application is approved until June. If it’s turned down, the town will likely move forward with one of the three projects, Wyatt said.

The town has garnered support from local businesses, nonprofits and the Town of Frisco for its grant. Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-4629, or at

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