Demolition of the old Montezuma-Cortez High School is underway, and the Cortez Parks, Recreation and Forestry Advisory Board is planning a use for the land where it stood.
At a meeting on Friday, the board discussed early plans to build a park on the 17 acres that used to be covered by the school. Parks and Recreation Director Dean Palmquist said he hopes to apply for a Great Outdoors Colorado grant to purchase the property from the school district and design a park there. His goal is to start work on the park next year.
Palmquist said his plans for the park would include advice from a consultant and feedback from people who live near the old school site. Part of the grant money would be used to hold community meetings and create conceptual designs for public release, he said.
While Palmquist acknowledged the city probably won’t be the only party interested in the property, he said he believed a park would be one of the most beneficial uses for it.
“There’s just two pocket parks on the south side of Cortez,” he said. “This would be huge for that area.”
The other board members agreed. Board member Mike Lavey said he often hears people who live on the south side of town complain that all the recreation options are on the north side.
“Something like this would be a really great capital project,” board president Paul Adams said.
Any park design would need to include a way to transport irrigation water to the site, an obstacle that Palmquist said has come up in city council workshops before. But he said the city would have a few options if they could get state funding.
The park plan is just one of several capital projects Palmquist hopes to start next year. Other projects include a possible expansion of the Geer Natural Area and some maintenance on the city’s baseball and softball fields.
Palmquist said he planned to put together a grant application proposal soon, with the help of city council and the rest of the advisory board.