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Cortez to rededicate two renovated city parks

Two recently renovated Cortez parks will receive rededication ceremonies on Friday, June 7. (Journal file photo)
Another park will receive renovations this summer

On June 7, Cortez officials will host a rededication of two city parks that were renovated last year.

Another park will undergo renovations and repairs this summer.

The city invites all community members to the rededication ceremony, the first of which will take place at 5 p.m. at 372 S. Market St., and the second to take place at 6 p.m. at 601 E. Third St.

The celebrations will include light refreshments for attendees.

The Cortez Parks Department and other city staff have been revitalizing and “enhancing” the community’s parks and recreational spaces in an effort to create enjoyable park spaces for all residents and families.

“Our initial goal and effort from this was to try to reinvigorate these two pocket park sites,” Parks and Recreation Director Creighton Wright told The Journal. “They each had a patch of turf and a basketball court, and the one on Third and Harrison also had a community garden. We’re really looking forward to giving the residents on the southern end of Cortez an opportunity to get out and enjoy the parks, and specifically give kids access to a playground.”

The first playgrounds were added to two of the pocket parks that are located midblock on Third Street between Harrison and Park, and the other is Fourth and Market streets.

Now that both of these formerly blank spaces have renovated, children can spend time playing and enjoying these 2,500-square-foot playgrounds.

“Whether your little ones are climbing, sliding or imagining grand adventures, these playgrounds promise hours of fun,” a city news release said.

The projects took about two years to complete, and the bid for the work was sent out by the city last summer.

“Our goal was to have it completed by the end of the year (2023), but unfortunately, there wasn’t a single playground manufacturer who could put in a playground that quickly, so we ended up delaying it until this spring,” Wright said.

Wright said that it is exciting to see residents enjoy the newly renovated parks.

“It’s wonderful to be able to see our residents out and to see more people using the pocket parks,” Wright said. “Certainly some residents in the close neighborhoods would go over, but now we have so many more reasons to draw folks to those two sites. It’s great, and I wish we could do this in every one of our neighborhoods.”

Now this summer, the parks department will shift their focus to the west end of South Neighborhood Park, which is the former location of the Montezuma-Cortez High School on Seventh Street.

This year, only “minor improvements” will be made to the park, as it will be a process for it to be fully renovated.

“We’re planning on putting new grass seed in and then fertilizing it to try and really get it growing,” Wright said. “Once that’s done, probably mid- to late summer, we’ll put in a couple more picnic tables over there.”

The site’s irrigation system has been repaired, and the turf fields are being restored. Picnic tables also will be added as the city slowly begins turning this location into a space that the community can enjoy.

“While the formal development of South Neighborhood Park remains a future goal, these interim enhancements remind us that progress is possible even in small steps. We invite all residents to explore these refreshed spaces, connect with neighbors and create lasting memories,” the city said.

Moving forward with park improvements, Wright added that they are hoping to receive community feedback for what they would like to see the Parks and Rec Department prioritize over the next 18 months.

“That will be completing a master plan project,” Wright said. “That’s the next big project. I hear from residents all the time who say, ‘We need a new playground here,” or ‘We need to add more courts to the pickleball complex’ or ‘We need to replace the shelter at Centennial Park,’ and we will most likely do some of those in the next several years, but in order for us to get a firm understanding of what our needs are, we need to go through this master planning effort.”

Residents who want to contact the city about possible changes to parks and recreational areas can contact Wright at cwright@cortezco.gov or fill out a feedback form on the city’s website.