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Farmington City Council discusses major projects during work session

Boundless Adventures and Gateway Park with pavilion will enhance Farmington landscape
Natalie Spruell and Greg Miller present Boundless Park plans at the Farmington City Council work session meeting. (David Edward Albright/Durango Herald)

A recent Farmington City Council work session meeting discussed the Boundless Adventures Park plans and the Gateway Park and its pavilion designs.

Councilman Sean Sharer served as mayor pro tem, in the absence of Mayor Nate Ducket on March 21.

Natalie Spruell, assistant director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, introduced Evan Pilling, the new outdoor recreation coordinator, before she introduced Greg Miller with Pland Collaborative from Albuquerque, who gave a presentation on the Boundless Adventures project.

Progress of Boundless Adventure Park

Miller said during a video/PowerPoint presentation, said they were in the 30% design phase of the project after reviewing plans with the city and architect. They plan to get to the 60% documents in May or June, and to reach 95% completion in June to August. Final plans go to bid in August or September.

The idea behind boundless parks, which are growing in popularity, is great diversity of activities for people of all ages and skills.

Boundless Adventures Park will be built on former Tibbets Middle School grounds. (David Edward Albright/Durango Herald)

Miller said the field is in good condition, and the building needs only a renovation of restrooms. On the west side, the bus drop-off and two existing parking lots will remain.

On the east side, there will be a plaza with a shade structure, a stage and a variety of seating features. A sound and rhythm area in the riparian area will contain a walkway that will merge the interplay of sound from walls and water below.

An upper area on the east will have play features including a wheelchair-accessible slide, a merry-go-round and a climber set with ropes geared for children age 2 to 5 years.

The stage area includes in-ground trampolines, along with natural, built-in bench seating and artificial turf as a softer seating area.

The nature concept features a sandy arroyo with indigenous plants and a play area accessed by a trail. Hammocks are proposed for an adjacent area.

One valley area will be for nature play, and the butte on top will have a larger and more challenging climbing structure. Ropes will lead from a tower to a 26-foot slide, with terraces for graduated challenges.

“So this is an iconic moment that is a draw for kids or adults that want to try something more challenging,” Miller said.

A zip cruise will have two sides, one with a molded bucket and the other with a rope and disc, providing two levels of challenges.

Landscape Structures Inc. will provide another play area with ramps and obstacles that Miller said are “highly inclusive,” which will balance out the other more challenging ones. The overhead panels will have cutout birds, adding a nice nature touch.

The bluffs of Farmington inspired an area featuring the UFO M-9 Climber and a geodesic dome for everyone. Cobbled play areas next to sandy areas and boulders, all bear the “color palette” of the regional landscape, Miller said.

A gaming section with boccie, pingpong and swings is included, Miller said. Spohn Ranch has been brought to the project to create the “all-wheels” park for anybody on any type of wheel, including wheelchairs, he said.

Gateway Park plan focuses on pavilion

Gateway Park Phase 1-A was discussed by assistant city manager Julie Baird and Farmington project coordinator Rick Page. Baird said they revised the project into Phase 1-A and Phase 1-B after $300,000 in Gold King Mine spill funds were awarded the city through the National Office of Trustee.

Gateway Park and Pavilion site adjacent to Farmington Museum. (David Edward Albright/Durango Herald)

Those funds were designated to build the pavilion at Gateway Park for use by the farmers market. The focus will be on the far southwest site to focus on construction of the pavilion and get the farmers and growers into their facility.

Plans include a shaded area that snakes around the covered walkway that ties the pavilion to the stage plaza area with amphitheater seating. “Provides more shade for additional growers,” Baird said.

The third area will be a crusher fine parking area with six shade trees to also accommodate green chili roasting and the outdoor food trucks. The plans take into account the need for semitrailers to access the back museum galleries.

Page presented the plans for a 60-by-80-foot pavilion with open sides, 10-by-10-foot spaces for 22 vendors and storage area and sound system. The vestibule area will have heated ADA restrooms and a concessionaire kitchen.

Adjustable shutters will provide shade and windbreak rated at 130 mph. They can enclose the building in winter, and Page said they’re proposing an infrared heating system. Large industrial ceiling fans and clerestory windows will facilitate air movement.

The metal building will have a barnlike appearance with cedar siding and interior wood accents.

Generally, the pavilion will be open and accessible to the public, but with a locked vestibule.

Food demonstrations can take place unrelated to the farmers market and the private sector can rent the building for weddings, etc.

Baird asked for council approval of the plans so they could move on to the next phase – opinion of probable cost and return for a budget request.

Councilor Linda Rodgers commented that the building appearance from the street side was a bit plain. Page said they may add lower windows, and Baird added that signage and lights were being considered.

Baird said a traffic study will determine the best entrance, possibly one using Clayton Avenue at East Main Street. Baird confirmed the current design will allow an adjustment.

Phase 1-A was unanimously approved by the council.