Gaming community gambling big on outdoor fervor
~ by Rick Langenberg ~
The city of Cripple Creek is wagering big bets on more outdoor, recreational pursuits, a bid capped by a $300,000-plus adventure park.
And unless town leaders hit a few last-minute hurdles, local residents and visitors in the late fall of 2017 will reap the benefits of the town’s first-ever 18-hole disc golf course, a dog park, an enhanced BMX track, a playground, 5K trail area, sledding hill, picnic areas and more.
Last week, Parks and Recreation Director Connie Dodrill gave an upbeat report regarding the town’s most ambitious parks project in years. “I very excited about it,” said Dodrill. At the same time, she conceded the park effort is quite complex with the city having to deal with a bevy of vendors and groups.
Altogether, the price tag for the adventure park, located near their public works facility, is expected to easily soar well above the $300,000 level.
Plans for the 80-acre Mountain View Adventure Park hit pay dirt last spring, when the town was awarded a nearly $250,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado. But now, the hard part occurs with the clock ticking if the city wants to spend this grant money. City officials must complete the project by the end of 2017.
The council last week didn’t hesitate in releasing the locks on a pot of $128,005 for a construction agreement with Woods Site and PlayScapes for equipment and related installation costs.
The big question by the council dealt with the projected opening day for the adventure park.
Dodrill believes the facility, or at least a good portion of it, will open in October. But she admits that the project involves a considerable amount of coordination among city employees, volunteers and various non-profit groups. To date, she said the project is right on schedule and is meeting budget requirements.
Disc golf fever
With the adventure park, Cripple Creek will definitely give Woodland Park a little hefty competition along the recreation arena, at least regarding frisbee golf, one of the fastest growing sports.
Disc golf has become a major hit at Woodland Park’s Shining Mountain Golf Course, which permits frisbee hurlers to play at an actual links layout during certain times of the day. For the last two years, the site has featured top disc golfers from across the state, and has held tournaments sanctioned by major disc golf associations.
On the downside, the disc course at Shining Mountain is fairly difficult due to the links’ tight landing areas.
The Cripple Creek layout will offer more open areas, but will present some vastly different elevation points, according to Dodrill.
“It will be an interesting course,” said Dodrill. “I think people will really enjoy it.”
With this new course, combined with the current frisbee links hub in Woodland Park, Teller County could gain a niche as the high country disc golf capital of Colorado.
Dodrill said the project without question represents the most ambitious parks endeavor attempted by Cripple Creek. In the past, the city has mulled certain recreation expansion bids, such as plans to revamp the Henry Hack facility downtown. But funding crunches often forced city leaders to put these bids on hold.
These realities didn’t occur with the Mountain View Adventure project, which has proceeded along on a fast-track course.
The concept behind the adventure park is to establish the area as an outdoor, natural mecca for recreation users and residents, and not a place designed for fancy facilities with big employee costs.
Unlike some of the recreation projects in Teller County, this one has received strong support and hasn’t experienced any delays.
Ironically, the city got stiffed by state officials, when it first applied for a grant for this projects. But the city officials licked their wounds and tried again, receiving top laurels in 2017 by GOCO as one of the best grant applicants.
Rev up those dirt bikes
Besides the adventure park, Mayor Bruce Brown announced last week that Cripple Creek is now officially an ATV all-terrain vehicle)-friendly town. Cripple Creek streets are now open for travel on a 24/7 basis for dirt bikes and all sorts of ATV vehicles, as long as operators follow definite rules.
This law, which has officially gone into effect, is expected to accommodate the growing push for outdoor recreation in southern Teller and help link ATV travel between Cripple Creek and Victor and to and from key trail areas. Victor has already legalized ATV use on its city streets during daylight hours.
City officials, however, don’t expect to see a bombardment of ATV vehicles using their streets this summer.
Brown advised residents to contact the CC Police Department regarding the new regulations, if they have questions. Police officials have been big supporters of ending the prohibition against ATV use within the city.