Meadow Park done, now attention turns to Bohn Park 2016
At the four year anniversary of the flood, Meadow/LaVern-Johnson park was complete and all the attention turned to Bohn Park. The year was 2016.
The pedestrian bridge between the South St. Vrain Trail and Bohn Park, near where today’s Rocky Mountain Botanic Gardens are located, was newly finished (but not yet open).The original bridge was thought to have been built in 1993. Initially several neighbors protested it, and considered it an intrusion along their trailer park property. A grant from GOCO was obtained in the amount of $20,000. The abutments that were done by Lynn Randolph were retained for the new bridge.
The restrooms were nearing completion, with the new stonework being completed in the fall. There was a piece of art planned to adorn the entrance to the glistening modern facility.
At this point, the work on the McConnell Drive Bridge, and 2nd Avenue bridge had not begun.
There was a lot of work anticipated in gathering the funding by FEMA, the Town of Lyons’ insurance company, DOLA (Department of Local Affairs), and a few other grants. In October, there was no guaranteed financing yet. The work was broken down into Phase 1, and a distant Phase 2. The use of “buyout” land (where flooded homes once stood) was being discussed, which was to be used as orchards, trails, playgrounds and gardens, according to Mr. Carter of the Design Company. The neighbors adjacent to the properties asked that the land be kept for the neighbors. A spot for the Botanic Garden had been proposed, as well as a “history corner” or two, where plaques would be placed. An official Plan was still to go before the Town Board before it can be incorporated.
Phase 1 headed for completion, October 2017
In October 2017, LaVern Johnson, Parks and Recreation Commission, reported that “things are sailing along with Bohn Park Phase 1 scheduled for completion this year, with a 2-year guarantee that the seed, sod, landscaping, water, etc. will grow, etc. The Overflow project in the confluence area is about complete (flood water designed to go across the Fries land). Bohn Park Phase 2 design is out to bid with work to begin in December to: grade for drainage, and erosion, tree work, clearing, one ball field unlighted, irrigation, one pavilion for fields, trails, trash cans, and backstop for Vasquez field, and to irrigate the entire area. The Bidding for Vasquez ball fields and the Skate Park is to be separated. Cuts of ball field lights, skateboard park, and etc. may be pending depending on the bids and money. Bids for two sizes of Skate Park will be taken. The St. Vrain River Park Design is about 50%, with grading plans with two beach areas, which will include from the Black Bear Bridge, the ponds lost, and Clarifier Park, etc. …all, again determined, on the amount of bids and money for each project. The St. Vrain Trail Extension is being looked at, which will create a trail going the old railroad track going East of Lyons and having to cross three ditches; and thru or along several businesses. Yes, Park Projects are ongoing!”
Tours began for the public to see the progress, by Flood Manager Richard Markovich, starting in September, for the four-year anniversary, and going into the fall. About a dozen folks showed up each time. The group was shown the reclamation of the river, the Bridge that replaced the one washed out; 21 picnic tables, the new sandstone restrooms; the trail along the stream, a water feature from the Meadow Ditch that goes thru the property, the playground, etc. The sod and grass seed was all planted, but the park was not usable until spring when the grass would take hold.
Next was Phase 2 which included Ball fields, Community Shelter, small Skate Park (4,500-5,000 square feet), a ball field, considered a multi-purpose field, with possible lights, scoreboard and batting cage to follow, depending on the funding available. The larger skatepark (8,000 square feet would cost $250,000 or more) would need separate funding and a Committee of boosters and fundraisers. The Lyons Valley River Park work would follow, again depending on funds.
Opening Bohn Park to the public, September 2018
A ceremony with Mayor Connie Sullivan, Town Administrator Victoria Simonson, took place. There was a Welcome Message from DOLA. A poem from Hailey “What If?” from the Lyons Elementary School Flood Book. A remembrance of Mr. Boland, retired teacher from Lyons Elementary who was killed in the flood, happened, along with the planting of a commemorative tree. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper spoke and did the Ribbon Cutting. He was delighted to find that the trail next to the Botanic Gardens, would be named “Hickenlooper Way,” (a loop trail) as a thank you for him sending money to Lyons, when the federal emergency support funds were severally lacking in timeliness.
Mayor Sullivan lead the walk across the newly opened pedestrian bridge, to the ball fields. Parks Director Dave Cosgrove presented the new ball field and skate board parks. And a mix-and-mingle was enjoyed by all. The Lyons Redstone Museum had an event where people told their flood stories, and an exhibit of memorabilia (expanded and updated) were viewed. A film was shown giving the scientific explanation of the flood. It was a three-day event, with a “5-year flood reflection and unity community picnic” bringing everyone together.
August 2021, Opening 2nd Avenue Bridge
The 2nd Avenue bridge was completed. It is much higher, with steel girders, to protect it from the strong currents of a flooding river; and it is wider than the old one, with an area for people to walk down to the river’s bank. A grand opening ceremony was done, with guests: Mayor Nicholas Angelo, Senator John Hickenlooper, Congressman Joe Neguse, Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera, Boulder Co Comm. Marta Loachamin, Town Administrator Victoria Simonson, and Flood Recovery Manager Tracy Sanders.
With special thanks to: FEMA (US Dept. of Homeland Security), DHSEM, DOLA, CDBG-DR, and Boulder County Collaborative, CO Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (Dept. of Public Safety).
This was the last FEMA funded project left from the flood. No big ceremony celebrated the opening of Bohn Park this summer, but the Town relied on the bridge ceremony being sufficient.
Bohn Park OPEN 2021
The Park has been used by residents and visitors all summer. There are two large paid-parking lots (residents can get a free annual pass). A number of sculptures have been installed by Lyons Arts & Humanities Commission. The sandstone rock riverside features are complete. The river and adjacent terrain have been replanted. The Town of Lyons had an art fair in spring, and other nonprofits in town have had their events at the big picnic Shelter.
The first ballgames happened on the new field this year, first by high school youth teams, and then by Town softball, adult co-ed leagues. The Skateboard Park and Playground have a constant flow of players. Tennis players love the new courts. And the Dog Park is beloved by Lyons folks and their dogs. The river offers endless fun activities, such as wading, fishing and tubing. The Town will be placing some solar panels in the far end of the park, near the Dog Park. Picnickers fill the Park, especially on the weekends. And, the Park Hosts returned for a fourth summer to their “favorite park job ever.”
Fun Activities in the Park
People in Photographs:
Skateboarding boys: Harper Simmons, 10, Payton Bolkovatz, 13.
Stroller Family: grandmother Linda Pecone and Jonah Primo (20 months)
Tennis: Christine and Will Mace
Dog Park: David Hazen & Cali, border collie
6 people Wading: Shartt and Dubray families
Playground: Josh Tallent
Park fun: Brian and Erin Wudwig,
Scott and Donna Hay
Park Hosts: Ron and Rhonda Tobin
mid-May to Labor Day
If a correction is needed, please write to the editor:
All Photographs by Kathleen Spring (Copyright 2018-2021)