John Venezia Community Park

This weekend is expected to mark the opening of Colorado Springs’ first city park since 2005, the ranch-themed John Venezia Community Park.

 

Crews will lay mulch, draw lines on game fields, and clean up trash in the area before Saturday’s opening, said Kyle Peterson, a seasonal worker with the Colorado Springs Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services. “It will be nice to have a new park up north,” he said.

 

John Venezia Community Park, a long-awaited park in Colorado Springs, CO, will be the first new park in the city since America the Beautiful Park opened 12 years ago, said Sarah Bryarly, a landscape architect with the Parks Department. At a public meeting about the city’s capital improvement projects, a resident suggested a park near Briargate Parkway and North Union Boulevard, Bryarly said. “And in 2006, funding was allocated and we began the process of trying to find a bonding system for the park to be built,” she said.

As the recession struck in 2008, the money dried up. “Due to the recession, the bonding didn’t take place, and the park was on hold for a while,” she said. At a time when the economy was improving in 2014, then-Mayor Steve Bach asked the Parks Department to pick up where it left off, Bryarly pointed out. The department obtained Trails, Open Space and Parks Program funding, Parkland Dedication funds and a Great Outdoors Colorado grant. Additionally, the city received $350,000 from Colorado Lottery proceeds for playground equipment, a sandbox, accessible restrooms, and more.

 

Bryarly said the $13 million park covers 110 acres, 30 of which are developed and open to the public. The remaining portions of the park will remain in a natural state.

Bryarly, who is stepping down from her position as a long-time Parks Department employee later this month, said that hundreds of people contributed to the planning, designing, and construction of the John Venezia Community Park. She said it was just the culmination of a huge team effort from the entire community. “The project has been a labor of love, and I’m ready to open it to the public so that they can play in it, relax, have fun, enjoy themselves, ” she said.

 

Additionally, Bryarly said, John Venezia Community Park will have a number of places where people can sit and relax, including a “quiet zone” with benches and picnic tables. She added that there is also a large open area that can accommodate a variety of events, such as farmers markets or food truck rodeos.

Among the park’s amenities will be pickleball and tennis courts, an in-line hockey rink, a basketball court, pavilions for group outings, a playground that is universally accessible, two miles of sidewalks, and, of course, a sprayground.

 

Peterson said he believes that the sprayground – an interactive playground with a number of water features – will be a huge hit with the neighborhood kids. He commented, “I believe it will be a success during the summer.”. “Kids can come out here to run, play, and enjoy the water.”. The park was named after John Venezia, a former El Paso County Commissioner who contributed to the development of parks and trails in Colorado Springs“John Venezia had a real love for our community, and he was instrumental in the development of many of our parks and trails,” Bryarly said. “We felt it was only fitting to name this new park after him.”

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