The city of Durango is gathering ideas for Santa Rita and Cundiff parks, which will be transformed in coming years.
The redevelopment of Santa Rita Park is slated to start as soon as construction on the sewage treatment plant is finished in 2019, said Cathy Metz, director of parks and recreation for the city. Cundiff Park, south of downtown Durango, is largely undeveloped other than a BMX track. It would likely be developed in phases and require several million dollars, she said.
Residents have floated ideas for the parks, including outdoor pickleball courts and a fenced dog park. There is also strong interest in turning Cundiff Park, a 17-acre site along the river, into a bike park. The public process is meant to vet the many options for the parks. City staff is open to new ideas as part of the process, Metz said.
“I think there will be lots of great ideas,” she said.
After soliciting feedback, the city plans to prepare designs for the parks.
Some residents are interested in returning Santa Rita Park to its original state. Before sewage plant construction, it was home to a large grassy field and lighted sand volleyball and basketball courts. There are no other sand volleyball courts in town, and residents enjoyed the lighted courts because they extended playing time, she said.
If the city rebuilt the sand volleyball courts in Santa Rita Park, it would likely reassess its plan to build new courts in Schneider Park, she said.
The city is also asking for ideas on how to use a building that formerly housed Durango Chamber of Commerce in Santa Rita Park. The city bought the building and, it is housing a lab for the sewage treatment plant. But after construction is complete, it could serve the park in some capacity or be moved to a new location, she said.
The building could help house the city’s popular child care program, Gametime, which operates out of the Durango Community Recreation Center, Mason Center and Chapman Hill.
While the city plans to start reconstruction of Santa Rita Park in 2019, some aspects will likely be phased in because the city will still be working on the new administration building for the wastewater plant, Metz said.
Construction in Cundiff Park will also be phased it because all the funding won’t be immediately available, she said.
The city is revisiting plans to build a bike park in Cundiff, in part because a park could be built for cyclists on Ewing Mesa property owned by Marc Katz, who plans to donate several hundred acres to the community. Ewing Mesa also could accommodate a multipurpose events center, among other amenities.
Building a bike park on the mesa could take time, so the city wants to explore the idea of building bike park features at Cundiff Park in the interim.
One of the problems of building a bike park at Cundiff Park is its size.
“It’s not a great event venue,” Metz said.
When the city hosts BMX competitions in the park, there’s a parking crunch, she said.
There’s also interest in turning a piece of Cundiff Park into a more traditional fenced dog park with grass or another material that wouldn’t get as muddy as the park near Smelter Mountain. The current dog park relies on natural boundaries, such as the Animas River, to keep dogs contained. But those barriers don’t always deter determined hounds.
“We have heard the desire for a fenced-in facility,” she said.
A new dog park would also help serve residents of the Rivergate Lofts, just across the river, she said.
The BMX track in Cundiff Park is an important consideration for the city when weighing plans for the area, Metz said.
“We wouldn’t want to take out that BMX course without another home for it,” she said.