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FARMINGTON — The Farmington City Council saw preliminary designs during a council work session this morning for a park the city hopes to build next to the Farmington Museum.

“It needs to look nice, but also needs to be useful,” Andrew Bernard said while presenting the plans.

Bernard is a landscape architect with Sites Southwest, which is preparing designs for the city.

Mayor Nate Duckett said the park will provide a chance to showcase the Animas River, increase access to the river corridor and promote outdoor recreation.

“It’s our closest point from Main Street to the river,” he said.

This park includes a parking area at the east end where Main and 20th streets intersect. There will be controlled access for vehicles from that parking area to a plaza where the Growers Market will take place. That plaza will include a shade structure.

The plan also calls for a buffer along the street, natural play areas for children, an amphitheater seating area, boardwalks and viewpoints to observe the Animas River.

It also allows for future expansion across the river into 88 acres the city has recently acquired. That will allow for more features in the park.

“We don’t have to jam everything into that little sliver,” said Cory Styron, the city’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Initiative director.

A trail system will connect the park with Animas and Berg parks as well as the eastern portion of the city.

San Juan Nurseries owner Donnie Pigford and San Juan County Agricultural Extension Agent Bonnie Hopkins expressed support for including a botanical garden atmosphere in the final design. Hopkins said a botanical garden could provide a place for schools to take educational field trips.

Councilor Linda Rodgers said she really likes the idea of the botanical garden.

“I think that could be transformational,” she said.

Museum Director Bart Wilsey said museum workers have wanted a park next to the building for a long time, however he expressed concerns about traffic flowing in and out of the parking lots. The preliminary plans call for controlled access at one of the current entrances and exits to the parking lots.

“I’m excited to see what this can be, not just in the next few years but maybe in years to come,” Rodgers said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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