Farmington explores options for expanding outdoors recreation

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FARMINGTON — Following the success of opening Farmington Lake to swimming, the city is considering adding a dry campground.

Farmington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director Cory Styron will present plans to the City Council during a meeting starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Farmington City Hall, 800 Municipal Dr. Styron will also present plans for an aquatic facility to replace Brookside Pool and a miniature golf course.

Farmington Lake has been a success story for people who want to see more outdoors opportunities. During the summer of 2015, after the city opened the lake to boating, an estimated 1,100 people visited the lake.

The following year, the city opened an area of the lake to swimming. Over the course of last summer about 40,000 vehicles visited the lake.

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The idea for a campground is new. In 2015, Farmington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director Cory Styron presented plans to City Council for building a running trail and adding about 80 camp sites. The estimated cost in 2015 for building the project was $11.5 million, mostly due to the cost of installing utilities in the area.

The new plans call for a much smaller project. Earlier this year, City Council asked Styron to look into options for installing a campground on a limited budget. 

Styron said the city is looking at 20 sites on top of the second mesa as people enter the lake. He said it will allow for both RV and tent camping. Construction of the campground would cost about $140,000.

City Councilor Nate Duckett has supported adding amenities to Farmington Lake for the past few years. He said the campground could provide an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Duckett said camping could also serve as a base camp for people wanting to explore nearby archaeological sites like Chaco Culture National Historical Park and the Salmon Ruins.

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"We are trying to find opportunities to expand on outdoors recreation," Duckett said.

A decline in the oil and gas industry impacted the city's budget and caused Farmington to place many of its projects on hold. Duckett supports the campground despite the fiscal uncertainty.

"A dry campground is not going to add anything significant to the budget," he said.

Duckett anticipates future development at the lake, including eventually installing utilities and building a trail system and pavilions.

"I think there's a number of things that we'll see in the future," he said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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