City envisions spending $750k to $1.5 million on project

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FARMINGTON — During a community meeting today about a proposed aerial adventure park in Farmington, Mayor Nate Duckett asked the consultants to expand the feasibility study to consider ziplines along the Animas River as well as at Lake Farmington.

The city is contracting with Groundwork Studio out of Albuquerque for a feasibility study that will examine the creation of a $750,000 or $1.5 million aerial adventure park.

In addition to today's meeting at City Hall, city officials operated an informational booth to gather more community input during the downtown trick-or-treating event.

Another meeting designed to solicit public input will be held from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Thursday at City Hall, 800 N. Municipal Drive.

The study will look at how much the city would have to charge for admission to the park and how long it would take for the city to recoup the money it would spend on building the park.

The study also will examine whether the city should build the park or if a private company should be the owner of the park. Outdoor Recreation Industry Initiative director Cory Styron said the study could entice private entrepreneurs to pursue the endeavor.

A survey launched last week to gather community input already has received more than 630 responses. The online survey will remain open through Nov. 12.

“I’m really happy with that response,” said Amy Bell, the principal landscape architect for Groundwork Studio.

Community members are asked for input on six basic categories of aerial adventure parks, including ziplines, challenge courses, bridges and outdoor classrooms.

There are already several aerial adventure parks in New Mexico and Colorado, including ziplines in Durango, Colorado. There is also an aerial adventure park being built near Taos, as well as one at the Red River Ski Area. San Juan College also has a challenge course.

More: Farmington seeks input on aerial adventure park

Bell said the study will include a competitive analysis to determine “what’s going to make this park at Lake Farmington the one to go to.”

Bell said it is unlikely that a zipline would be built crossing the lake because it would require a 250-foot tower, which would use up most of the money the city is considering spending for the project.

However, Bell said the zipline can still go across water.

The people who attended the meeting favored combining ziplines with other features, such as challenge courses.

The aerial adventure park is intended to expand the activities available at the lake and to draw visitors to Farmington.

“Ideally, this is an economic development tool,” Bell said. “This will make money for the city.”

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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