Farmington looks at aerial adventure park along the river
FARMINGTON — After discussions about an aerial adventure park at Farmington Lake, the city of Farmington is now exploring another aerial adventure park along the Animas River likely within Berg Park.
The discussions about an aerial adventure park in the river corridor began during the public input sessions for the lake’s aerial adventure park.
“It was good that it came up in public meetings,” said Mayor Nate Duckett when reached by phone Wednesday.
During a City Council meeting Tuesday evening, Outdoor Recreation Industry Initiative Director Cory Styron said the lake’s aerial adventure course will likely emphasize the views while the river corridor has tall cottonwoods and riparian habitat that could create a different experience. The meeting that can be viewed online at fmtn.org.
The City Council approved spending $22,500 plus tax for a feasibility study and market analysis for an aerial adventure park in the river corridor. Groundwork Studio, which is doing the feasibility study and market analysis for the Farmington Lake aerial adventure park, will also conduct the study for the river corridor.
When reached by phone Wednesday, Styron said the public can learn about potential aerial adventure park designs during a meeting at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at Farmington City Hall, 800 N. Municipal Drive in Farmington. The designs that will be presented Tuesday could be constructed at either the lake or the river. He said conceptual designs for the riverine area will likely be presented to the City Council in January or February.
Berg Park East is the favored location for an aerial adventure park
While the city initially identified the Animas Park area near Willet Ditch and the Berg Park East area as two areas for the aerial adventure park, the current focus is on Berg Park East, where there is already a playground.
“I do believe that the Berg Park East is a more appropriate area for that,” Styron told the council on Tuesday. He said there is a large group of people who really enjoy the Riverside Nature Center, "and the deer herd that’s there and the natural area.”
Duckett expressed a similar sentiment on Tuesday.
“The Animas area is very much a quieter component of our river system where you can enjoy the orchards that are being grown there on the fare or the deer that are all over the area,” he said. “Lots of wildlife that is there to be viewed. I think it would be important for us to maintain that type of environment in that space.”
Discussions began with the idea of ziplines at lake
Duckett initially brought the idea of an aerial adventure park to the city when he proposed ziplines at Farmington Lake in April.
When reached Wednesday, Duckett said he has learned a lot since then about what options there are for aerial adventure parks, which could include a challenge course for people of all ages.
“It’s no longer just about the ziplines,” he said.
Styron said there are three main benefits he can see for aerial adventure parks, including providing something for local residents, increasing tourism and possibly helping economic development.
“It’s something new and exciting that our residents can enjoy,” Styron said.
He said it fits in with the city’s goals to increase tourism and would provide an additional activity for tourists to do. He highlighted participants in baseball tournaments being able to go to the aerial adventure park after games.
In addition, the city is interested in finding a private partner to operate the aerial adventure park. Styron said this would create jobs and economic development.
At the end of the day, Styron said the city will only develop an aerial adventure park if it does not cause taxes to increase. The market analysis will help show if the park could pay for itself.
“We’re still waiting for all the data to come back,” he said.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.