Farmington gathers public input on park options

City trying to decide whether to build one facility or two

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Thaddeus Shrader, CEO of Bonsai Design, addresses the crowd Tuesday during a community input meeting in Farmington on the city's plans to construct aerial adventure parks.

FARMINGTON — There are various options for Farmington if it chooses to build one or two aerial adventure parks.

Bonsai Designs CEO Thaddeus Shrader visited Farmington this week to learn about two potential locations for the projects and to share design options based on projects Bonsai Designs has done in the past. Farmington is working with Bonsai Designs of Grand Junction, Colorado, and Groundwork Studio of Albuquerque for a feasibility study for the potential park.

Shrader said the facility that could be built at Farmington Lake should have a different feel than the one than the one that could be built along the Animas River. The city initially was looking at building an aerial adventure park at the lake, but began considering a second facility at Berg Park after hearing from citizens at public meetings in October.

Outdoor Recreation Industry Initiative director Cory Styron expressed the idea of replacing the Berg Park East playground with a netted ropes challenge course. He said the playground is on the city’s list for replacement or repair. In contrast, a park at Farmington Lake could have a larger challenge course and ziplines, he said.

This is an example of a Bonsai Designs structure built by the Colorado-based firm.

Farmington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs director Shaña Reeves said she wants to enhance the river corridor but not take away from what is already there.

“For Lake Farmington ... what I would like to see is a place where we can wow them with our first attempt,” she said.

She said that the lake should have an aerial adventure park that can be used by people of all ages and abilities.

Reeves said she feels a need to preserve the feel of the river corridor, while at Farmington Lake, she wants something adventurous and fun.

“We have a diamond in the rough there,” Reeves said about the river corridor. “I just want to enhance it instead of steal from that look.”

An online survey conducted by Groundwork Studios received 741 responses, and a previous community input visit by Groundwork Studio included comments from more than 800 people during Boopalooza, the city's annual downtown Halloween celebration.

Amy Bell, the principal landscape architect for Groundwork Studio, talks to community members Tuesday at Farmington City Hall.

Groundwork Studio principal landscape architect Amy Bell said residents stressed that the aerial adventure park should serve Farmington residents first and target people of all ages.

Ziplines were ranked as the top choice for an aerial adventure park.

Mayor Nate Duckett said the park will be symbolic.

“This is who we are. Farmington,” he said. “We’re not just shopping and oil and gas. We are this outdoor, beautiful riverine city.”

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