Hayden to improve parks

Grant rejection has slowed efforts at town's Dry Creek Park

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— Despite discouraging news last month about funding, Hayden officials are moving forward with Dry Creek Park improvements.

Next week, Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin and members of the Parks and Recreation board will head to Creede to make a case to a board that oversees Energy Impact Assistance funds. The group is seeking $400,000 in Energy Impact funds for the project.

The money would be used for second-phase improvements to Dry Creek Park, which calls for ball fields, dugouts, a concession stand and paved paths. A multi-use field and dirt trail were part of the first-phase improvements to the park. An amphitheater is planned for the third phase.

Improvements to the next phase might have to be scaled back. Last month, the town learned it was not awarded a $200,000 Great Outdoors Colorado local government grant. GOCo grants are funded through lottery money and have helped pay for projects such as the new year-round plastic ski jump at Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs. Such money was used to help purchase the land for Dry Creek Park.

Missing out on the grant was disappointing, officials said. The town's presentation included $200,000 in matching funds.

"They wanted more specifics in the proposal," Martin said at a Park and Recreation Board meeting Tuesday. "We were very close, and they were impressed with our match."

Martin said being awarded the $200,000 GOCo grant could have helped leverage the $400,000 Energy Impact grant. If Hayden receives the $400,000 grant, it likely will be conditional on receiving the GOCo grant in the future.

"I think the best we can get out of this is a conditional award," Martin said.

Although the larger park improvements are on hold until at least next year, Martin suggested the town move forward and request funding from the Hayden Town Board for minor improvements to the Hayden Town Park on Third Street and the Small Town Park downtown along Jefferson Avenue.

"I don't want to lose momentum on the progress to the parks," Martin said.

The Parks and Recreation Board's wish list for the Hayden Town Park includes resurfacing the tennis and basketball courts and installing lighting.

-- To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210

or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com

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