About 200 Lakewood and Wheat Ridge residents — some wearing stickers that read “Crown Hill Open Space Forever” — considered proposed changes to Crown Hill Park during a meeting conducted by Jefferson County Open Space.
The meeting was Monday at the Wheat Ridge Active Adult Center.
The 242-acre park, between Lakewood and Wheat Ridge in unincorporated Jefferson County, has been slated for some updates, including adding a pergola-seasonal shade area, new fitness stations and three nature play areas for children that have sparked a passionate community response to keeping the park as is.
“No decisions are going to be made tonight,” said Tom Hoby, director of Jefferson County Parks and Open Space. “What we want to do is provide some clarity on information and receive more feedback on the decision making process.”
Attendees gathered in small groups of six to 10 people and discussed some of the key questions about the park, particularly about the proposed shade area and the construction of the nature play areas.
Susan Watkins, of KezziahWatkins project consultation and strategic planning, ran the meeting, which was largely devoted to the small groups examining the issues and sharing their opinions on the proposed changes.
As the groups worked, discussions could be heard on a variety of topics, from how the changes would affect the park’s wildlife, the lack of available parking to preserving the land for future generations.
Most groups agreed that creating a covered shade area would interfere with the nature of the park and some of the views it offered, and several suggested that tress should be planted instead, which would in time create a natural shade source.
Similarly, the majority of residents were opposed to constructing nature play areas for children, citing the fact that the construction and noise made by children could disturb local wildlife, as well as the fact that the park should serve as more of an open space than a recreation center.
There are other parks very close to Crown Hill that have children play areas, and the residents said those should be used, thus mainting Crown Hill’s more wild atmosphere.
“We want to preserve Crown Hill as it is. It should be maintained, not expanded and new structures would certainly do that,” said resident Kan Mann. “We don’t want to change the atmosphere of the park, because it is beautiful as is.”
After the meeting, all the input will be collected and examined. There is also an online survey that can be taken until March 21.
There will be another meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center, where all the results of Monday’s meeting and the internet survey will be discussed, and any other changes debated.
For more information on the project, visit www.co.jefferson.co.us/openspace/openspace_T56_R7.htm.