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Two Salida projects recently received grants totaling $391,500 from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO).

One project received a $350,000 Local Park and Outdoor Recreation grant to build a skate park in Centennial Park. The other project received a $41,500 mini grant to develop a mountain heritage park on Tenderfoot Mountain. Both grants were awarded March 12.

The skate park would be 16,000 square feet in area and would feature ledges, flat bars, bank ramps, half pipes and a large bowl. The new features will be designed so users can hit several of them in one run and so multiple skaters can use the park simultaneously. Funding will also support additional lighting, shade structures and new restrooms.

An art wall at the park will display murals from local artists and students.

According to a press release from Rosemary Dempsey, GOCO communications director, the existing skate park, on First Street, is along a busy street, is separated from other recreation amenities, is outdated and “does not accommodate users of all abilities.”

Diesel Post, Salida parks and recreation director, said the project is an example of the community’s support, initiative and passion.

“These GOCO grants will allow the city to upgrade and improve our much-loved skate park and provide education about our heritage,” Post said. “We are excited to continue to work with Salidans to make our lives happier and healthier.”

Amy Reed of Friends of Salida Skateparks said the organization is thrilled to receive the grant.

“These highly coveted funds give us the opportunity to create a state-of-the-art skate park for young generations to come,” Reed said. “We are grateful beyond measure.”

Construction will take place throughout summer and fall. A grand opening is scheduled for July 2021.

Mountain Heritage Park is Salida’s first interpretive mountain park and will celebrate the area’s natural and cultural mountain history.

The park will feature a central kiosk with three Peak View Pavilions where visitors can learn about vistas of the Ute Peaks, Sawatch Range and Sangre de Cristo Range. Information panels will describe the natural and human histories of the mountain ranges as well as provide context about their modern recreational uses.

The first phase of the project will rely on GOCO funding. It will include constructing an Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible pathway, the Ute Peak Pavilion, an information display panel and a viewing bench. Part of Phase 1 also includes installing gravel, excavating three viewing areas and installing structure piers.

Chipeta Mountain Project, the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association, Salida Mountain Trails and Ute tribal members all contributed to the project’s planning and design. Local youth will be involved in artwork design, planting projects and volunteer maintenance.

Craig Nielson, Chipeta Mountain project manager, said the group is excited to get the project underway.

“The opportunity to see Mountain Heritage Park under construction is the culmination of three years of hard work in partnership with over 14 local and regional partners,” Nielson said.

Phase I construction will begin in April with a scheduled completion date of September.

Since its creation in 1992, GOCO has invested $13.8 million in Chaffee County projects and has conserved more than 3,000 acres of land. Funded projects include Salida River Trail, Arkansas River Whitewater Park, Buena Vista Baseball Fields and Methodist Mountain Trail.

GOCO acquires funding by taking a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds. Its board then invests funding into preserving and enhancing state parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces. More information can be found at GOCO.org.

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