City staff and council representatives have had an opportunity to preview the conceptual design for the pocket park to be installed in the lot that's soon to be cleared of West's Home Center. Community members are invited to see the final concept themselves at the city council meeting Tuesday, April 16. The meeting begins in the city council chambers at 7 p.m.
The design is the work of CU Denver master's candidate students in the College of Architecture and Planning, who combined their creativity with the feedback received at a community meeting conducted in Delta earlier this year. The result is a "cohesive park environment" off Main Street that celebrates Delta's landscape and culture, explained Chris Endreson, University Technical Assistance supervisor for the Western Slope.
The University Technical Assistance program provides rural communities with assistance on projects that enhance places and spaces through a partnership with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and the Colorado Center for Community Development.
The CU design team "absolutely nailed what we articulated," said councilmember Christopher Ryan following a preview of the design. "I love it," Mayor Ron Austin echoed.
The design features a terracotta-colored concrete surface with the Gunnison and Uncompahgre rivers represented by meandering paths of blue cobblestones. Boulders, a rock "canyon" and a natural playscape further reflect the landscape surrounding Delta. There's plenty of seating, water-wise plantings and gateways from both Main Street and the alley. Bike racks, public restrooms and a shaded stage are all incorporated into the design. To ensure the structural integrity of the buildings on either side of the pocket park, walls will be required, but they present additional design opportunities for murals and a water wall which could double as a projection screen when the water is turned off.
A CDBG grant is covering the cost of acquisition, remediation, demolition and site clean-up of the blighted property. Unfortunately, the grant does not address build-out of the park itself, and Endreson said his students were not working with a budget when they came up with their concept, which can best be described as a "framework" for a formal architectural design. To complete the project, the city will be looking to leverage taxpayer dollars with grants and donations. With cost estimates ranging from $166,066 to $344,167, it's also likely the project will have to be phased in. Ideally, the initial phase will be completed by mid-September.