February 04 2013

Revamping the Riverfront, The Buena Vista, Colorado Way

As more and more people aim to get out and get active, revamping public space is key. Parks and other planned open spaces for the public are becoming the hot spots for activity. While it is known that not all parks receive their fair-share of attention, Buena Vista Whitewater Park in Buena Vista, Colorado, once called the River Park, is a major attraction for the town. This isn’t your typical large field and a walking path park; BV Whitewater Park houses a multitude of activities and recreational opportunities.

The recently approved River Park Master Plan includes: camping space, performing arts stage, new and extended sports fields, picnic pavilion, dog park, pump track, community garden.

Since the previous set of upgrades a decade ago, the park has seen more use for a variety of activities. The main improvements in 2001, drawing rafters and kayakers from all around, were the numerous eddy and trail upgrades. Additional channels and features in the past five years engineered a class II-III whitewater park. Buena Vista‘s Whitewater Park may be one of the longest stretches for enthusiasts in Colorado at one and a half miles after taming down the sometimes-dangerous stretch of the Arkansas River.

The focus on outdoor recreation is Buena Vista, if not all of Colorado, is huge and growing. Even the town’s New Urbanist development, South Main, incorporated a riverfront park with connections to BV’s Whitewater Park. Residents and tourists alike are constantly using the three trails up Midland Mountain; hiking, biking, and leisurely walks are popular uses. The need to stay healthy and active is slowly taking over the American lifestyle; with the economic tough times, many gravitate towards public open space.

Are more people in your town using planned recreational space to a greater extent?

Credits: Images by Katie Poppel. Data linked to sources.

Katie Poppel

Katie Poppel comes to The Grid as a student constantly on the go. Set to graduate from the University of Cincinnati in 2014, she is studying for a bachelor of urban planning with focuses in urban design and sustainability. Her program has allowed her to work for the City of Chicago and the Congress for New Urbanism this past year, as well as study abroad at the University of Amsterdam, College of Social Sciences. In her free time, you can find her exploring cities, playing soccer, or skiing. She has a serious case of wanderlust and enjoys the rush of cities over the countryside. Katie writes from Colorado, as she interns for the small town of Buena Vista south of Denver.

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 4th, 2013 at 9:24 am and is filed under Environmental Design, Land Use, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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