Facility Profile - July 2011
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Parks: Dreams Come True

Westminster Center Park in Westminster, Colo.

By Dawn Klingensmith

One of the water features in the park is designed to evoke the River Thames, which flows through London. A ribbon of blue meanders through the concrete and contains several pop jet fountains. The "river" is made of Lithocrete, a paving system that combines the structural properties of reinforced concrete with the aesthetic qualities of aggregate materials, such as granite, glass, limestone or shells. In Westminster Center Park, polished blue glass was used.

Another water feature consists of lion heads spitting water into a shallow pool. Piper said the water features, which operate from mid-May to mid-October, are the park's biggest draw. Her advice to other municipal park planners: "Go with water. Especially for cities, pools are expensive from an operating standpoint and hard to maintain," and water features are an inexpensive yet satisfactory alternative.

The playground is modeled on Neverland, complete with a pirate's cove and ship-themed play structure. There's also a Neverwood Forest with hollow "logs" for kids to climb through and concrete-sculpted boulders and outcroppings with built-in slides. Nearby is a London Bridge play structure.

In the center of the plaza is an obelisk illuminated at night with energy-efficient LED lights. "We wanted a vertical element to echo the clock tower across the street at City Hall," which is loosely based on Big Ben, Pearson said.

Around the obelisk is a streetscape consisting of a miniaturized grid of Westminster streets, along with an interpretation of the Darling house from Peter Pan.

Colorado Hardscapes, Denver, provided the sculpted-concrete climbing structures, water features and Lithocrete pathway. Landscape Structures, headquartered in Delano, Minn., provided the London Bridge- and ship-themed playground equipment. DuMor Inc., headquartered in Mifflintown, Pa., provided site furnishings. Hubbell Inc., based in Shelton, Conn., provided pedestrian lighting throughout the park. Chevo Studios, Denver, created the obelisk out of sandstone and also designed the lighting atop the performance shelter.

LOA Architecture, Denver, designed the picnic and performance shelters, along with the restroom facility. Architerra Group provided the master plan and construction documents. Arrow-J Landscape & Design Inc., Denver, was the contractor.

Piper and the city of Westminster provided project management. The project took two years to complete, at a cost of $3 million, and was indirectly aided and improved by the poor economy. Eager for work, contractors came through with low bids, making upgrades possible.

That's a happy ending for a site that stood empty for years due to lack of funds. To quote a line from Peter Pan, "Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough."


Westminster Parks & Recreation: www.ci.westminster.co.us/46.htm

Architerra Group: www.architerragroup.com

DuMor Inc.: www.dumor.com