DENVER – Today the GOCO board awarded a total of $4,283,400 to 11 projects across the state as part of GOCO’s base programs: community impact, land acquisition, stewardship impact, and planning and capacity.
The projects will:
- Permanently protect 1,070 acres of land supporting wildlife, water resources, scenic viewsheds, and agricultural heritage.
- Improve parks and recreation facilities in Fort Morgan, Greeley, Haxtun, and Silverthorne with community-driven amenities to expand outdoor access.
- Support Montezuma Land Conservancy’s community-centered conservation programs and land protection efforts through fundraising, communications, and leadership planning.
- Expand capacity to address natural resource needs in the Grand Valley for three years with a trained stewardship crew.
GOCO’s Community Impact program develops and revitalizes parks, trails, school yards, fairgrounds, environmental education facilities, and other outdoor projects that enhance a community’s quality of life and access to the outdoors.
Lafayette Nature Center and Coal Creek Connections, $750,000 to the City of Lafayette and Thorne Nature Experience
Funding will support a new nature center in Lafayette called “A HOME for Nature Connection,” and improvements to the adjacent creek corridor and open space. The center will host world-class environmental education programming. A 35,000-square-foot nature play area will mimic natural habitats and include a slide, a water feature, a series of hills to mimic a prairie dog village, and bilingual signage in English and Spanish. Two gazebos will support community gatherings and feature murals depicting Latino and outdoor culture. The center will serve as a hub for Nature Kids/Jóvenes de la Naturaleza, a Generation Wild coalition connecting Lafayette’s Latinx families with outdoor experiences.
Trent Park Expansion Project, $600,000 to the Town of Silverthorne
Funding will help the Town of Silverthorne expand Trent Park, the primary park serving communities west of Highway 9. The town seeks to transform an adjacent eight-acre dirt lot into a community hub that will connect to multiple open space properties and provide more space for community events. The new portion of the park will include a multi-purpose sports field, hard surface pump track, bocce and cornhole courts, a rock-climbing wall, trails, a basketball court, and a shelter with restrooms. The expansion seeks to provide more equitable access to recreation in this fast-growing community. The new portion of the park is expected to open to the public in spring 2024.
Delta Park Renovation Project, $350,000 to the City of Greeley
Funding will help the City of Greeley, in partnership with Trust for Public Land, transform the six-acre Delta Park into a vibrant, culturally relevant, and inspired recreation and play space for residents of all ages. Over 2,500 diverse residents live within a 10-minute walk from Delta Park, which is surrounded by dense, multi-family housing. However, the park’s only amenities include an older basketball court and walking path, and the surrounding area has little access to parks, trails, and open space. Through deep community engagement from planning to implementation, this project seeks to create a park that uniquely serves local residents. The park’s development is slated to begin in 2024.
Town of Haxtun Pool Renovation, $923,400 to the Town of Haxtun
Funding will help the Town of Haxtun renovate the community’s public pool facility. The pool is a central gathering space for the community, supports multi-generational programming, and hosts local school athletics. Funding will allow the town to address numerous safety, compliance, and maintenance issues that would otherwise prevent the pool from being utilized next summer. The town plans to include lap lanes, a toddler slide, and new light fixtures, as well as zero entry, or stairless, access to better serve people with disabilities and young children. The project builds on 20 years of community-led efforts to support the facility.
CentrePointe Park and Sports Fields, $400,000 to the City of Fort Morgan
Funding will help the City of Fort Morgan build a park and sports field complex adjacent to the city’s new fieldhouse. The 120,000-square-foot park will include turf areas for sports and field activities, a walking trail, and other amenities that will support visitors year round. The project expands upon existing amenities, including a 3,000-square-foot inclusive playground and a 1,400-square-foot splash pad installed during fieldhouse construction. These new features will support a centralized location for outdoor recreation in the city, complementing the services and programming offered through the fieldhouse; provide outdoor recreation access for surrounding neighborhoods; and help mitigate maintenance issues occurring at other neighborhood parks in Fort Morgan due to overuse.
GOCO’s Land Acquisition program supports urban and rural landscape, waterway, and habitat protection priorities and improves access to the outdoors.
Buckeye Conservation and Front Range Gateway Project, $660,000 to Larimer County
Funding will help Larimer County’s Department of Natural Resources and the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department conserve a 1,070-acre ranch located four miles north of Laporte, Colo. The ranch is one of the last intact, large ranches in the region and serves as important habitat for migrating mammals and bird species and boasts spectacular viewsheds. Conservation of this property provides an important linkage to nearby conserved lands and opportunities for future public access. With the proposed realignment of U.S. Highway 287, the property will comprise the visual backdrop and northwest gateway to Larimer County and the City of Fort Collins.
GOCO’s Stewardship Impact program supports collaborative stewardship work that demonstrates meaningful improvements to ecological and recreational amenities.
Grand Valley Stewardship Crew, $300,000 to Mesa County
Funding will help the Grand Valley Stewardship Crew (GVSC) support a four-person team to steward natural resources in Mesa County for three years, expanding the organization’s reach and application beyond trail work to a broader community. This increased capacity will allow GVSC to support partner projects like Colorado West Land Trust’s Monument Connector Trail restoration effort, riparian habitat improvement initiatives with Rivers Edge West, and other local government and nonprofit efforts. Funding will also help the organization support short-staffed land management agencies maintain campgrounds and facilities during shoulder seasons.
Planning and Capacity
GOCO’s Planning and Capacity program invests in projects that address opportunities, explore issues, engage communities, and examine trends in the outdoors.
Elevating the Future of Conservation, $300,000 to Montezuma Land Conservancy
Funding will help Montezuma Land Conservancy (MLC) engage in a planning process to better support community-centered conservation programs and land protection efforts with the fundraising, communications and marketing, and leadership activities needed for MLC’s sustainable growth. Support will help MLC diversify funding, grow and sustain tribal engagement with the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and continue in its work as a statewide and national land trust leader.