By Celeste Benzschawel
Construction began in late April at Sloan’s Lake Park’s south playground, picnic facilities, and tennis courts.
Denver Parks and Recreation is implementing a rocket ship-themed playground and is making improvements to parking, landscaping, and accessibility.
The south tennis courts are also being replaced by three new tennis courts and four pickleball courts. The projects, funded by the capital improvement program dollars from Denver Parks and Recreation, began in 2019 with community outreach and conceptual design.
Two public surveys were issued to collect feedback in addition to two public outreach events in the neighborhood and a few pop-up events targeting folks who were already using the park, project manager Jennifer Olson said.
They also consulted the neighborhood organization in the area. Explorative landscapes/climbing structures, water play, and multi-tiered equipment were among the highest requested features of a new playground, according to Public Survey No. 1 and No. 2.
In the survey, the community voted between a rocket ship-themed playground or a Farmer Thomas M. Sloan-themed playground, with rocket ship being the winner. Features of the new playground will include a rocket ship play structure, zipline, pump track, “space worm” (a synthetic turf berm), net climber, sandstone boulders and sand play area.
“All of the red sandstone boulders that will be cut and used on site are supposed to kind of give the space a Mars feel,” Olson said. “The color scheme from the rocket ship will radiate out into all the other play features.”
Previous plans included the implementation of a splash pad water feature, which was highly requested by survey respondents.
Due to permitting issues, it will no longer be included and will instead be replaced by the sand play area. Other renovations will include new parking at the playground and tennis courts as well as a wheelchair-accessible path from the parking spaces that will loop around the playground.
There will also be an accessible route from the tennis court parking spaces to the courts, which doesn’t currently exist, Olson said. The project is expected to be complete in early 2023. Until then, the fenced-off area will remain closed for the entirety of the project.
“We’re really excited to provide a new amenity to the Sloan’s Lake neighborhood,” Olson said. “I know it’s taken a lot of twists and turns over the past three years, but the end result will be way worth the wait, not only for children at the playground but for adults and a lot of user groups at the tennis courts.”