Dickens Farm Park
aka - St Vrain Greenway Phase 11 (Pavlakis District Park)
Public Meeting Summary
Final Master Plan
This project has been deferred due to the September 2013 flood. Funding for Dickens Farm Park design and construction has been reallocated to St Vrain Greenway trail flood repair. Project funding will be restored at a date as yet to be determined. For information on the flood repair projects, link here
This project is on a 52 acre site is located between Main and Martin Streets and along the St. Vrain Creek. It will become Longmont's next District Park and trailhead to the St Vrain Greenway trail system.
What is a District Park?
A District Park is a park type that is focused on special and unique features of the site. Typical amenities include fishing, boating, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Examples of other Longmont District Parks include Golden Ponds, Izaak Walton Pond, Union Reservoir, Rogers Grove, McIntosh Lake and Jim Hamm Pond.
- The site (Pavlakis Open Space) was originally master planned in 2001 as part of the St Vrain Greenway Master Plan, East Corridor Update. The site was identified for trailhead and passive park purposes and also included a proposed Whitewater Park.
- An RICD (Recreational In Channel Diversion) was obtained by the City in 2004 to retain water in the creek for this boating amenity.
- Site condition changes since the time of the original master plan include: Boston Avenue is now planned to cross the property's north end; dog parks are no longer considered compatible within this District Park setting; and shared parking and restroom facilities with the adjacent Fire Training Center is no possible because of the Boston Avenue roadway.
- Concerns from Colorado Parks and Wildlife related to State Listed fish species in the St Vrain Creek will be addressed in the design of any River Park amenities. (See Environmental information below).
The name Dickens Farm Park was adopted by Council at their July 9, 2013 meeting. Dickens was the original homesteader for the property and was a founding father to Longmont.
All public meetings are now complete. The park Master Plan was adopted at the July 9, 2013 City Council meeting.
Public Meeting Summary
Minutes from all public meetings for the project are found here - the presentations noted as attached are not included.
- Meeting 1 Summary- April 26, 2012
- Meeting 2 Summary - February 21, 2013
- Meeting 3 Summary - March 21, 2013
- Meeting 4 Summary - May 2, 2013
- Meeting 5 - Parks & Recreation Advisory Board- June 10, 2013. The Board voted unanimously to recommend approval of the draft Master Plan with the stipulation that the Knake / Connelly (adjacent home / business to the north on Main Street) water rights and access are not infringed upon.
St Vrain is unique from other nearby creeks such as the Cache la Poudre, Big Thompson and Boulder Creek. Although they all are transitional streams (from mountain to plains) they are now very different in terms of fish that inhabit the creeks. While these other creeks may have 3 to 5 'generalist' native fish species (fathead minnow, creek chub, white sucker, johnny darter, longnose dace), the St Vrain within Longmont has 21 different fish with 13 of them being native species. The “transition zone” of a river has cooler temperatures than the downstream “warm water zone” (i.e. the plains), yet is warmer than in the upstream mountainous areas. The stream channel in the transition zone generally features a meandering channel and has a relatively flatter grade. Sampling was done by the Colorado Division of Wildlife from 2006 - 2010 in 36 different locations on the St Vrain creek. This sampling found the variety and type of fish noted above including the following species that are protected by the State of Colorado:
Iowa Darter - State listed Species of Concern
Stonecat - State listed Species of Concern. Only found in a 2 mile stream area on the St Vrain creek and Left Hand Creek as well as on the Republican River
Common Shiner - State listed Threatened Species. This has only isolated populations in the state on the St Vrain and in West Plum Creek near Castle Rock
A sampling survey was again done in 2012 with 1 Iowa Darter found downstream of Longmont, 26 Stonecats found just downstream of the Bonus Ditch diversion (on the project site), and 5 Common Shiners found upstream of the Bonus Ditch diversion. The Iowa Darter and Common Shiners have low detection probably in this type of sampling, so more may exist.
These small native fish travel up and down streams at 64 cm/sec. which is fast enough to navigate swift water velocities that are typical of our Front Range streams. However, higher velocity's often used to create Whitewater Park features create a barrier for these fish to move along the stream but would allow for predator fish movement (brown trout & large mouth bass) into the area. Also the pool / drop configuration typical of whitewater parks may attract predator fish to the pools, which then eat these smaller fish. These are concerns expressed by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists.
Final Master Plan
This final master plan was approved at the July 9, 2013 City Council meeting. Highlights of the plan include:
- A centrally located parking lot is provided, with access from Martin Street. An overflow lot is provided for occasional events
- Additional trails are provided to serve new amenities (program area, parking lot, river park spectator areas) and for recreation (beginner bike skills trail and nature play discovery trail).
- The River Park is shown as a 'by-pass' around the Bonus ditch dam with slower-moving water. Approximately 6' total grade change is spread out over the new channel length. (This will result in the least impact to the native fish in the natural river channel).
- Spectator areas for the River Park are provided near the dam, along the new bypass channel and at the East Pond.
- An emergency access route from Martin Street to the river is provided
- A restroom with an adjacent changing room (for River park users) is located near the parking lot and trailhead
- A short bike skills trail is provided for novices and beginners on easy rolling terrain and built with various trail materials. The trail is a small loop to minimize conflict with nearby greenway trail users.
- A nature play discovery trail is designated around the West Pond and includes a ‘developed’ feature (A) that provides ADA access and play opportunities. Water play area is shown as a very small side channel off the St Vrain creek. Other nodes along the trail might include fallen logs to climb on, stepping stones, and natural materials for kids to construct small tipi's.
- A medium-sized shelter (accommodating up to six picnic tables) is provided in the central park area, with small shelters located near the nature play discovery trail and the bypass channel.
- An informal program space is created overlooking the West pond (suitable for small environmental or recreational programs). This includes bank side seating on boulders
- Historical and environmental interpretation areas are provided (subjects could include information on the Dickens family and early Longmont history, pond ecology, native fish in this reach of the St Vrain creek, and the new Colorado State Amphibian - the Tiger Salamander).
- Most of the park will be planted in native grasses. There is a small area of irrigated turf near the program area.
- Spring Gulch may include an overflow into the East pond through a vegetated swale to improve water quality
- Boating is allowed in the East Pond, but both West and East Ponds are primarily managed and designated as a native fish refuge. Ponds will not be stocked with sport fish, and fishing not permitted.
- Habitat areas are created for more environmental diversity, with less open water, expanded wetlands, and reforestation around ponds, along the existing creek and the new bypass channel.
Final Approved Master Plan
Click here to download full size document (4,722 kb)