Avon opens community survey to identify priorities for La Zona project
The large public amenities project will include improvements to the recreation center, old fire station site and connecting walkways
Avon opened a survey last week asking community members to rank their priorities for the redesign of La Zona, an area that encompasses the recreation center, library and former fire station property. The survey will close on March 10 and Town Council members will use the results to guide upcoming decisions on the project.
The three primary goals of the project are to expand the Avon Recreation Center, determine plans for the redevelopment of the former fire station property and extend and redesign Main Street Mall as a connection between Nottingham Park and the downtown core.
A staff report by town planner Matt Pielsticker states that the La Zona project is intended to maximize the utilization of 47 acres of town-owned land identified as “Tract G” in anticipation of Avon’s continued growth.
“Tract G and the civic facilities (namely the Recreation Center) were planned at a time when the full buildout of the community was not fully realized … staff projects that the town’s full-time population and accommodations bed base may increase by 40% to 50% over the next 20 years,” the report states. “Increased demand and usage for parks and recreation would correlate with this expectation.”
The survey presents various graphic design concepts that town staff has produced over the past year in collaboration with Norris Design, Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, and Toole Design. It lists options for each component of the project and asks community members to select the improvements that they would most like to see.
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Rethinking the recreation center
The Avon Recreation Center saw its highest visitation records to date in 2022, averaging 454 visitors a day up from a previous high of 344 average visitors in 2017. The renovation of the center will be the centerpiece of the La Zona project.
There are seven options for the Avon Recreation Center expansion, each of which would transform the space and greatly increase the number and diversity of public facilities. The designs were informed by a 2022 public survey in which the town received 545 responses, 86% of whom identified as Eagle County residents.
Respondents can choose between options that include additional fitness rooms, child care spaces, a climbing gym, a spa and whirlpool area, a pool area with waterslides, a large multi-purpose aquatics area and event space, and a full gymnasium expansion with basketball courts. Certain options include an expanded footprint that would cross into the former fire station property, taking other opportunities for that space off the table.
The survey asks that people select their priorities without consideration of cost, which will come later in the process.
All of the designs are currently viewable at Avon.org/lazona. Those who want to delve deeper into the specifics can attend a design concept presentation at the center’s East Studio on Thursday, Feb. 24, from 6-7:30 p.m.
Optimizing underutilized spaces
The town envisions La Zona as a dedicated public use area that should be a center for parks, recreation, civic and cultural activities. The proposals for the former fire station site — located directly across from the public library — reflect these priorities.
The survey includes four options. The first is a two-story, 11,400-square-foot building to host mixed-use community needs and events. Pielsticker said that the opportunities for this building are open-ended and if selected will go through further engagement and design processes to ensure it reflects the needs of the community.
The second is a 16,000-square-foot skatepark, following the lead of many local municipalities such as Vail, Edwards and Gypsum that have invested in skate infrastructure in recent years.
A third option is to turn the area into a temporary open space and park environment while continuing to brainstorm potential projects, and the final option is to use the space to expand the parking lot, adding around 50 parking spaces.
Survey respondents are also asked to rank the fire station project alongside five possible improvements that can be made to the Main Street Mall to make them more engaging. Ideas include aesthetic, wayfinding and safety improvements in addition to placemaking installments such as seating, art exhibits, a pump track and other concepts.
The next community open house on the La Zona project will take place on Tuesday, March 21. To access all of the information on the project and to take the survey, visit Avon.org/lazona. Those with additional questions on the project can reach out to town planner Matt Pielsticker at firstname.lastname@example.org.