Eagle Town Park — the cool new spot to play
Eagle Town Park: Looking back
Eagle Town Park has been a part of the Eagle landscape since 1910.
The push for a community park began back in 1907, just two years after Eagle was incorporated. The most ardent supporter of the project was George Haubrick, editor of the Eagle Valley Enterprise.
“Quite often, when towns are organized, the matter of providing for public parks is overlooked. Every town is a city in embryo. No one can prophesy how great it may be in time. It is well to look into the future and set aside ground that may be used for park purposes,” Haubrick wrote in a 1907 editorial.
Haubrick continued to promote the park project for three years and then in Oct. 1910, a mass meeting of Eagle residents was held to discuss a park plan.
At that 1910 meeting a three-man committee was formed to negotiate on behalf of the community for the purchase of park land. The committee members must have had strong persuasion skills because just a week later, they had arranged for the purchase of one block of land west of Broadway and between Fifth and Sixth streets.
Harvey Dice and the Eagle Town Board paid owner Peter Thoborg for the parcel and then Thoborg donated another adjacent block of land just to the west. In total the town secured three blocks of land in the deal, part of which was earmarked for a park and part of which was eyed as a potential county courthouse location. But it would take another 20 years before Eagle became the county seat.
Over the years the Eagle Town Park served as a rodeo grounds, community ice rink, ballfield and more. In 2006, the Eagle Town Board approved a comprehensive park renovation that included construction of the Centennial Stage and the new restroom building and basketball court. Today the park is primarily used as a performance and special event venue.
Back when the park land was first obtained, Haubrick predicted the community would never forget the contributions of Dice and Thoborg, but those names are largely unknown the people who congregate at Eagle Town Park today. But Haubrick was more prophetic when he spoke of the community’s support for Eagle Town Park.
“There is nothing that make a city more attractive or is such a blessing to the people as a cozy park where they can meet for recreation,” wrote Haubrick.
Eagle Town Park has been the centerpiece of community fun for 107 years.
Located geographically and symbolically at the heart of Eagle’s traditional downtown, Eagle Town Park has evolved through the decades and its latest incarnation includes a new $300,000 playground renovation that made its debut last week.
“We came down here over the weekend and it was packed. It’s the new, cool place to hang,” said Kelly Diemund, of Eagle, as she watched her 3-year-old daughter Avery tackle a climbing net. “It is really done well.”
The money for the new playground came from the 0.5 percent sales tax Eagle voters approved last spring. While the new Eagle River Park near the eastbound Interstate 70 interchange is the major project slated for the sales tax funding, the ballot question specified that proceeds could go to all Eagle parks. Eagle Town Park, the community’s oldest and arguably most used facility was the first project to benefit from the new sales tax proceeds.
Asking the experts
A to Z Recreation, the company the town of Eagle contracted with to design and build the new playground, reached out to future users as they planned the facility. During last summer’s ShowDown Town concert series, the company displayed some park concept plans and asked local youngsters what they thought of the options. Judging by the new playground’s popularity, the kids provided good advice according to Eagle Special Events Coordinator Jeremy Gross.
Gross noted a couple of the play structures have been an especially big hit with kids. The new, moulded plastic merry-go-round offers all the fun of the former steel structure in a more inclusive and safer package.
“Kids are piling on that thing,” Gross said.
Likewise the new disk swing is a popular option that turns swinging from a singular, to a group, activity.
“It allows kids of all sizes and ages to use it,” Gross said. ”My 3-year-old likes to lay down in it.”
Kids aren’t the only fans of the new playground. Gross said parents like the spongy, poured-in-place rubber surface at the play area.
“People have been pleasantly surprised by the rubber surface. They said they didn’t like rubber, but what they didn’t like was the rubber chips,” Gross said. “This surface doesn’t end up in kids shoes like those chip surfaces do.”
An official ribbon cutting for the facility was celebrated Oct. 13 and Gross has made it a point to drop by the playground periodically to see what’s happening.
“Every time I have been by the park there have been anywhere from a dozen to 100 kids hanging out,” he said.