Edwards: You can’t walk in the park… yet | VailDaily.com

Edwards: You can’t walk in the park… yet

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

EDWARDS, Colorado ” Tons of dirt, acres of plants and almost a year later, planners say that the Eagle River Preserve still needs a summer of growing before residents can enjoy the open space park in Edwards.

The first phase of the park ” 30-acres of walking and biking trails ” was slated to be opened this month, but now the opening date will be later this summer.

The 72-acre preserve, a parcel of land also known as the Eaton Ranch property, was once the site for a proposed development. Through both private and county funds, the land was bought for $12 million in 2004 to be preserved as open space.

The site between U.S. Highway 6 and the Eagle River has come a long way since its days as a gravel pit ” landscaping is nearly done, the preserve’s parking lot is almost finished, and the park’s ponds are taking shape.

However, some construction is still going on, and planners want to make some improvements before the public enjoys the park, County Planner Cliff Simonton said.

“We want to put in some fencing and some benches and clean up the pathways. We want to give some time for the new plants to be established,” he said.

Construction on the preserve was also delayed a few weeks because of the cold spring and trouble shipping enough dirt to the site.

A grand opening ceremony is planned for the next few weeks, but the park probably won’t be open to the public until mid-summer.

The park is designed to return the land back a natural setting.

People can enjoy the views, the river and the quiet, but with minimal disturbance to the environment, Simonton said.

“It will be interesting to see what people think,” he said. “The idea is to just go, walk around and soak it in. It will be a very pleasant experience.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at (970) 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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