Ford Park improvements are focus of open house |

Ford Park improvements are focus of open house

Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – An update on current construction work at Ford Park and concepts for future improvements will be presented at a community open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday. The session will be held in the Grand View on the third level of the Lionshead Welcome Center and will include representatives from the town, Vail Valley Foundation and Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.

Phase 1 improvements to the park, which were made possible by the voter approved reallocation of the Conference Center Fund dollars, are well under way, while an application for Phase 2 improvements has recently been submitted to the town for development review and will be the primary focus of the open house.

The park’s Phase 2 projects have been submitted jointly by the town, Vail Valley Foundation and Alpine Gardens and require an amendment to the conditional use permit for “public and private parks and active outdoor recreation areas, facilities and uses.” Specifically, the Vail Valley Foundation is pursuing approvals to construct a covered social courtyard and a ticket office expansion at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, plus upgrades to the central portion of the service drive as well as improvements to the Nature Center bridge and a tribute area to recognize the contributions of the Ford family.

The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, as part of the development application, is requesting permission to construct an education center, as well as improvements to the Gore Creek Nature Trail. Completing the Phase 2 projects is a filing by the town to replace a public restroom near the existing playground. The projects would be funded separately with the Vail Valley Foundation and the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens raising money for the amphitheater improvements and the education center. The town would fund the remainder of the improvements from the Conference Center Funds and Real Estate Transfer Tax funds.

First phase is under way

As for the Phase 1 projects, contractors took advantage of the mild fall and early winter weather and have made significant progress including new restrooms, concessions and maintenance buildings at the softball fields, plus underground utilities, a retaining wall for the west outfield, improvements to the service drives, re-graded lawn seating at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater and new restrooms at the east gate. The phase 1 projects are being funded by a combination of Conference Center Funds, RETT and private donations.

Ford Park is a shared facility. While the land is owned by the town, the Vail Valley Foundation owns and operates the amphitheater. Leases are in place with the Vail Recreation District for operation of the recreational facilities. The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens holds a lease for the garden’s improvements and the Gore Creek School House, which functions as a gift shop.

Updated drawings and plans will be presented at the open house with representatives and design consultants on hand to answer questions from the community and collect comments. For more information, contact Todd Oppenheimer, town of Vail capital projects manager, at 970-479-2161 or email

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