Kids can play in the fountains |

Kids can play in the fountains

Tamara Miller
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyThis artist's rendering, though not to scale, shows how the spraypark planned for Edwards' Freedom Park would look.

EDWARDS ” It’s like running through the sprinklers, except the sprinklers are bigger, there are more of them and they’re on public property.

The Board of Commissioners have approved plans for a spraypark ” essentially a play area with fountains ” for Freedom Park in Miller Ranch.

Plans call for a low-pressure water spout for toddlers, a sprinkler for kids a little older and a gushing geyser meant for the older water lovers. The park is planned for the southern edge of Freedom Park parking lot, just west of the athletic fields and conveniently located in front of the park restroom.

“I think this is terrific on a bunch of levels, not the least of which is this is a $200,000 project and we are paying only one-third of it,” said Commissioner Peter Runyon.

Why the discount? The county’s engineering department successfully applied for a $100,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, a state agency that uses lottery dollars to provide funding for parks and recreation.

Former County Commissioner Tom Stone, who came up with the idea for the park while on the board, also secured $20,000 each from the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District and the Edwards Metro District.

The county will pitch in another $60,000, bringing the project’s budget to $200,000.

Water consumption was the biggest concern. Other communities with sprayparks have tried to address this concern by recirculating the water through the fountains.

However, some of those communities reported cases of giardia and other bacterial infections in users, said Siri Nelson, a county engineer, pointing out that children will attempt to drink the water. For that reason, the county plans to have only fresh water flowing through the park.

Not wanting to waste more water than necessary, the county plans to funnel the spraypark water into a pond that will be used to water the nearby athletic fields and other plants in Freedom Park.

Commissioner Sara Fisher said she wants Sarah Will, a local advocate for wheelchair users and the disabled, to review the plans before the county breaks ground.

The board approved the project by a vote of 2-0 on Tuesday. Commissioner Arn Menconi left the meeting before the vote.

Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 748-2936, or

Vail, Colorado

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