Vail’s Stephens Park play area closed for renovation |

Vail’s Stephens Park play area closed for renovation

The children’s play area at Stephens Park in West Vail is closed while the playground undergoes a renovation over the next several months. Stephens Park is located in the Intermountain neighborhood. Other facilities within the park, including the off-leash dog area, parking and public restrooms, remain accessible throughout the renovation.

RA Nelson has been selected as the local contractor to renovate the 25-year-old play area to ensure compliance with current playground safety guidelines and to provide ADA accessibility. New features will include renovated wooden play structures, replacement of worn-out slides and climbers, the addition of a large climbing feature resembling an oversized spruce tree stump, rope and log components and new swings. Many of the existing wooden play components will be repurposed within the new design. Input for the design was solicited from park users via email and online information.

The first phase of construction will be completed in late July when the play area will reopen. A short closure in the fall will allow for the installation of the spruce stump climbing feature. The final playground elements will be added during the spring of 2021 to install the artistic components. Each of Vail’s play area renovations over the past two decades has included artistic site elements, play pieces or even entire artistic play structures such as the popular Pirate Ship Park in Vail Village. For the Stephens Park project, oversized “horsetails,” a native riparian plant that has been around since the age of the dinosaurs, will be placed around the play area to complement the spruce stump and log climbers. The art elements have been selected in collaboration with Vail’s Art in Public Places.

The project’s $450,000 construction contract was approved by the Vail Town Council May 19 after costs were reduced by over 30% following an earlier bid process in which RA Nelson was the sole bidder. The savings are attributed to a combination of scheduling efficiencies by the contractor and design modifications.

For more information, email Gregg Barrie, the town’s senior landscape architect,

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