Plans for the completion of Westerly Creek North (WCN) and the East and West Uplands were presented to the community on May 20. Jane Kopperl, landscape architect at Matrix Design Group, announced they hope to have biddable drawings by fall 2014 and begin the 18-month construction project in early 2015.
Most parkland in Stapleton is transferred from DIA’s ownership to Stapleton Development Corporation and then to Park Creek Metro District (PCMD), which contracts for the construction. Parks are built to meet the standards of DenverParks since they are ultimately transferred to the city. In the case of WCN and the Uplands, however, the land was transferred directly to Denver Parks, which is overseeing the construction of the open space parkland.
Kopperl listed the issues to be addressed in the design and construction of the park: change the creek bed to make more gradual, meandering curves; grade back steep banks to create softer slopes; create access across the creek; remove protrusions of metal; save large cottonwoods where possible; work with undesirable views; create a safe, habitat-rich corridor that connects to Sand Creek; plan irrigation and what could grow without irrigation; deal with noxious weeds; address state and local wildlife issues and clean water act requirements; and plan for how Westerly Creek interfaces with Sand Creek.
Westerly Creek North is planned to look just like the rest of Westerly Creek, with native plants, and a stream bed built as a flood channel.
At the confluence with Sand Creek, a wetlands area will be constructed.Engineers have determined that the flow of water, even during drought periods, has been and will continue to be adequate to support a wetlands area for wildlife there.
In the East Uplands, the plans call for an irrigated stretch along Florence Way with groupings of trees and shrubs reminiscent of native prairie landscape. Sand Creek trail will be a 12-foot wide concrete path that divides the irrigated area along the road from the non-irrigated area with prairie grass and wildflowers. Softscape trails will wind through the uplands prairie area.
The West Uplands will also have an irrigated area along the road and is expected to have non-irrigated shortgrass prairie in the remaining area. A resident asked whether the temporary trail in the West Uplands would remain and the planners agreed to look at it and consider that request.
Concerns expressed by community members were: keep the process moving forward so the creek bed grading will get done this winter during the dry season (and not delayed once it’s wetter), make Westerly Creek consistent with what’s already there; get the wetlands done right; maintain existing trail connections; block access that might be used for dumping; and buffer views of the jail but don’t block views of the mountains. (Trees will not be planted in a straight line to block undesirable views, but will be in natural groupings with view issues taken into consideration.)