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Parks

 Contact Information

Dept Head: Mike Calhoon
  •   8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (M-F, except for holidays)

Life Cycle Components

The program supports repair, replacement and renovation of more than 1,000 varied park assets within many different component categories as described below.

Life Cycle Component categories
Hardscapes

What: Hardscapes encompass walkways, plazas, parking lots, entries, drives and other surfaces found throughout our parks. The Life Cycle Program helps to assess the condition of these surfaces, plan for major repairs and work towards meeting current ADA standards.  

Why: Making sure our parks and facilities are accessible and safe for everyone to enjoy is a high priority. To keep these surfaces up to standard requires regular maintenance. We employ strategies like crack seal, pothole filling, and occasional repaving.  Heaving of surfacing may occur seasonally depending on freeze-thaw cycles and are addressed by highlighting with spray paint (temporary seasonal issues), grinding of surfacing (minor heaving), or full pavement replacement (major heaving). Maintaining parking lots and walkways within Parks helps to ensure that our citizens have an accessible and safe experience getting in and around our parks system. The City’s Streets Department has a great break down of paving repairs and strategies that Parks utilizes to keep our hardscapes well maintained.

How Often: Pavement deterioration is caused by many factors, including the freeze/thaw cycle, traffic loading, the effects of moisture, and the quality of the soils beneath the surface. As pavement deteriorates, certain types of distresses occur (potholes, settling, rutting, cracking, heaving). These distresses indicate what type of maintenance or rehabilitation is needed.  Work is determined based on funding levels and other needs throughout the park system.  

Standards, Guidelines and Documents: Federal ADA Standards, Larimer County Urban Street StandardsFC Street Maintenance Program 

Playgrounds

What: As playgrounds age and generational shifts change the nature of play, playgrounds need to be updated. Almost all parks in Fort Collins contain playgrounds of varying sizes. Playgrounds are inspected by the Parks Maintenance team on a frequent basis and information provided by those inspections informs decision making on playground replacements.

Why: Play is essential for children's development. Play helps improve cognitive, social, physical, and emotional well-being and is an opportunity for caregivers to engage with children. Through play, children can develop gross motor skills, interact socially, problem solve, share and resolve conflicts, and use their imagination. Benefits of play have been well-documented. 

How Often: Parks performs playground upgrades as funding becomes available. The Life Cycle Program maintains a list of playgrounds that are in need of upgrades through repairs or replacement.  We prioritize based on safety concerns, age, and play value. See our current projects for playgrounds currently being upgraded.  

Standards, Guidelines and Documents: International Playground Equipment Manufacturer's Association (IPEMA)Federal ADA StandardsConsumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) GuidelinesPublic Playground SafetyAmerican Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)Voluntary Playground Safety Standards, National Program for Playground SafetyNational Recreation and Parks AssociationThe Evolution of Public Playgrounds in the United States

Fields

What: The fields component category includes the full range of amenities to support our athletes and their fans: ballfields, multiuse fields, lighting, fencing, backstops, scoreboards, and bleachers.   

Why: The Parks Department is proud to support team sports and large users such as our Recreation Department. Children and adults benefit from exercise and learn and build important social values by participating in sports.  Fort Collins provides both lit and non-lit ballfields, depending on location. Most lighted ballfields are located in community parks. 

How Often: Typically, field components are changed out at the end of their life cycle. At the time of replacement, new technology is evaluated to assist with managing programming, reduce energy/water use and maintaining sites efficiently. For instance, new lighting was recently installed at the Rolland Moore ballfields. These new lights feature LED’s that create less spill and glare and reduce energy use. In addition, lights and scoreboards are both controlled remotely which helps with programming efficiency.   

Standards, Guidelines and DocumentsDark Sky InitiativeSports Turf Manager Association (STMA) - Sports Field SafetyFederal ADA StandardsLittle League Rules and RegulationsLittle League Forms and PublicationsAmerican Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)Standard Safety Performance Specification for Fences for Baseball and Softball Fields, CDC - Sports Safety, American Sports Builders Association

Courts

What: Fort Collins is home to a variety of courts including: tennis, basketball, volleyball, multiuse courts, horseshoe, racquet/handball, inline hockey, and pickleball courts.  

Why: Similar to field sports, courts sports have both physical and emotional benefits for both adults and children. Many of our courts allow for both team play as well as individual play and practice that help to support our Recreation Department. 

How Often: Despite its tendency to crack, asphalt was the hard-court construction choice for decades. However, asphalt court cracking creates unsafe surfaces and expensive annual maintenance. Thermal expansion, UV exposure, and freeze-thaw cycles all contribute to asphalt surfaces degrading in quality over time. Today, post-tensioned concrete surfaces are a cost-effective alternative to asphalt courts and are now the Fort Collins Standard. When courts are replaced at the end of their life cycle and funding is available, old asphalt courts are replaced with post-tension courts.  In addition, where tournament play is not held, Fort Collins stripes some courts for multiple play like tennis and pickleball or basketball and pickleball. 

Standards, Guidelines and DocumentsAmerican Sports Builders Association, US Tennis Association (USTA), Tennis Courts: A Construction & Maintenance ManualUSA Volleyball Online GuideUSA Volleyball Competition Regulations, USA Pickleball (USAPA), Pickleball Official RulesUSA Basketball (USAB)Basketball Official Rules, USA Roller Sports (USARS)Inline Hockey Official RulesUSA Racquetball (USAR), Racquetball Official RulesNational Horseshoe Pitching Association (NHPA) 

Buildings

What: Park buildings vary and include structures that support the use of a park such as restrooms, picnic shelters, shade structures, and press boxes. Other buildings support the maintenance and management of the park system such as storage sheds, pump houses that house raw water irrigation equipment, and maintenance shops for our staff and technicians. 

Why: Park buildings allow our community members to extend their time in a park and support group gatherings and the needs associated with those. These facilities provide our residents with opportunities to recreate, maximize comfort, and provide amenities that make using our parks a truly great experience.   

How Often: Asset management projects for buildings are often small projects that help to extend the life cycle of the building. On occasion, a whole building is renovated or rebuilt. Recent larger renovations include the Restrooms at Edora Park, Rolland Moore and Buckingham Park. Smaller projects, like painting and staining, occur annually as needed. 

Standards, Guidelines and DocumentsFort Collins Building CodeFort Collins Land Use CodeFederal ADA Standards 

Need to rent a shelter? Hop on over to our Parks site and reserve yours today! 

Reserve a shelter

Structures

What: The Structures component contains assets like pedestrian bridges and underpasses, interactive water features/splash pads, docks, decks, walls, boardwalks, lighting, fitness courses, skateparks, and bike parks. 

Why: These structures support the unique designs of parks and trails and vary greatly from park to park.   

How Often: This category varies greatly, so life cycle work also varies quite a bit. Some examples of work in this category include renovating the Spring Canyon bike park from wood features to stone features and replacing pedestrian bridges at the end of their life cycle. 

Standards, Guidelines and DocumentsFort Collins Building CodeFort Collins Land Use CodeFederal ADA StandardsCDOT Bridge Design Manual - Pedestrian Bridges, International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), Pool & Hot Tub Alliance

Irrigation

What: The City of Fort Collins Parks Department maintains more than 200 irrigation systems to support landscapes in parks, streetscapes, and facilities. Parks alone require roughly 190 million gallons water annually and the operation of irrigation systems represent more than 13% of the Parks Department’s budget. Irrigation infrastructure includes pumps, backflows, controllers and all the piping, valves, and heads associated with irrigation infrastructure.   

Why: Irrigation is critical to maintaining all plant material in Parks, including trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and the turf and sports fields. The City of Fort Collins is committed to sustainable practices and strives to reduce the amount of potable water being used through efficient irrigation practices.  The Parks Department also coordinates these efforts with the Municipal Sustainability and Adaptation Plan for the City.   

How Often: The Life Cycle Program developed an Irrigation Master Plan which identifies irrigation system improvement opportunities through a transparent and data driven process that prioritizes needs. The benefits of this plan include: Maximized input from all level of the City organization; improved design and construction consistency; and development of a template to be utilized for other sites within the City in alignment with the Municipal Sustainability and Adaptation Plan. Some sustainable irrigation upgrades include controller and flow sensor upgrades to smart, web-based controllers (WeatherTrak) for many of our parks and streetscapes. The Lifecycle program also pilots new technologies that seek to improve irrigation efficiency. A tree lawn along West Drake was recently installed with three different subsurface irrigation systems to measure efficiency and determine large scale feasibility.    

Standards, Guidelines and Documents:  Irrigation Association, Irrigation Master Plan, Irrigation StandardsMunicipal Sustainability and Adaptation Plan 

Water

What: Eighty-percent of Fort Collins Parks are irrigated with raw water. Water from the Cache la Poudre River, Horsetooth Reservoir, and local creeks is carried throughout Fort Collins via creeks or irrigation ditches to ponds in or near parks. The infrastructure associated with this system that the Life Cycle Program supports includes the private ponds, private ditches, headgates, and pipes that hold and convey this water, often many miles from the source.    

Why: The water from these ditches is used to directly irrigate many of our parks and green spaces and is a more sustainable and cost effective source of water for irrigation than treated potable water. In addition, the Parks Department at times shares these resources with other community organizations such as Poudre School District.   

How Often: Typically, water component issues include smaller repairs and also encompass reviewing developments throughout to City to ensure they do not negatively impact the water conveyance system. 

Standards, Guidelines and Documents: Colorado Division of Water Resources, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment - Water QualityCSU – Colorado Water Center, City Utilities Ditch BrochureLarimer County Irrigation DitchesHistorical Context of Ditches and Canals, CSU Extension – Irrigation Ditches and Their Operations, Poudre Heritage – Ditches and Canals Map

 

Streetscapes

What: Based on the City of Fort Collins' vision to create a vibrant, world class community, the 2013 Streetscape Standards set forth a coordinated approach to the design and management of streets as visually appealing public spaces that contribute to Fort Collins' distinct identity. The term "streetscape" generally encompasses the visual and pedestrian environment of a street. The standards deal with the treatment of parkway strips (between the curb and sidewalk), medians, intersections, roundabouts, and key gateway intersections. New or “enhanced” streetscapes primarily involves raising the bar for the quality of streetscape design, development, and maintenance in arterial medians and at key gateway intersections.    

Why: The streetscapes of Fort Collins are based on our vision to create a vibrant and world class community.  Pedestrian oriented spaces help provide a rich experience by providing spaces where people feel safe and comfortable walking and riding bicycles. This in turn encourages people to spend longer times in areas and increases the overall security and economic benefits to our community. In addition, medians help to create safer roadways and help to direct traffic where appropriate. The Parks Department is tasked with maintaining these spaces.   

How Often: Streetscapes are typically added through capital improvement projects funded in part through the Engineering Department and private developments. Some areas, such as downtown, have associations that help fund these improvements. A small amount of life cycle funding is provided to help address necessary repairs. In the past, there have also been budget offers for renovating existing medians throughout the City, although these have not been funded in the current budget. 

Standards, Guidelines and Documents: 2013 Streetscape StandardsLarimer County Urban Area Street StandardsFC Maps (to view the areas under Parks maintenance turn on the 'Medians & Parkways' information by clicking 'Available Maps')

Trails

What: Fort Collins has over 40 miles of paved trails, and is continually expanding. Trails are an integral part of the Fort Collins experience and one of the most popular amenities in surveys regarding Fort Collins. Paved trails throughout Fort Collins are open year-round providing residents with connections to nature, alternate commuting experiences, and leisure opportunities. For more information visit the Parks Trails page for an in depth look at each trail, maps, and closure notifications.  

Why: Fort Collins provides trails as a unique way for residents and visitors to recreate and enjoy urban outdoor experiences and millions of trail uses occur annually. Many of our trails provide underpasses to avoid vehicular traffic that minimize interruptions associated with streets.    

How Often: New trail sections are added yearly with repairs and maintenance occurring annually and as funding becomes available. Typical life cycle projects include improving cracked sections of trail and grinding heaved sections of trail. Bridge improvements and assessments are also coordinated through the Life Cycle Program. 

Standards, Guidelines and Documents: 2013 Paved Recreational Trail Master Plan (including design standards)2014 FC Bicycle Master PlanFC Bikes, Track Trail Use, NACTO – Urban Bikeway Design GuideAASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle FacilitiesMUTCD.