A master plan that will guide improvements over the next five to 10 years in northern El Paso County's Homestead Ranch Regional Park received unanimous approval Tuesday from county commissioners.
The plan was developed over the past year with input from county parks staff, stakeholders and the public to provide a guideline to sustainably allocate resources, document baseline information, and identify future park upgrades, said Greg Stachon, a county landscape architect.
The 458-acre park located 6 miles northwest of Peyton offers hiking, biking, equestrian use and other outdoor activities, he said. It includes a playground, restroom, fishing pond, picnic pavilions, a multi-use field and 5 miles of trails.
The document recommends several park enhancements over two phases, Stachon said.
"Future improvements would not all happen at once, but their needs are identified to bring the park up to par over time," as well as plan for the eventual replacement of existing facilities, he said.
The county identified several upgrades for its first phase, including addressing erosion, improving the fishing pond, bringing some facilities into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and paving a portion of the parking lot while preserving a gravel parking area for equestrian users.
The first phase also plans for various trail improvements like surfacing and erosion control, incorporating single-track loops, closing unofficial trails, improving signage, and fixing fencing. Some forestry management to mitigate fire danger also is already underway, Stachon said.
Other future changes identified include additional various trail improvements, landscape upgrades at the playground, additional forestry management, playground renovation and adding automatic gates at the park's entry, among others.
In all, the upgrades are estimated to cost about $2.48 million, according to Stachon's presentation.
But enhancements are done as funds are available, he said.
"It doesn’t mean all the improvements will happen next year or that they will happen at all," he said. "It’s just as funding is provided (that) we start to do projects."
El Paso County has 13 regional and community parks, as well as several dog parks, open spaces and regional trails.
Officials have allocated $160,000 in the county's proposed 2023 spending plan specifically for county parks maintenance.
Commissioners are expected to approve the county's 2023 budget on Tuesday at 9 a.m.
The Homestead Ranch Regional Park Master Plan is available online at https://bit.ly/3VwXAZK.