Durango Telegraph - Whitewater Park improvements set for 2010
Whitewater Park improvements set for 2010

While the Animas River gets a facelift near Ninth Street, plans are rolling along for the stretch of river south of there as well.

The City of Durango is currently assembling its team in order to move forward with plans for the Whitewater Park at Santa Rita Park. As per the recently acquired recreational in-channel diversions, or RICDs, for the park, the city must build permanent structures in order to divert or control the flow. The requirement ends a long, and sometimes contentious debate over whether to use grout to secure features in the Whitewater Park.

“We are using grout, it will be a fairly significant project,” said Durango Parks and Recreation Director Kathy Metz.

The design for the nearly 1,200-foot stretch of river includes four river wide features as well as numerous smaller ones. The design, which was the end result of numerous public meetings and river-user input, was initially done by Scott Shipley, in conjunction with well-known whitewater park designer, Gary Lacey, of Boulder. Since then, Shipley has struck out on his own with S2O Engineering.

Metz said the City is currently reviewing proposals for an environmental consulting firm to secure a 404 permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. She expects that process to take the better part of the year, with fine-tuning of the design and construction slated for late summer, 2010. Based on preliminary numbers from Shipley, Parks and Red has set aside $550,000 in its 2010 budget for the project. “A lot of it depends on boulders,” said Metz. “We need a lot of boulders for this project. We’ve been stockpiling them all over the place.”

– Missy Votel