Park plans slow down in Castle Rock because of rising costs

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Castle Rock's under-construction Philip S. Miller Regional Park will have an outdoor amphitheater — someday, and a facility with a pond for weddings and meetings — someday.

But not in the next several months, as was planned, Castle Rock Town Council decided recently.

The council, faced with unexpected costs because of unstable soil condition and rising construction costs — estimated to total more than $4.4 million in additional costs and rising — decided that was too much to take out of reserve funds.

“I think the majority of council actually favors the project but did not favor the immediate increase in authorized expenditures with other funding priorities not yet cast in concrete and preferred phasing,” Councilmember Joe Procopio told Colorado Community Media recently. “No reason to over-extend ourselves. I myself preferred phasing.”

So, the slimmed-down Phase 1 of the town's biggest park-construction project ever — a 237-acre plot west of Interstate 25 off of Plum Creek Parkway and expected to have a regional draw — will result in the building of a 50,000-square-foot field house that will include a pool, indoor turf fields, offices, meeting rooms and other uses, as well as a lighted outdoor athletic field, parkwide utility lines and electrical infrastructure, roads and some landscaping.

The council, to stay within budget, on Oct. 1 approved a maximum of $12.5 million for the final contract package for that pared-down Phase 1 completion.

With that, the total cost of Phase 1, including two previous contract packages that totaled $8.3 million, is $20.8 million.

Past numbers had the entire park — with additional phases that would add ball fields and other amenities — costing about $30 million. It's hoped that Castle Rock Parks and Trails Foundation will be able to raise some private funds to help with that.

Jeff Smullen, the town's superintendent of parks, planning and construction, told the News-Press that with “the current construction climate, we can't predict what future costs will be. We also don't know what future councils will want to pursue in terms of future phases. Remember, this is a legacy project that will evolve over time.”

He also told the News-Press that the infrastructure being created in the first phase “… creates a solid foundation to facilitate future development, and the amenities meet immediate community needs of additional indoor and recreation space.”

Keeping within the budget will also cost money. In areas that were being reshaped and graded for facilities that won't be built as expected in this phase, the town will need to reseed that bare ground, about 30 acres — which is expected to cost with labor and materials about $180,000.

“It's important to stabilize the area for a few reasons: Colorado's climate, erosion control,” Smullen told Colorado Community Media in an email.

“And it still provides usable recreation areas for our residents.”

Smullen said the total re-seeding cost “includes re-seeding, soil amendments, mulch and erosion control measures.”

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