REP's Longmont Project Opening Spring 2019
Longmont officials, kayaking enthusiasts eager for opening of nature area
Dickens Farm will provide first-of-its-kind access to St. Vrain River in the city, feature water park
By Sam Lounsberry
Anticipation more than 15 years in the making will give way to adrenaline come spring when a new water park meant for kayaking and tubing opens at Dickens Farm Nature Area.
The new 52-acre nature area also will bring Longmont its first true access point to the St. Vrain River from a public park or open space.
"I find that exciting. People like to touch the water, play and fish in the water," Longmont Senior Project Manager Steve Ransweiler said. "I think the other areas we've developed along the river just didn't have this type of (access) feature."
City officials in 2001 asked, through a Colorado water court, for the right to designate for recreational use water in the area south of the newly paved Boston Avenue and north of the Harvest Junction shopping center between Main and Martin streets. Conditional approval was granted in 2004.
Boulder-based Recreation Engineering and Planning, which designs whitewater parks across the country, was picked to create the Dickens Farm water course. The in-channel work in the river was completed earlier this year, but work on the surrounding natural area — which will include two wetlands, a novice bike skills park, an art installation along a path off the St. Vrain Greenway and a parking lot — will begin later this year and continue through spring 2019.