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November 25, 2008 4:10 am

Community helps shape Centennial Park design

Written by Tribune Staff

What currently serves as a barley field eventually will become Centennial Park, possibly housing a miniature golf course, a sledding hill, a rock climbing wall or a skate park — or a combination of those attractions and more.

Powell residents are helping determine what will be offered in the park's 10 acres.

Last week, locals and city officials shared their ideas with the park's design firm, Peaks to Plains Design of Billings, and engineering firm, Inberg-Miller Engineers of Powell.

“Be sure to dream big,” Peaks to Plains landscape architect Jolene Rieck told Powell folks.

Rieck called the field a blank canvas that will be shaped into Centennial Park with locals' ideas.

“The emphasis is that this is a community park, and we want them to have ownership,” Inberg-Miller engineer Grant Sanders said.

Mayor Scott Mangold, who helped coin the park's name and has been working on it for more than a year, said he envisions the park to be the first of its kind in the Cowboy State.

No other town in Wyoming will have a park like Centennial, Mangold said, adding this is another way for Powell to lead the way.

“It will have traditional elements, but also stuff that's nowhere else,” Mangold said.

City Councilman Josh Shorb said the park will help set Powell apart.

“We'll offer things that Cody and Lovell don't have. We can bring people to town — bring people to the Basin,” Shorb said. “We want something new and different and active.”

Mangold said the park, located on the west end of town, will be more active than leisure.

“I want it to be a place where people get off their seats and do something,” he said. “Or laugh at someone else doing something.”

A handful of local skateboarders shared their vision and sketches of a skate park.

“We want a new skate park,” said Chancey Stebner, 17.

The youth agreed that the park would provide a hang-out for teenagers —something they say Powell currently lacks.

“We've lived here all our lives, and there's pretty much nothing to do,” said Ren Utter, 18.

Mangold envisions a park where kids can congregate year-round and during evening hours.

“Parents will know where their kids are,” Mangold said. “Most likely, they'll be at Centennial Park.”

Sanders said he wants to see a park that accommodates all age groups, where small children can play, youth can skateboard and people of various ages can participate in recreational activities, such as Frisbee golf or sledding.

Mangold envisions hills and trails where people can sled during the winter and bike in the summer.

Mangold said he was glad last week's meeting drew skateboarders and BMX bike-riders — residents the city doesn't usually hear from at meetings.

Shae Reel, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for a Ward 1 council seat this fall, helped recruit the teens to the meeting and said he was glad to see more of a community focus in the planning.

“I'm impressed with the direction (the city) has taken with the park,” he said. “I think it's a really good idea, and I hope it's maintained that way through the process.”

An ongoing challenge for the city is funding Centennial Park. The city received a $25,000 grant from the Wyoming Business Council to help pay for planning and design. Mangold said the city is looking at various ways to pay for the park's construction and operating costs.

“There are some grants available through the state,” Mangold said.

Mangold said park construction may occur in pieces as money comes in —beginning with small infrastructure and a few of the recreational activities.

Peaks to Plains will use residents' ideas in a preliminary design and budget, which will be presented to the city in January, Rieck said. Another town hall meeting is slated for February.

Share your ideas

Want to share your ideas for Centennial Park? If you were unable to attend the meeting last week, go online to submit your ideas. From the city's Web site, www.cityofpowell.com, click on Announcements.

Residents can download a questionnaire and submit it via e-mail.