Windsor resident Melanie Holzner doesn’t need to look at community statistics and funding mechanisms to understand the town puts a special emphasis on parks and recreation. She can just watch her two daughters, who are barely old enough to scramble through the maze that is Boardwalk Park’s jungle gym.
As they played, Victoria and Katarina, 1 and 2 years old, respectively, laughed and crawl through one of the tunnels. A giggle flowed as Victoria fell on the cushioned platform. Holzner wasn’t concerned though. This was just another day in the park.
“It’s such an awesome experience,” Holzer said on a beautiful mid-week afternoon. Holzner and her daughters come to the area’s sprawling outdoor hangout almost every day, depending on the weather. “What makes it so nice is that it’s so clean, so safe and so comfortable. I think we’re all really happy.”
Dozens of other Windsor families may get a lot closer to this kind of experience as construction on two new neighborhood parks wraps up this week in the Bison Ridge and Brunner Farm communities. A third park in the Poudre Heights subdivision is expected to open later this month, bringing Windsor’s park count to 14, according to Melissa Chew, the director of parks, recreation and culture.
That number balloons when you include four natural areas and open spaces and additional project down the line. The emphasis fits with Windsor’s overall goal of putting outdoor recreation within reach for residents in all the town’s growing subdivisions and communities.
“I just think that we do an incredible job for the size of community that we are,” Chew said. “It just enhances the overall quality of life.”
Part of the reason Windsor puts such focus on park development, Chew said, is the town’s master plan, which dictates how the town should grow. Touching on everything from industrial planning to park access, the guiding document has always made parks a priority and will continue to long into the future.
“That helps us ensure Windsor is a well-developed and is a smart-planned overall town,” she said.
Community parks are financed through the park improvement fund, which is based on building permit fees. Thus, with more community development, which has exploded in recent years, there is more money available for financing parks.
“I think that parks and recreation really add to people’s quality of life, whether it’s physical activity or a gathering place,” Chew said. “There’s all types of benefits.”
Additional park developments in the works for 2013 include Northern Lights Park in Peakview Estates, which has already been budgeted and is pending final approval from the Windsor Town Board later this month. Developments in the Fossil Ridge subdivision, along 15th Street north of the railroad tracks and in the Windshire subdivision also are on the shortlist, pending funding and grant approvals.
While on an afternoon excursion to one of Windsor’s parks, longtime Windsor resident Wilma Swanson said having so many neighborhood parks gives families in sometimes stagnate subdivisions a chance to get out of the smaller and confined yards — something her neighbor and friend Carrie Kingery agreed with.
“It gets people outside,” she said, while watching her 3-year-old son Mason roll down a grassy hill. “Neighborhood parks bring a nice atmosphere, and they’re just good for families.”