About 125 invited guests gathered for the Aug. 25 official River Run Recreational Project opening, while perhaps proof of the project's success was the fact that there were dozens of children on the playground and dozens of enthusiasts surfing the …
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About 125 invited guests gathered for the Aug. 25 official River Run Recreational Project opening, while perhaps proof of the project's success was the fact that there were dozens of children on the playground and dozens of enthusiasts surfing the South Platte River.
The river amenities that made surfing possible drew a lot of attention. Garrett Dinnel came from Arvada to test his stand-up paddleboard in the whitewater created by one of the two chutes in the area.
“This is just great and this kind of facility is long overdue,” he said as he waited his turn to go back into the whitewater. “This new facility is the latest amenity that is making the southwest area the place to go for fun adventure activities.”
The Aug. 25 event culminated three years and a huge number of worker hours with the official opening ceremonies for River Run, the recreational facility located just north of Oxford Avenue along the banks and in the water of the South Platte River.
“This is an amazing project,” said Dave Lee, Englewood open space manager. “It turned out even better than I expected. It has so many features I expect it will be very popular.”
Nancy Doty, Arapahoe County commissioner, said during the River Run opening ceremonies the project is an example of great unified cooperation.
She said the project became a reality through the efforts of the South Platte River Working Group. The group membership is made up of individuals representing Englewood, Sheridan, Littleton, Arapahoe County, South Suburban Parks and Recreation District, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Urban Drainage and Flood Control District and the Army Corps of Engineers.
The group's proposals are aimed at creating more recreational opportunities along the seven miles of the South Platte River that run through Englewood, Littleton and Sheridan. River Run is the first major project undertaken and includes a playground, pavilion, trailhead and restrooms set along the eastern bank of the river. Crews have transformed and beautified both banks of the river, and paved trails provide ADA access to the banks of the river, where the chutes create whitewater for tubers, boaters and surfers.
Grants from Arapahoe County Open Space fund as well as money Englewood received from the open space fund and from lottery funds provided the roughly $800,000 needed to construct the trailhead.
Another trailhead amenity was funded recently when Great Outdoors Colorado approved Sheridan's grant request for $350,000 to construct and equip the playground adjacent to the river.
Bev Bradshaw, former Englewood mayor and member of the South Platte group, said the project was very beautiful.
“It is a great project and a great amenity for the area,” she said. “We want to continue work on other projects along the Platte.”
Other river amenity projects are planned or under construction. For example, South Suburban Parks and Recreation District applied for a Great Outdoors Colorado grant to construct a walking and running trail along the east bank of the river from Union to Oxford avenues. The estimated cost of the east-side trail is about $3.3 million.
There are plans for bank enhancements along much of the seven-mile stretch as well as creation of a whitewater tubing and boating channel between West Union and West Oxford avenues. Smaller trailheads are planned at Union and Belleview avenues.
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