Centennial’s new park on Arapahoe Road scheduled to open this month

Centennial Project Engineer Ben Jenkins stands on the bluff at Centennial Center Park.

Turner Construction Project Engineer Ben Bohmann stands on the bluff at Centennial Center Park.

It won’t be long before kids are bounding from the Colorado Statehood Climbing Wall to swing on the ropes and slip down the slide at the new Centennial Center Park.

And if they’re not careful, they might learn something while they’re at it!

The unique Colorado-themed park is scheduled to open later this month. This may surprise passers-by because looking at the park from Arapahoe Road, the view is primarily an unfinished field that will later be seeded with native grasses.  

But the best part of the park is on the other side of the bluff where colors, structures, slides, hills and boulders invite kids to come play.

“We are very excited to see the Centennial Center Park become a reality. This one-of-a-kind park is a great addition to our community and will be a destination for many to enjoy. I know my grandchildren are going to love visiting this park, and hopefully their children as well,” said Centennial Mayor Cathy Noon.

The park, located at 13133 East Arapahoe Road, is the City of Centennial’s single largest public improvement project and is justifiably generating a lot of excitement.

The total cost for acquisition of land and development up to this point is $8,464,130, said Allison Wittern, Public Information & Special Events Manager. A variety of funding sources helped pay for the park, including Arapahoe County Open Space funds, a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, and money provided by the Colorado Open Space Conservation Trust Fund.

Turner Construction was the general contractor on the site, with the Engineering Division of Centennial’s Community Development Department overseeing the project.

“Absolutely everything you see in the park has something to do with Colorado,” said Laura Prendergast, project manager for Turner Construction. It includes a grassy amphitheater with a platform for performers, a water play area, a core playground area, a plaza and sheltered picnic areas, including a coffee shelter.

Trivia boulders are scattered throughout the park with pictures sandblasted onto them with facts about Colorado. For example, there is one with artwork and information about the state butterfly, the Colorado hairstreak.

Kids have three climbing walls to play on, the Butte Wall, the Statehood Wall, and a climbing structure that’s part of the coffee shelter. The coffee shelter is a covered area with benches and tables where caregivers can watch over children on the playground. During special events, the city plans to light the outdoor fireplace that’s located in the shelter.

The Butte Wall is sprinkled with rocks representing the state mineral, which is rhodochrosite. And if you look closely, an aqua marine, the state gemstone, is also on the wall.

Prendergast said one of the most challenging aspects of building the park was the proper sequencing of each project within the park. “For example, we had to make sure construction equipment had access to certain areas of the park before other areas were closed off and complete,” she said.

All those involved were excited about working on a project that will create positive experiences for children.

“It’s rewarding to work on something that will affect people’s lives in different ways,” said Centennial Project Engineer Ben Jenkins. “I look forward to it opening for the kids…it’s just begging to be touched.”

Trivia Boulders are scattered throughout the park.

Trivia Boulders are scattered throughout the park.

When you go:

  • Pay attention to the sculpture you walk under when entering the park. The bird artwork casts different shadows on the ground depending on the time of day.
  • Fossils are embedded in the concrete, watch where you step!
  • Look at the ground in the park’s plaza, it’s a giant representation of the Cherry Creek watershed.
  • Peek through the hole in the giant boulder north of the Cutthroat Wall for a perfect view of the cutthroat.
  • You can’t miss the circular “nodes” located throughout the park that are packed with Colorado history.
  • View map to the park.
  • Centennial Center Park construction timeline.
  • Park documents and rendering.

Learning opportunities, integrated with opportunities for play, abound at the new park.

Learning opportunities, integrated with opportunities for play, abound at the new park.

Don't miss this sneak peak at Cutthroat Wall!

Don't miss this sneak peek at Cutthroat Wall!

A boulder for climbing sits at the corner of the coffee shelter.

A boulder for climbing sits at the corner of the coffee shelter.

Artwork over the formal entrance to the park casts shadows of birds on the ground.

Artwork over the formal entrance to the park casts shadows of birds on the ground.

The play area has equipment kids of all ages can enjoy.

The play area has equipment kids of all ages can enjoy.

8 Responses to “Centennial’s new park on Arapahoe Road scheduled to open this month”

  1. Mandy Summers
    May 25, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    Amazing park!! My 14 month old loved it! So much for even him to do and learn and explore! Hats off to those involved in putting it all together, what a great treat for those of all ages! Even though it’s a little drive, it’s worth it for us!

  2. marla
    March 31, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Can’t wait to hear what is in store for the amphitheater,

  3. marla
    March 31, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    Truly an incredible park. I love Colorado!

  4. Sara K
    March 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    Went to the park today and it was AMAZING! So many places to play, the kids (ages 2 and 13) were still discovering new areas after 2 hours. Really looking forward to the water play.

    The only downside is the lack of shade. Only one table close to the play areas had coverage and that’s where 5 of us adults huddled. There are a lot of trees but it’ll be a few years until they’re big enough to provide relief from the rays.

  5. Pammie Literski
    November 15, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    I am so jealous we don’t have anything like that in our area!! WOW!! Thank you to the people how have the foresight and initiative to go ahead with a magnificant project like that!!

  6. Robert Fox
    November 15, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    Looks great. I wonder if dogs are allowed?

    • Gary Wilson
      November 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

      Gary Wilson, Open Space Manager

      Yes, dogs are allowed in the park provided they are on a leash.

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