This spring, kids in Southeast Aurora have had a new place to play — the Centennial Center Park.
Although children have already been enjoying the park, the official ribbon-cutting for the Colorado-themed park is scheduled for 4 p.m. on April 27. The Centennial Youth Commission will dedicate a time capsule. Tours of the park will be offered after the ribbon-cutting.
This may surprise passers-by because if you see the park from Arapahoe Road, the view is primarily an unfinished field that will later be seeded with native grasses.
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.”
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.