WSR teams up with vendors, Valerian and local youth on park project Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Wednesday, October 26, 2022 04:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Denver’s St. Charles Park gets revamped

In business 39 years, Western States Recla­mation, Inc., (WSR), Frederick, has contin­ued to grow and diversify. “To this day, we are a family- and employee-owned company staying true to our values of always deliver­ing what was promised to our customers and building incredible natural environments,” says Adam Bappe, business development and project manager.

“WSR got to be a part of a unique project that benefited a great neighborhood,” states project manager, Joe Schneider. And the com­pany received the 2021 Gold ELITE Award for Commercial Landscape Construction.

Reimagining a north Denver neighborhood park

In a north Denver neighborhood, St. Charles Recreation Center serves as a refuge for neighborhood youth. With new development coming, in 2017 a partnership was created with community members to reimagine the park and make it a shared space for all members of the community. Valerian Landscape Architecture helped bring the vision together with a youth group that formed—St. Charles Ambassadors —to ensure direct community representation through the design process.

This third phase, culminating in 2021, of a multi-year project, constructed by West­ern States Reclamation, includes three nature playgrounds, swings, climbers, log borders and boulder walls, decorative gateways with light­ing, new plantings, trails, a new recreation cen­ter entrance and more.

 Vision comes to fruition

“One of the great things about this proj­ect was a lot of materials were donated to the park by generous venders making this project a unique and positive experience,” states Schneider. “The custom wood play features were the most unique elements of the project.”

“The history and life of the project were unique. It was great to have a team—owners, designers, and vendors—who had a strong connection to the project because of commu­nity involvement,” Bappe recounts. “The de­sign intent of the youth ambassadors was often a topic during project walk-throughs and when in-field decisions were being made. The team wanted to make sure the park was built to re­flect the community’s vision.”

Overcoming challenges

Like with any large project, comes its chal­lenges. Bappe tells Colorado Green, “Coordination and staging of trades, including playground in­stall, boulder placement, earth work and sequenc­ing stormwater, in a compact site were a challenge throughout the project. A small in-house crew was always kept on site and then single trades, including playground install, boulder place­ment, and earthwork, were moved in and out without too much overlap. The duration of the project gave the team the ability to spread trades out, so the site did not become too crowded.”

Sustainable solutions

A huge benefit of this project was its sustain­able outcomes. Several sustainable solutions were used on the site including the transplant of two existing mature red bud trees, protection of other mature trees, reduction of overall turf area and the use of water saving irrigation equipment.

“Other benefits included a conversion of turf areas into perennial landscape beds which help to reduce water and bring additional pol­linators,” adds Schneider.

This ELITE Award-winning project creat­ed a safe environment for people to exercise and socialize. With the park’s completion, the youth ambassadors have taken the envi­sioning and leadership skills, they developed and work with youth in other neighbor­hoods, teaching them to become ambassadors in their own communities. This article appeared in the Sept/Oct issue of Colorado Green.


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