Construction set to begin on Red Rock pavilion
Users of Red Rock Canyon Open Space will gain an amenity later this year with the construction of an open-air pavilion alongside the main trail into the park's
Colorado Springs Parks has just selected a contractor for the project - Charlie Paterson Construction, located in Old Colorado City. He plans to start work in about two weeks, Paterson said in an interview.
The work will involve tearing down two old buildings (a house and garage/ bomb shelter), then erecting the pavilion on part of the house's former footprint with the help of wood beams and sandstone to be salvaged from the garage.
Because the buildings are on opposite sides of the Red Rock Canyon Trail and equipment will be passing back and forth between them, safety concerns may require closing the trail at times during the three-month-plus project (though not during evenings or weekends), Paterson said. People could still detour into the park interior by using alternative trails. Details will be released as soon as a plan is finalized, he added.
The location is near a lake about an eighth of a mile from the nearest Red Rock parking lot (accessible from Highway 24 and Ridge Road). A few hundred feet past the lake, the trail leads to popular rock-climbing areas along canyon walls on either side.
The total project cost is $359,000, funded with Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) funds - except for $100,000 that was raised by the volunteer Friends of Red Rock Canyon during a donation campaign last year.
The pavilion will have only a back wall - the former hand-laid stone fireplace wall that formed the house's living room - and the only real roof will be over a few hundred square feet nearest the lake, explained Chris Lieber, development manager for City Parks. The city goal is to give park users a low-impact shelter that fits in with the Red Rock setting.
Interpretive signage will go in at a later date.
"We're delighted to get started," Lieber said. "This represents a lot of hard work by the Friends group, and it's nice to see that come to fruition."
Paterson, a regular Red Rock user and former president of the area Trails and Open Space Coalition, looks forward to getting started on the project. "We worked real hard at being frugal on the pricing for our bid," he said. "I was eager to get it."
The pavilion will include several seating walls, both inside and outside. The sandstone back-wall look will be continued on the pillars and the other "faces," or sides, of the pavilion, Lieber said.
The pavilion will not have electricity, water or other services. No utilities of any kind exist in the open space's interior. The nearest restrooms, yet to be built, will be at the family picnic-area parking lot downhill from the pavilion.
The buildings to be removed are the last two built by the Bock family, which had owned the 788.1-acre property for about 60 years before selling the property to the city in 2003.
Described as the "Bock Compound," the area near the lake - also created by the Bocks - was once a cluster of construction. In addition to the house and garage, built in 1960s, the compound once also included an old block structure, pole barns and a swimming pool. All those have since been demolished, along with two houses where Bock family members lived on the property. This was in keeping with City Parks judgments that the land should be kept open space as much as possible and that the buildings had no compelling historical or functional value.
City decisions took longer on the house and bomb shelter, with the final bomb shelter demolition decision not being made until last spring. In 2004, the city had a caretaker living in the house while a study was done on the feasibility of renovating it and possibly renting it out.
In 2005, City Parks decided to demolish the house and erect a pavilion. The cost at that time was estimated at about $125,000, which was described as only half as expensive as renovating it. In an interview this week, Lieber addressed questions as to why the current project is so much more expensive. One point he made is that the scope of the project is larger. Previous estimates had not factored in the cost of tearing down the garage as well (about $90,000 of the contract with Paterson). Another factor is that construction costs have increased drastically in the past couple of years. And, he noted that earlier estimates had been based on general, not precise knowledge of demolition and salvage problems that might be encountered (for instance, the mortar securing the sandstone to the garage has since been found to be harder than the sandstone itself). "As we've progressed through detailed construction drawings, we've gotten a better understanding of the conditions out there," Lieber said.
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