27-Acre Open Space

In 2010, the Parker Jordan Metropolitan District acquired 27 acres of property east of the South Creek Subdivision and on the west side of Cherry Creek within the Parker Jordan Centennial Open Space.

The goals of this design are to preserve and enhance Open Space in Arapahoe County, work with the community to develop additional connections to the Cherry Creek Valley, create a buffer between the subdivision and the sensitive riparian corridor, restore the native vegetation, and provide an opportunity for environmental education and interpretation.

Currently, the 27-acre parcel is non-vegetated disturbed soil.  A restoration plan, will allow the site to return to native vegetation and prevent erosion.  Visitor to the Parker Jordan Open Space and the residents of the area will benefit from this design due to the increased connectivity to the local parks and historic areas.  Native vegetation will also help to decrease weed and pressure on the adjacent newly constructed riparian community.

The District held two community meetings in the summer of 2012 regarding potential uses for the 27 acre open space tract. There was not a consensus as to what improvements should be constructed or whether the tract should remain as public open space. As a result, the board TABLED any further action until the end of the year. The board will again discuss the status and decide on next steps during the winter 2012-13.  About 10 interested citizens signed up to assist in developing a survey of all district residents regarding future uses for the property. This effort is also on HOLD at this time.

At the April 16, 2013 Board meeting, the Board decided to release a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for design of a “Tom Sawyer’s Playground” (like the one at Disneyland) themed play area for the southeastern portion of the site where rolling hills and some trees presently exist. At the May 14 Board meeting the Board reviewed two proposals and selected the Natural Playgrounds Company (NPC) of Concord, New Hampshire to meet with the Board and further discuss their experience and qualifications.

The Board held a special meeting on May 31, 2013. Mr. Ron King, President, NPC, met with the board and toured the site with them. The Board decided to move forward with a design contract with NPC for the project. NPC has extensive experience with “natural” playgrounds that maximize the use of the existing terrain and minimize the use of traditional playground equipment. Their research has shown that kids gravitate to natural play areas and open space instead of traditional playground equipment.

Please visit their website at for further information on their experience and design philosophy.

At the June 18, 2013 Board meeting, the Board TABLED consideration of the contract with the Natural Playgrounds Company. They decided to meet with a local landscape design firm and request a sketch of what the potential improvements to the open space might be.

At the July 16, 2013 Board meeting, the Board decided to hire Consilium Design to prepare a preliminary concept sketch of possible improvements. After review and discussion at the August and September board meetings, the Board decided to plan improvements to the natural drainage/irrigation ditches in the open space and restore the native grasses. Consilium recommended an engineer and ecologist be retained to assist in this effort. This will be further discussed at the October 15 Board meeting.

At the October 15, 2013 Board meeting, the Board decided to hire Western States Reclamation to review the work done to date on the restoration of the 27 acres and advise the Board as to whether it would be best to continue current restoration efforts or modify and/or expand them. The Board will decide prior to June, 2014 (the expiration of the 27 acre planning grant received from Arapahoe County) whether to continue with the planning efforts or stop and return the unspent funds to the County.

At the June 17, 2014 Board meeting, the Board decided that the 27 acre open space should remain native and not include any active projects or construction. The Board decided to return the remaining approximately $30,000 of planning grant funds to Arapahoe County Open Spaces and cancel the grant immediately. The board will continue to focus on eradicating the noxious weeds in the 27 acres and restoring the area to its native condition as much as possible over the next few years.

2012 Planning Grant Application Form

  Board President Norman Sheldon, District resident Kevin Pettaway, Director Clint Waldron, Ron King, President, Natural Playground Company and Don Leyn, District resident and former Board member tour the 27 acre open space at the May 31, 2013 Special Board meeting.  
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