How the Park Came to Be in 1994
Before the park was constructed, the North Ranch hired a consultant to survey our residents to see what type of park they wanted. The consensus was, we wanted a neighborhood park with limited athletic facilities that could be used by children and parents to practice or have "pick-up" games. Playground equipment, walking trails and a picnic area were also ranked high i n the survey. Our residents were very clear that they did not want a large parking lot, restroom facilities, lights or multiple athletic fields since these improvements would invite intensive use of the park resulting in problems with traffic, parking, trash and noise. Intensive use was not in keeping with the neighborhood park concept and it was felt that our neighborhood would be negatively impacted. The board submitted a ballot to our residents (copy i s attached) and based on the statements made in the ballot, the residents approved the park by a small margin.
Since the park ground was owned by the Jeffco School District (JCPS), a development plan was initiated involving various governmental entities. This plan and subsequent agreements stated that:
- JCPS would lease the land to the Ken Caryl Ranch Metropolitan Di strict (KCRMD), under an agreement where KCR M D would supervise the construct ion of and provide ongoing management of the park.
- Jefferson County Open Space would contribute funds to help develop the park under the condition that the park would be available for use by all Jefferson County residents.
- The North Ranch would contribute funds to develop the park. The totals contributed were Open Space $175,000, the North Ranch $113,000 and the KCRMD $14,378.
- The North Ranch would sign an agreement with KCRMD stating that the KCRMD would not schedule any organized sports events at the park so that the park would be available on a first come first served basis. Also, the agreement said that KCRMD would have no responsibility to monitor or manage the activity use in the park.
Responding to complaints from our residents about illegal parking the use of the athletic field for organized practices, games and confrontations between our residents and soccer teams, the North Ranch board launched an effort to explore ways to keep the park’s activity level consistent with the neighborhood park concept, not only today, but in the future.
Over the years a number of meetings have been conducted to address the issue and recently, the North Ranch board and two representative members of the KCRMD met to see if a mutually agreeable plan could be developed. Also attending the meeting was Pete Dougherty, representing JCPS.
During the first week in December, 2005, JCPS had asked the KCRMD and the North Ranch to present a proposal to JCPS that would resolve the issues that led to the complaints. Being frustrated by the lack of enforcement capability and with no franchise to control the activity at the park, the North Ranch presented a proposal to JCPS in December of 2005. The proposal had been approved by a 4 to 1 vote of the North Ranch board. Our board proposed that the KCRMD be allowed to schedule a limited amount of practices at the park in exchange for a modification of the park landscaping. This modification would reduce the size of the soccer field so that the field could be used for skills training and practice but not for full scale games. It is important to note that should this proposal or any other proposal concerning park use be given consideration by the involved parties, the North Ranch board is obligated to conduct a resident vote on the proposal at two consecutive quarterly board meetings. No change can be implemented without resident approval.
At the joint meeting, Pat Lynch and Ruth Sundberg, the KCRMD representatives, said that the North Ranch proposal had been reviewed by the KCRMD board and they rejected it. Additionally, Ruth and Pat said that the KCRMD was not interested in discussing any modification of the North Ranch proposal. The KCRMD did not present any proposal for discussion.
The North Ranch board, Pat Lynch and Ruth Sundberg did agree that in calendar year 2005, park usage seemed to be at an acceptable level. Conflicts were minimal and there didn't seem to be much organized sports activity. These parties also agreed that in 2004, there was an unacceptable level of activity. In 2004, there were numerous conflicts including a soccer camp, full scale game with uniformed officials and a striped field, as well as conflicts with residents living near the park.
The North Ranch board, KCRMD representatives and Pete Dougherty, all agreed that if we return to the unacceptable activity level of 2004, this probably will again be addressed and the parties will try to develop a long term solution.
At the end of the meeting, Ruth Sundberg expressed her personal opinion that in a scenario where two or three children were playing on the field, she felt that it would be appropriate for a sports team to tell the children to relinquish the field so that the sports team could use it. The majority of the North Ranch board is against this idea. Our board feels that the rights of the children using the field should supersede the rights of sports teams to use the field. This would be consistent with the neighborhood park concept and the Jefferson County Open Space policy that the park is available on a first come- first served basis.
At the present time, no changes in the control or use of the park are anticipated·. Your board will continue to monitor park activity and should it return to an unacceptable level , the board will make its best effort to correct the problem.