Planned attraction would be San Juan County’s first all-abilities park
FARMINGTON — Progress on Farmington’s first all-abilities park is set to kick into high gear over the next few months, beginning with a meeting designed to solicit public input on the attraction to be held next week.
The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 11 at 6 p.m. at the Farmington Civic Center, 200 W. Arrington St. It will include city officials and representatives from MRWM Landscape Architects, the Albuquerque-based firm that has been hired by the city council to design the park under a $160,000 contract.
During a 10-15 minute presentation that will kick off the meeting, MRWM officials will present some concepts for the park, then listen to members of the public respond to those concepts and offer ideas for what they would like to see, depending on Christa Chapman, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist for the City of Farmington.
The park’s design is expected to be completed in August, Chapman said.
The design ideas that will be proposed during the meeting will be posted on a dedicated project website at fmtn.org/1149/All-Abilities-Park, where residents can leave comments. Chapman said MRWM staff members will also conduct community surveys to solicit feedback.
The park will be located on a 7.65 acre site that once served as the home of Tibbetts Middle School. It runs along East Apache Street between North Dustin Avenue and North Dustin Avenue.
Farmington Municipal School District school board members voted in August 2021 to turn over the property to the City of Farmington. The idea of an all-abilities park has been discussed in Farmington since at least 2018.
A city press release describes the park as the first fully inclusive, accessible, and adaptive playground in San Juan County. It states that the park may include features such as accessible play equipment, walking path and loop path, play/activity areas with perimeter fencing and special paving, sensory play areas, visually impaired areas, therapy elements, outdoor musical instruments, adapted swings or a wheelchair. swings, sports areas, shade structures and sanitary facilities with changing rooms.
The city received a $300,000 National Recreation and Park Association Resilient Park Access Grant to cover the cost of construction design documents. On the park’s website, city officials put the total cost of the project at $10 million.
Farmington officials looked at all-capability parks in other cities to develop ideas for what such an attraction here should include, she said, including a park in Rio Rancho and one in Round Rock, in Texas. She said ideas about how these attractions are built have changed significantly over time as developers learn more about how best to incorporate various elements into public spaces.
“We know some parts of the community are really excited about this,” she said, referring to the fact that public support for such a project in Farmington has been strong. “But it should be a park for everyone.”
Anyone interested in donating money for the project can do so by calling Marilyn Montoya of the Tibbetts All Ability Park Foundation at 505-330-4811 or emailing [email protected]