Grand entrance: Winter Park board accepts design for gateway to Hideaway Park |

Grand entrance: Winter Park board accepts design for gateway to Hideaway Park

by Stephanie Miller
Sky-Hi Daily News
Courtesy photo

Winter Park town council members were awestruck Tuesday when lead artist Andy Dufford of Chevo Studios presented a model for Hideaway Park’s main entrance.

“These are the biggest pillars I have ever found,” Dufford said, displaying at the town workshop a photo of the two, roughly 17-foot sandstone pillars he plans to erect at the park’s main entryway. The two pillars, which are naturally jagged and swirled, will stand on one side of the entrance across from another shorter pillar, he explained.

Dufford, who specializes in designing community spaces, then presented the grand finale: The three pillars will be topped with a metal archway shaped into a tremendous antler.

“I’m sold,” said Town Council Member Jim Lahrman. Others nodded their heads, and praised Dufford’s creativity. The entrance, it seemed, exceeded expectations.

Hideaway Park is about to receive an extensive makeover. The project’s first phase, at a cost of $1.2 million, has been completed, according to representatives of Design Concepts, the architectural firm hired for the park. The entire project is earmarked for $2.8 million.

Tuesday’s workshop was a brainstorming session about color schemes and special features, such as the park’s natural boulder park, which will feature large river boulders for climbing and play. The boulders are currently priced at $11,000 and would be transported from southern Colorado.

While some council members seemed uneasy about spending thousands on boulders, others embraced the idea of a natural playground. Dufford pointed out the play boulders are very popular.

“Rocks in the park give children and adults the chance to connect with millions of years of geologic history, and the everyday fun of nature’s imagination,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Town Council members suggested, however, that Dufford look in Winter Park’s back yard for boulders instead of having them transported from the Front Range, which could reduce the $11,000 price tag. Dufford also talked of the park’s fire pit, currently priced at $25,000, which would be circled by large, natural river boulders with features that allow for comfortable seating, he said.

As more detailing gets under way this winter, Town Engineer Chuck Swanson said the town plans to have the amphitheater portion of the park ready by the first music festival, which would be around the first of July. The concert area should all be grassed, the irrigation system put in, and the stage area completed, he added. The concrete work on top of the wall ” dubbed “the plaza” ” should also be finished.

The rest of the park, Swanson admitted, “will be pretty dug up.”

“Our intent is, it’ll look like it’s under construction but people can get in and out,” he said. “We want to work around events but also get things done on time.”

The town will keep the current playground open as much as possible during the summer, Swanson added, as well as the restrooms. But at some point, the restrooms will be torn down to make way for a new one. A more detailed schedule will be available as the winter gets under way.

The entire park project is planned for completion in the fall of 2009.

“We have the winter and early spring to really plan things out. So when we work on the ground again, we can get a tight schedule worked out and really get after it,” Swanson said.

-To reach Stephanie Miller, call (970) 887-3334, ext. 19601 or e-mail

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