Van Tuyl residents highlight elements
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Shade trees, benches and amenities for dogs are part of a new vision proposed for the Van Tuyl subdivision in north Gunnison.

Following a series of public outreach meetings and input from residents, plans for pocket parks within the subdivision are in planning stages. 

Interim Gunnison Parks and Recreation Director Dan Vollendorf presented some of the ideas to City Council earlier this week, detailing how the three parcels of land on the property will be transformed into cozy, welcoming parks. 

The residents of the subdivision were invited to three public outreach meetings held at the Gunnison Recreation Center throughout the end of last year. Each meeting helped to define what elements would be present in each of the parcels, he said. 

A questionnaire was then sent out last December to all residents in Van Tuyl, asking them to contribute their thoughts on the plans. 

“We discovered we have a very active subdivision out in Van Tuyl,” said City Manager Russ Forrest of the participation from residents. 

From each of the outreach attempts, officials recognized how the parcels will begin to take shape as building progresses. 

The first, and smallest, parcel — which is located on the southeast corner of Van Tuyl — will feature elements such as manicured grass lawns and designated areas for native grasses and shade trees. 

The second park, located on the northwest corners of Van Tuyl Circle, will utilize its size to the amenities’ advantage. The parcel is the largest of the three, so it will feature the most elements such as a “natural” play area and the refurbishing of an existing bike trail on the land. 

The last parcel on the southwest corner of Van Tuyl Circle will see a significant facelift to its existing amenities, such as the small pond and bridge. The pond floods the property often, so residents expressed a need to better address water mitigation. The bridge will also be replaced.

All locations will feature prioritized elements such as trees, benches and dog stations.

Vollendorf explained to council that the building process of each of the parks will be a “phased” approach. 

The first phase has been identified as general cleanup efforts such as weed mitigation, establishing the dog stations and trimming trees. Vollendorf shared with council plans to designate a community work day to begin some of the trail work assistance and cleanup efforts. 

An estimated budget of $120,000 has been placed solely on the second park, with the others still being determined. 

According to Vollendorf, all other funds toward the pocket parks in 2020 will be coming out of the Parks department budget. He added that they would be able to use some funds from the Conservation Trust Fund they utilize for landscaping improvements. Gunnison Parks and Recreation hopes to seek out more funding opportunities in 2021 and 2022. 

There is currently no set timeline for when the parks will be completed, however, Vollendorf hopes to have a better idea this spring. He added that if other current projects — such as the Lazy K development on the city’s west side — were to receive funding, the larger projects would take higher priority. 

(Roberta Marquette can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or at