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Dedication set for Niwot Children's Park


September 14, 2016

Photo by Karen Copperberg

The construction fencing was replaced with a new wooden fence, and those that have helped push the cause couldn’t be happier.

Biff Warren, president of the Niwot Cultural Arts Association and one of the organizers for the new park, said that the project has really taken a village to complete.

“We need to thank and recognize literally hundreds of people who have donated to the park in some fashion,” Warren said. “There were kids who sold lemonade and donated proceeds, businesses that hosted events to individuals that gave money. So many people were involved.”

The dedication will be at 1 p.m. on October 2 at Whistle Stop Park, but the celebration starts at 11 a.m. with burgers, brats and drinks.

Then the Niwot Community Semi-Marching Free Grange Band will give a concert at noon. Kids will have an opportunity to conduct the band during the performance.

Warren said that the list of people involved with the park is extensive, but that he wanted to mention some of the names.

Jeff and Cynthia Lambert had the initial idea, he said.

“They really had the vision for the park,” Warren said. “They’ve contributed roughly half of the funds to develop the park. Then there are the many tradesmen who donated time and materials and discounted services and products to help build the park.

“Also we have to recognize the county — who owns the park — for helping to obtain lottery funds to acquire the land, and also for their financial contribution.”

The NCAA and the various committees also helped out.

“It was a challenge in one respect,” Warren said. “But it was extremely rewarding to see people support this project. People from all walks of life — people with young children, or grown children or those that don’t have children that recognize the benefit of the park to the community. It’s for future generations to enjoy.”

He said that the project would’ve easily cost twice as much of what has been spent so far.

“As for people beyond the Lambert family that have been instrumental in making this happen…” Warren said. “They are Tim Wise, he’s the go-to guy in the community. You’ll always find him in the middle of any worthwhile project, donating his time and expertise. We couldn’t have done this without him.”

Warren said that Wise has helped organized people and gotten materials among many other things.

“Then there is Jim Fletemeyer and his crew,” wich includes Chad Fletemeyer and Crystal Wise. Local contactors such as John Jacob, Vern Vinson, Jay Anderson, Dean Ioppola and Josh Morin have donated thousands of dollars in time and materials to this project. They have done so much more for this project than landscape architecture,” Warren said. “Really fine-tuning the design to managing the myriad of contractors it took to get this project done. They made it affordable and made it happen.”

Anne Postle, an architect and board members of the NCAA, stepped in to provide architectural services for the restroom/pavillion area.

“There’s also Riki Frea. She came to us early on in the project and asked if we needed help fundraising. She’s very involved at the school with the Parent Teacher Advisory Council.

“Initially we weren’t thinking big, and she suggested something bigger and jumped in to head those efforts. We have exceeded (our goals). We could not have done that without Riki.”

The group has raised over $500,000, including a $250,000 donation from the Lambert family foundation so someone needed to handle that.

Michelle Henzel is treasurer of the NCAA and has been paying bills and keeping track of expenses for the park.

“She’s really stepped up and been available when we needed her,” Warren said. “She volunteers to do the things that none of us would really be able to do.”

“Dale Terrel took over as the contractors for the pavilion and restroom building,” Warren said. “Sadly the first contractor died before we started the project. Dale took over that part of the project and has given his time.”

Warren said that the diverse group that have been involved speak volumes about the community.

“Those people and many more have been amazing in making this happen,” Warren said. “I think a lot of people don’t realize what goes on behind the scenes, the effort that went into this park.”

He added that not many parks can hold a candle to the quality of the equipment in the new park.

“It’s something that will be easy to maintain for a long time,” Warren said. “We had offers that didn’t fit the park, but Jim put quality structures into the park. You won’t find this in very many other places.”

In all, the dedication will represent a new chapter for children and families in the Niwot area.

“It gives the community something that it never really had,” Warren said. “The park is somewhere for kids to come and play and people to just enjoy. There are aspects of the park that will enhance the ability of people to get out and have a good time.”

“Donations have ranged from a $15 contribution to $50,000 donated by the Wall Family, and have included several memorial contributions.

“We built the rail fencing last weekend with many volunteers, some of whom came at 9 a.m. and stayed stayed unitl it was finished at 7 p.m. That effort saved $5,000.”

Wise spearheaded the weekend project.

“It was one of the best community outpouring of effort that I’ve seen in a long time,” Wise said. “The folks that came out showed up ready to work. At the beginning of the day I think everybody looked at the project and thought there’s no way we could get it done,” Wise said. “But at the end of the day we had coalesced and gelled, and they looked and thought ‘I can’t believe we got all that done.’

Wise said he’s excited about the October event.

“We’re looking forward to the opening ceremony,” Wise said. “We hope everyone comes out to see the great project that we’ve had going on.

“It has been a pleasure to work with the building committee. I’m proud to be a part of the whole effort. The Niwot community has a great new gem of a park to have the kids enjoy.”

“It’s been a long haul, but I’m excited to see it almost to fruition,” Wise said. “It’s going to be a great place in the community.”


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