El Paso County Park staff highlighted the support provided by the 2019 Partners in the Park at the Park Advisory Board meeting on Jan. 8.
The Partners in the Park program was created in 2009 to provide financial support for a respective County park, trail or nature center. This program has brought in $212,000, which is used exclusively for El Paso County Parks; to preserve open space, sustain park amenities and to ensure ongoing sustainability for a specific park. All donations are tax-deductible.
2019 Partners in the Park:
- Heuberger Motors Subaru (Alex Gauthier) for Bear Creek and Fox Run Dog Parks
- GE Johnson Construction (Stella Hodgkins) for Bear Creek Regional Park
- Robert & Ellen Hostetler for Fox Run Regional Park
- FedEx (Matt Hane) for Black Forest Regional Park
- Gold Hill Mesa (Stephanie Edwards) for Bear Creek Nature Center
- Olson Plumbing & Heating (Mike Trapp) for Fountain Creek Nature Center
- Tender Care Veterinary Center (John Amen) for Falcon Dog Park
Heuberger Motors Subaru has been a Partner in the Park for eight years and supports both of the County’s dog parks.
Kyle Melvin, Lead Parks District Supervisor, said, “Their sponsorship has allowed us to complete the new fence around Bear Creek Dog Park. We’ve added 4,000 feet of fence over the last two years. And that project was completed this week. That was a major accomplishment for the dog park.”
Nathan Robinson, North District Supervisor, said, “At the Fox Run Dog Park, Partner funds were used to fix the parking lot entrance. Heavy rains eroded a 30-inch deep rut that prevented vehicles from entering.”
With some of those funds, road base was purchased to fill the and repair the entrance. “We are in the process of creating new embankments and possibly looking at alternate entrances, so we don’t have future problems with the erosion control,” Robinson said.
Heuberger also sponsored the Bear Creek Nature Centers’ Happy Trails fundraiser in 2019, which earned $11,000.
G.E. Johnson has also been a Partner in the Park for eight years and supports Bear Creek Regional Park.
Melvin said, “This year, with their support, we completed improvements at the park administration building and the Veterans Memorial. We supported an Eagle Scout project in Bear Creek Terrace. For all three of those projects we added shrubs, perennials, mulch, and improved the irrigation.”
Melvin said, “We had a great year. We could not do it without their support. We are truly grateful for all of them.”
Robert & Ellen Hostetler were the very first Partners in the Park and have been supporting Fox Run Regional Park for eleven years.
“The Hostetlers are great,” Robinson said. “What we were focusing on are a lot of smaller projects in Fox Run Regional Park. We’ve fixed picnic areas and painted pavilions. We got a lot of rain this last year and we lost a lot of trail. We’ve been using a lot of that trail base to fix stuff.”
FedEx has been a Partner in the Park for six years and supports Black Forest Regional Park.
Robinson said, “We’ve had a ton of work done in there, a whole new trail system. We’ve had a lot of great programs with volunteers and Wildland Fire Crews. Some of the funding was used in supporting those programs.”
Robinson said he’s worked with 33 Eagle Scouts in the North District and has been able to use the Partner funds to help support their projects.
Gold Hill Mesa has been a Partner in the Park for five years and supports the Bear Creek Nature Center.
“In 2019 we were able to use Gold Hill Mesa Partner funds in collaboration with a private memorial donation to purchase a Microeye video discovery microscope,” said Mary Jo Lewis, Nature Center Supervisor. “This is high-power microscope that is extremely accessible and user friendly. This had been an incredible wow factor since we got it. Extremely engaging for our program participants and visitors. It brings out the child in everybody.”
Gold Hill Mesa has also supported the annual Bear Creek Bear Run.
“In 2019 we partnered with Gold Hill Mesa for the second year for a fall harvest festival at Gold Hill Mesa’s community center. The event raised $6,700 for the nature center,” said Lewis. “What we’ve been able to do throughout the years with this partnership has been wonderful.”
Olson Plumbing and Heating have been Partners in the Park for two years and supports the Fountain Creek Nature Center.
“Their funds were used for something identical, we got one of the Microeye video discovery microscopes, said Todd Marts, Recreation and Cultural Services Division Manager. “Exhibits are an important part of the nature center experience. We want them to learn something. We want them to not break it. One thing we learned over the years is that microscopes are fragile. I can tell you, this one really works. It’s fascinating to watch. This is just one example of making sure the exhibit room is engaging.”
“Thank you to Olson Plumbing and Heating for giving us the opportunity to replace what we had and to make something very usable for kids and adults for years to come,” Marts said.
Tender Care Veterinary Center is the newest Partner in the Park and supports the Falcon Dog Park.
“Without Tender Veterinary’s support, we would not have been able to put in the shade structure in the park,” said Adam Baker, East District Supervisor. “They’ve been great partners and have attended several of our events, including the grand opening of the park.”
“I’m really impressed with all the assistance these partners provide to us in the different districts and venues,”
said Bob Falcone, chair of the Park Advisory Board. “What they do is invaluable.”
El Paso County Parks is currently looking for additional partners. If you or your company would be interested in lending your support to ongoing operations and maintenance of a favorite park, trail or nature center or just want to learn more about the Partners in the Park program, please contact Dana Nordstrom, at (719) 520-6983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partners in the Park benefits include signage at the park entrance, partners names on the County Parks website, usage of a pavilion and formal recognition by the Parks Advisory Board.