The City of Fort Collins Department of Natural Areas Nature in the City program provided full funding for an application reflecting $25,000 to refresh the community park area in Poudre Valley Mobile Home Park, which will enable the creation of local connections to nature and stewardship within the community by implementing the resident-driven landscape plan.
This park refresh project is high impact because it gives access to nature to the underserved and marginalized population of Latinx individuals and families living in the mobile home community. Currently, residents of PVMHP must drive in a car or walk/cycle along the busy US-287 to access nature at Red Wing Marsh/Greenbriar Park (.9 miles and 20 minutes walking) or the Poudre Trail Network/Soft Gold Park (1.3 miles and 25 minutes walking). The PMVHP Park Refresh, for the first time, ensures that PVMHP residents are within a safe 10-minute walk from nature.
This project implements community-based participatory action to advance health equity in our community. The PVMHP Park Refresh is unique because as part of Bike Fort Collins’ Active Living program, the residents identified their own community needs, and then planned the Park Refresh to meet these needs in a relevant way to users’ and residents’ lives. The PVMHP Park Refresh is the culmination of years of work from stakeholders and partners. This project completely redefines the community’s relationship with outdoor play and nature by cultivating a sense of ownership and neighborhood pride in the PVMHP park as a safe and welcoming hub of activity. The Nature in the City grant is the key piece tying together the resident coalition, park management and ownership support, partnership of local nonprofits, and collaboration with local city and county planners and decision makers.
Converting the PVMHP park into a high quality natural area not only provides habitat for wildlife bus also greatly improves neighborhood livability and quality of life for this underserved and low-income population. By leveraging community partnerships residents have positioned themselves to give an entire community, and an entire generation of youth, the opportunity they’ve never had to connect with nature right outside their front door.
The Landscape Plan
The landscape plan calls for a range of native shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers that provide a habitat for wildlife and people. Boulder gardens and a pollinator garden will be placed throughout the community park, while an area of traditional grass will be maintained on the north side for pick-up football and soccer games, upon request of the neighborhood kids. Picnic tables and benches will be located alongside the gardens in the shade of trees so that families can watch their children on the play structure. A walking path along the south side will allow residents to enjoy the native trees and shrubbery by viewing identification plaques for each plant.
Residents also helped to identify key locations and relevant information to feature on a community kiosk, which includes safety tips, bus and bicycle routes, and locations of existing parks and natural areas. The Larimer County Built Environment Team facilitated a participatory mapping exercises with residents to identify key destinations for the sign. The kiosk was developed in collaboration with students and faculty from Colorado State University Key Communities.
Gaga Ball Pit
A gaga ball pit was included in the park design and will be installed later this month. Enrique, the head of the youth coalition, taught children how to play gaga ball and the game became popular very quickly.