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Open Space unveils possible upgrades at Mount Falcon

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One parking lot, restroom and kiosk eyed for west trailhead

By Corinne Westeman

Jeffco Open Space’s proposed renovations at Mount Falcon’s west trailhead include more centralized amenities around the main parking lot area.

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At an open house Thursday night at the Indian Hills Community Center, Open Space representatives said the trailhead’s current challenges include the lower parking lot, which requires visitors to walk up the road to the trailhead; a kiosk that is not centrally located; an outdated restroom; and excessive after-hours use.

The proposed renovations would include one large parking lot with 70 spaces; a centralized restroom and kiosk; and a closure gate to deter after-hours use. The designs also include a turnaround area in front of the parking lot where drivers could drop off visitors or check on availability of parking.

Open Space planning manager Amy Ito and Lance Henkel, a landscape architect, said the changes are still early in the planning process. However, they said construction could begin in 2017, but an exact timeline is still to be determined.

Ito and Henkel said they were unsure if the west entrance would remain open during construction, or if visitors would have to use the east trailhead exclusively.

Other factors being considered in the plans:

• Addressing parking along the west entrance road.

• The need for mistletoe removal from trees.

• Additional picnicking areas.

• Water and electrical power availability.

Mike Johnson and Leslie Jordan, Indian Hills residents who frequent the park, attended the open house and commented that they “liked the look” of the designs and “didn’t see anything too offensive.”

“I think moving the restrooms closer to the parking lot is a good idea,” Johnson said. “One concern I have, though, is that the renovations will attract more visitors rather than maintain those the park already has. There’s enough traffic — especially bike traffic — on the trails as it is. I bet the new parking lot is going to fill up fast.”

Jordan would prefer that the west trailhead area not “look too urban,” and that it maintain the spirit of the park, which she said is “a haven for wildflowers.”

According to Ito, Open Space will host another open house in the fall, although the exact date has yet to be determined.

The organization is welcoming feedback on the plans, she added. Local residents and park visitors can submit comments on its website, by emailing mountfalcon@jeffco.us, or calling 303-271-5925.