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Sandstone Ranch Park - 2525 & 3001 E. Ken Pratt Blvd.

 

Morse Coffin house at Sandstone RanchMorse Coffin, a St. Vrain Valley pioneer, first homesteaded the Sandstone Ranch site in 1860. Coffin came to the St. Vrain Valley when he was 22 in 1859, from Boon's County, Illinois as part of the Gold Rush. He built the house that currently stands on the site in the early 1880s. The house has been added to over the years, but the original structure still remains. Coffin also founded the first rural public school with David Irwin and Robert Hauck. The house (current Visitors Center) and property are on State and National Historic Registers. Longmont also designated the house as a local landmark in September 2000.

The location of Sandstone Ranch Park is appealing and unique. To get to Sandstone Ranch from Longmont, go east on Ken Pratt Blvd. / Highway 119 past the intersection of Weld County Rd 1. The ballpark facilities are located on the south side of the road 1/2 mile east of WCR 1, and the sports field complex and District Park are located on the south side of the road 1 mile east of WCR 1.

The property was purchased over 6 years from Frank and Andrea Bigelow for $3.75 million beginning in 1998. Funding for the acquisition came from the City of Longmont Park Improvement Fund, Water Fund and the Conservation Trust Fund. In addition, a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant of $400,000 was awarded to the City for the purchase of open space areas within Sandstone Ranch.

Sandstone Ranch Park is situated on 313 acres of land abundant in natural, cultural, and historic resources. Looking out from the top of the sandstone bluffs over the St. Vrain valley offers a real sense of history as well as a feel for what homesteading must have been like for the people who first settled here. Sandstone Ranch is both a community park and a district park/ nature preserve.

The Sandstone Ranch design was completed by Winston Associates, a Boulder Landscape Architectural firm, with the Master Plan initiated in 1998. The plan includes the extension of the regional St. Vrain Greenway trail to this site with connectors eventually going to Union Reservoir and heading east along the St. Vrain River to St. Vrain State Park. In addition, Sandstone Ranch complements the Longmont Area Comprehensive Plan by promoting natural "buffers" around the City and preserving a scenic entry corridor into the City of Longmont.

The previously cultivated areas east and west of Spring Gulch and near Ken Pratt Blvd. encompass the 125 acre community park. Ballfields are found on the west side of Spring Gulch (more ballfields are planned south of the existing area for future development), with multi-use fields, group picnic facilities, children's themed play area and skate park on the east side. The 188 acre District Park is centered around the historic homestead, now a Visitors Center. Walking trails with interpretive signs, an overlook atop the sandstone bluffs and restored historic buildings are found along the southern portion of the property straddling the St. Vrain River. Currently areas south of the river are not open to the public.

Time-line of the park development

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