Sandstone Ranch Park - 2525
& 3001 E. Ken Pratt Blvd.
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. / Hwy 119 past the intersection of Weld Cty 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.
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
- Phase 1 included 25 acres of land west of Spring Gulch and was opened to
the public May 2001. The Phase 1 project improvements were constructed by MBI Corp. and included the 4-plex ball
field complex, playground, concession/ picnic area and parking in the Community Park.
- Phase 2 included 53 acres of land east of Spring Gulch in the Community Park and improvements to the District Park. This phase was constructed by GTC, Inc. and
opened to the public in 2004. Work included multi-use sports fields with two of those fields featuring lights
for evening play, concessions / picnic area, playground and parking. District Park improvements included
a trail-head parking lot with restroom, soft-surfaced trails, overlook with bench, and interpretive signs. The historic
homestead complex was improved with outbuilding structures stabilized and restored.
A substantial private donation from the Roger and Roberta Jones Foundation,
as well as grants from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and the Colorado Historic
Society assisted Colorado Lottery funds in the District Park portion of
the Phase 2 project.
- Phase 3 included 23 acres of Community Park development on the east side of Spring Gulch. Work was completed by Goodland Construction and opened to the public in June 2006. Improvements included an in-ground skate-park (designed by Site Design Group, Inc, and constructed by California Skate-parks, Inc), a custom children's adventure playground (designed by Play Environments and Design Concepts),
group picnic shelter with adjacent playground and volleyball, parking and
- Phase 4 - The master plan calls for additional ballfields
south of the Phase 1 ballfield complex. This phase is currently unfunded.
- Gravel Mining - The City has leased the portion of Sandstone Ranch south of the St. Vrain River to
Aggregate Industries, Inc. for gravel mining. Mining now includes other City open space properties along the St. Vrain river. Reclamation
now underway for portions of the mine site along the planned St. Vrain Greenway trail corridor. Royalties of an estimated one-million dollars from this lease
helped pay for the acquisition of Sandstone Ranch.
- Gas Mining – Top
Operating has been permitted by the State for their gas drilling of Sandstone
Ranch south of the Visitors Center and at the southeast end of the park.
The City did not buy these mineral rights with the property. Well drilling was done in November 2005 with reclamation still planned.
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