“Staff always wondered how the Poudre River fit into our recreational plan but it became clear when we were gathering feedback during our Parks, Recreation & Culture Strategic Planning process,” said Town of Windsor Public Services Director Eric Lucas. “By early 2019, public input showed us that we had an opportunity to provide a riverwalk with river access. It was something that ranked as a high priority for residents. With that information in hand, the idea of the Eastman Park River Experience was born!”
On Friday, May 14, at 4 p.m., the Town of Windsor will celebrate the opening of its newest attraction, the Eastman Park River Experience. Located along the Cache la Poudre River at Eastman Park Drive and 7th Street, the Eastman Park River Experience will be a new outdoor adventure spot with space devoted to gathering and a river-mile devoted to local kayaking, canoeing and tubing. When it opens on May 14, it will prove to be a fun public-access location that, in reality, is the beginning of a far greater master plan.
For the initial phase, Windsor residents are invited to be among the first to float the new attraction during the opening celebration which will be attended by Mayor Paul Rennemeyer, its Town Board, town staff and dignitaries from surrounding areas.
The location features a dedicated float launch and take out area, a scenic river plaza that provides river access for general water enjoyment and picturesque views of the Cache la Poudre River. The space also offers an additional 160 parking spaces.
The new river experience is located adjacent to the existing Eastman Park playground, soccer fields, skate park, and the Poudre River Trail.
With plenty of areas for picnicking, Lucas predicts this area will ease some of the burden placed by the high visitation numbers that impact the town’s Windsor Lake at Boardwalk Park.
Phase 1, a $1.5 million-dollar investment offset by park development fees, was approved in November 2019 and construction began in October of 2020. In addition to the dedicated river-mile, there’s a scenic river overlook that provides picnic and water access and views of the river and Long’s Peak. There’s also a new soft surface trail and the addition of 120 parking spaces and road improvements.
In 2020, Windsor had over 650,000 users on its paved trails, the Poudre River Trail had over 200,000 of those users. “The opening of this first phase will not only benefit the Windsor community but the region by providing additional river access plus it will be a key destination for users of the Poudre River Trail,” said Lucas.
Additionally, he added, “this phase will springboard staff and the Town toward completion of future phases that are already under design.”
While not yet complete, the draft design and subsequent construction of the next two phases include adding trails and outdoor space for classes, a nature playground and there’s the possibility of a future zip line. There are also plans to add more river access on the south bank, subsequent parking improvements, wetland preservation, and creating an extension of the community’s Treasure Island Demonstration Garden. Funding for future phases will likely come from park development fees and other strategic town partnerships.
Not to be outdone by this new town amenity, Windsor’s Parks, Recreation and Culture team are also working on several projects throughout the community.
By the end of the year, staff will work to collect public input that informs the design on several projects including a new park and playground planned for the Harmony Ridge Subdivision, finalizing plans for the Jacoby Farm Park, and a playground replacement scheduled for Windsor Village Park. There will also be the installation of a pedestrian river overpass that completes the connections between the Kyger River Trail which opened in 2020 and the exhibiting Poudre River Trail along Colorado Boulevard.
For more information about Windsor parks and amenities, visit recreationliveshere.com/Parks.