Centennial Park | Tour Colorado's History
Centennial Park is a 14-acre linear park located in the heart of Rifle between the Park Avenue and Railroad Avenue residential neighborhoods. It connects the historic downtown on the south with the county fairgrounds on the north. It features a "walk through time" along Rifle Creek with interpretive areas that tell the city's story over the past century.
This community park highlights the city's rich history, natural environment, and cultural diversity, and brings people together along Rifle Creek. It provides open space and passive recreation opportunities for residents, as well as safe pedestrian connections over the creek to Rifle Middle School, an existing trail system, other city parks, and downtown. It serves the entire community by providing a space for larger gatherings, community events, and festivals.
Challenges of designing the park, located in a flood plain, included designing features to accommodate occasional flood waters and seasonal high flows from the creek and to allow for efficient maintenance and clean-up.
A historic timeline follows the existing trail, including a wayside for each decade of Rifle's history from the early 1900s. The waysides offer seating, shade, and interpretive signs that explain the city's history and provide a perspective of events then current in the world. The trail weaves together elements such as a fitness course, a sprayground, stage, amphitheater, wetlands, themed play area, tot lot, a pond, picnic areas, shelters, and restrooms. A large central green, the Great Bowl, provides space for community events and informal games like Frisbee. New municipal infrastructure includes six pedestrian bridges, parking lots, an irrigation pump station, and a dam on Rifle Creek. Environmental education components include outdoor classrooms and opportunities to teach the community about stream health, hydrology, native vegetation, and wildlife. Gateways to the park are located at 3rd Street, 5th Street, and Railroad Avenue.
Engineering News Record, Mountain States