Grand Lake is a town of under 1000 year round-residents nestled at the western gateway of Rocky Mountain National Park and the headwaters of the Colorado River. The lake for which the town is named has made this western themed town a popular destination for thousands of tourists each summer. Sailing, boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking are all favorable activities for locals and tourists alike. An assortment of shops, restaurants, and saloons along the town’s main street and waterfront also draw summer crowds.
In 2017, the CCCD began work investigating the possibility of rerouting car traffic from a one-way road that follows the shoreline to enhance the safety of this busy waterfront park while also boosting recreational and economic opportunities. Over the course of two years, the project team participated in four community meetings, two community events where progress was exhibited for feedback, and conducted a survey to identify the challenges and opportunities of improving the Grand Lake shoreline.
Creating a better sense of connection to the lakefront and making the park a draw for visitors was a main goal throughout design development. Proposals included improvements to existing open spaces, such as adding lawn to what is now a gravel parking lot, extending a boardwalk for enhanced connectivity and opportunities for summertime vendors, opening up more beach space for the public and replacing a retaining wall on the water’s edge with steps. Survey results brought to light a resounding desire for more places to eat and drink on the shore, and so concepts for a cafe (designed in resemblance to the nearby Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout) as well as a rooftop restaurant on the Lake’s marina were included in the project. Entertainment opportunities were considered through conceptual siting and renderings of stages and amphitheaters in the park and floating on the water.
Field Supervisor: Jeff Wood
CCCD Team: Juan Perez Argueta, Krista Flynt, Gregory Allen Davidson, Ivy Steele, Aalok Bhattarai, Brittany Duncan, Alexa Geller, Brittany Wheeler, Kelsey Blaho, Erin Wooden
Local Collaborators: Jim White, Former Town Manager; Nathaniel Shull, Town Planner