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Olathe incorporates pocket park into Main Street revitalization

Olathe incorporates pocket park into Main Street revitalization

This article was originally published in The Montrose Daily Press. Region 10 has received permission to republish this article on our own website. 

Pocket Park will be a Main Street design, activity feature

By Carole Ann McKelvey
Montrose Daily Press News Editor

The rendering of a planned improvement in a small park on Olathe’s Main Street was designed by CU students.

The rendering of a planned improvement in a small park on Olathe’s Main Street was designed by CU students.

A Region 10 grant of Colorado Department of Local Affairs money may not have seemed like a big deal to them, but to Olathe, it is funding a huge improvement in the community.

Monique English, administrative assistant for Olathe, wrote the grant for $5,000 and with a 100% match from the town, it is funding an upgrade on the small park on Main Street, the city hopes to turn into a centerpiece for downtown.

The grant comes on the heels of a $1,200 grant received last year that helped fund a renovation downtown.

As part of beautification efforts the city has organized a “Beautify Olathe Committee.”

The efforts thus far have included new planters and trashcans. Business owners and citizens have been invited to participate by adopting planters, planting and maintaining them, with the city providing watering.

Now in it’s third year, the program has caught on, English said, “and many people have adopted planters and kept them up over time. The program is very popular.”

Monique English, Olathe administrative assistant, stands in the small park on Main Street that will be rehabilitated and upgraded with a DOLA grant.

Monique English, Olathe administrative assistant, stands in the small park on Main Street that will be rehabilitated and upgraded with a DOLA grant.

A much larger grant from Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance funds totaled $318,000 and paid for a project that upgraded the main street’s gutters, roadway and storm sewers. It was concluded with repaving in 2015.

English said the little park that now exists near downtown is too small and very dark. The plans call for opening up the space, adding an information kiosk, new benches and other amenities to enhance the space.

It is hoped in the future to have bands play there for street dancing, to have small festivals and farmers market events in the space.

The city’s traditional pine Christmas tree is at the edge of the space and will remain, she said.

The park plans were drafted by students at the Colorado Center for Community Development at the University of Colorado. Student landscape architects submitted three designs from which the current one was picked, she said.