One of the great things about the Winter Park lifestyle is all the outdoor and recreational opportunities at our fingertips. You can jump on a bike and in minutes be deep in your own woodsy experience. You can you can hike to the top of the divide and enjoy the majesty of the Rockies or soar high above the Valley floor in a hot air balloon for a sunrise perspective that is quite humbling. Your list of favs may be much different depending on the season, but one thing is for sure, when it comes to resort communities, few places on earth can compete with what we have right out our backdoor.
Over the years, communities of Grand County have invested in their infrastructure, weighing community needs with a mindful eye on the budget. This week’s ribbon cutting on the New Stage in Hideaway Park will mark years of planning and work in the Winter Park Community that started with considerable foresight. In fact, the vision began taking shape more than two decades ago.
Celebrate as the Town of Winter Park unveils the brand new Hideaway Park Stage! Enjoy a FREE live concert with Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Thursday June 22, 2017. It is going to be a celebratory kickoff to the summer season.
Building on an already successful world class community takes visionary leaders who can work through the challenges of a small town budgets and politics to accomplish projects that will stand the test of time. Mayor of Winter Park, Jimmy Larhman said, “The completion of the new stage is super exciting for the community. Hideaway Park has become a centerpiece for activity, events and celebration. A place where families can picnic or sled, a community can host great events or you can just sit and watch the sunset.”
He added, the council made some bold decisions and pieced together a plan that could provide a work in progress approach, adding components logically and thoughtfully, as it played out over time.
“The park didn’t just happen overnight.”
One of the challenges of small towns with big ideas is that you need to have measured growth to be able to add the pieces to build a strong, vibrant town.
“I am proud of the work we did through the economic adversities we faced.” said Larhman.
The Hideaway Park of today has realized most of the dreams of early council members:; playgrounds, a skate park, sledding, picnic areas, and now a new permanent stage.
“The park brings a synergy to the downtown corridor that a world class resort town needs to compete in a 21st century vacation marketplace,” Lahrman said.
More than two decades ago, the Winter Park Town Council laid out a vision for the wooded parcel in the center of town. They had a vision to build a cultural centerpiece that would have a vibe and heartbeat of its own, they wanted something to enhance the downtown district year-round.
“We want to continue to build a diverse community so anybody can come and make a life here and really enjoy the lifestyle that is Winter Park,” Mayor Larhman said. “As a government entity, we believe it is our job to utilize our resources to add the public infrastructure to support the lifestyle.”
Winter Park is positioned for the next wave of growth.
“We have big ideas but, you can’t get it all done at once,” Lahman said. The new transportation system, affordable housing, broadband investments are all very exciting to see but, “We have more work to do”.
For many years, Winter Park desired a permanent stage that would accommodate the existing uses of the summer concert and event series while allowing future programs to grow and that could be used year-round. In 2014, the Town contracted with Semple Brown, one of the most recognized and respected performing arts design firms in the Mountain West, to design a stage that fulfills that desire. Semple Brown’s ultimate and striking design, which features a 2,600 square foot handicapped accessible stage, will replace the Park’s demountable structure used since 2008 for summer festivals and a variety of events programming. Designed to reflect the modern identity and character of one of Colorado’s favorite mountain communities, the eye-catching stage will evoke the natural imagery of the snow sports and mountain terrain that surround the Town of Winter Park and Fraser Valley.
“This was such a special project for our design team as we all love Colorado’s mountain communities and understand their significance to our state,” said Tom Gallagher, AIA, principal of Semple Brown Design. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Town of Winter Park, and to have created a design inspired by their long-term vision for their community and Hideaway Park.”
The stage, a concrete and stone structure, rises from a solid, earth-bound base. A large, dynamic canopy emulating “first tracks,” drifts and moguls — consisting of white painted steel, a white membrane roof and wood slat ceiling — floats over the stage as it gently twists and curves skyward over the stage and structures below. The front of the stage cascades down into the seating bowl to lessen the impact of its sightline required height and provide seating areas facing back into the bowl to activate the stage during the non-festival uses. Because the bowl will be used as a sledding hill during the winter, the front stage seat-steps will provide a place for observers to watch the action and as they enjoy a panoramic view of the ski mountain and Continental Divide to the south.
A fully heated and cooled Green Room building opens onto a backstage plaza, which looks out on Vasquez Creek through oversized operable glass walls. The uniquely shaped structure includes 835 square feet of assembly space, a kitchen, two restrooms, make-up area and mechanical room. Backstage loading and side stage monitor-mixing structures frame the main stage serving as stone-clad anchors for the stage and soaring, undulating roof. A 12-space paved parking area and backstage loading complete the Park’s master plan.
“This iconic stage design will truly be the capstone of Hideaway Park,” said Mayor Lahrman. “Working with the creative design team of Semple Brown and the experienced construction firm of Big Valley has allowed us to significantly enhance the experience for our guests as well as provide another year-round amenity for the local community.”
Winter Park is fast becoming a four-season resort town and the vacation experience of today needs to have full, well rounded experiential depth and something for everyone.
“We are strong because we have something for everyone,” Lahrman said. Along with our neighbors, we can celebrate all that we have as a community and a county. “Other resorts just can’t compete.”
From world class skiing and mountain biking, to our Community Rec Center in Fraser, to Devil’s Thumb Ranch and the YMCA, to our golf courses, beautiful lakes, national park and whitewater rafting opportunities, “we have have it all.” And now a permanent stage that will play host to endless community events.