Stephens Park Renovation

A renovation of the Stephens Park children’s play area, located in the Intermountain neighborhood, is planned for 2019.


Project Update

The Concept Plan for the play area renovation will be presented to the Vail Town Council on Tuesday, June 4 during the Afternoon Council Session. Staff will request approval of the Concept Plan, with a further request to move forward towards final design, construction documents and the bid process. The presentation time will be posted on the Friday before the meeting, and can be found here.

The improvements are intended to enhance play value, update worn-out play components (slides, climbers, etc) and ensure the play area meets current ADA and playground safety standards.  Work has begun to design an updated play area, and town staff is asking for input from park and play area users.

Vail has a tradition of building unique, innovative, custom-designed play areas for residents and guests. An artist is typically included on the design team, and artistic components are included as play elements, site features and even as the play structures, such as the popular “ship” at Pirateship Park. For Stephens Park, the artist Ben Roth has been hired by the Art in Public Places board to assist with site design and artistic elements. Ben has previously worked with the Town of Vail on such projects as the 2010 “Singing Trees” in Ford Park and the wire mesh “Bugling Elk” mount located in the Lionshead Welcome Center.


Stephens Park Concept Plan

The existing wooden play structures at Stephens Park are generally in good condition. The design concept envisions reusing some sections of the structures and redesigning the deck layout to improve accessibility and play value. In addition, some parts scheduled for removal, such as the wooden timbers will be reused in the redesigned structures.

As for integrating art into the design, the design team is working with the natural setting of Stephens Park, connected with the ongoing Town of Vail goal of improving stream health and riparian habitat along Gore Creek. The result? An oversized landscape for children that helps raise awareness of how “cool” the stream-side habitat can be. Concept highlights include a giant-sized spruce stump/climbing feature, king-sized plant materials, renovated wooden play structures and numerous new play components. A Conceptual Site Plan drawing and Art Concept and Equipment Ideas can be reviewed using the links below.


Design Considerations

There are several important criteria that designers use when developing new play areas. A few include:

  1. Budget - $300,000 for the Stephens Park renovation
  2. Playground Safety Guidelines – the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) set stringent standards to ensure safe play areas. Trained town staff work to provide fun, challenging and innovative play environments that meet safety standards and guidelines.
  3. ADA – The Americans with Disabilities Act requires play environments to be inclusive of users with diverse needs.
  4. Conservation – designers will look for opportunities to reuse existing site elements, structures and components where feasible.


Stephens Park Schedule & Process

Dec 2018: Initial discussion with Vail Town Council regarding project goals
Feb 2019: Art in Public Places artist selection initiation
Mar 2019: AIPP unanimously selects Ben Roth as the project artist to work with town staff
Ongoing: Design development, public input
June 4, 2019: Concept Plan presentation to Vail Town Council
June-August: Final Design/Construction documents/bid process
Late Aug-Nov: Construction
Spring 2020 Project completion

Public Input

Town staff is seeking feedback on the concept and on some individual play elements. Please review the links below for site photos, concept plans and equipment ideas. If you would like to stay informed on the project, town staff encourages you to do the following:

  • Check back to this website ( throughout the process for updated drawings and schedule
  • Email and ask to be added to the project contact list. Staff will send you an email when new content is added to this web page.

And, if you have questions or would like to offer input and feedback, here’s how:


Gregg Barrie
Sr. Landscape Architect
Phone: 970-479-2337





Contact Info

Gregg Barrie
Sr. Landscape Architect

Admin Building:
Public Works Admin Bldg
1309 Elkhorn Drive
Vail, Colorado 81657