Public Spaces Update


A New Experience for Adams Families: Pelican Ponds


Adams County Commissioner Eva Henry, along with the Adams County Board of Commissioners, staff, and community members, recently celebrated the grand opening of Pelican Ponds Open Space. The open space is a restored, 200 acre property located along the west bank of the South Platte River Trail between 88th Avenue and 96th Avenue in Thornton. The property was a former sand and gravel mining site that posed issues for flooding and trail debris.


“One of our goals is to improve access to parks and open space in Adams County,” said Commissioner Eva Henry. “We worked with several partners to restore the property, maintain connectivity along the South Platte River Trail, and create a space that runners, riders and nature enthusiasts can all enjoy.”


Improvements at Pelican Ponds include:

  • Recreational amenities including picnic shelters, fishing pier and improved shoreline access, overlooks, trails, a restroom, and a parking lot.

  • Ecological restoration, such as planting and seeding of native vegetation on more than 20 acres of the property.

  • A Secondary channel to improve habitat and increase flood conveyance while reducing flooding of the South Pond.

  • A planned nature play area that should be constructed by early 2020.  


The project was a collaboration between a variety of partners and stakeholders, including State of Colorado Natural Resource Trustees; Adams County Parks, Open Space & Cultural Arts Department; Urban Drainage & Flood Control District; Colorado Division of Parks & Wildlife; and Metro Wastewater Reclamation District.


Adams County open space initiatives are funded through an Open Space Sales Tax, which was approved by voters in 1999.  The sales tax is 25 cents on every $100 purchase, and is authorized through 2026. Proceeds benefit parks, recreation and open space projects countywide and are distributed through a competitive grant program, distribution back to the jurisdiction the tax was generated from, and administrative costs. Over 38 million dollars was allocated from 2016-2018, and there are several major projects in the works. More information can be found here:


“Creating open spaces like Pelican Ponds enhances the quality of life for Adams County residents by providing opportunities for recreation and education,” said Commissioner Henry. “Having a robust network of parks, trails and open spaces allows us to enjoy and preserve our natural resources for present and future generations.”