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​Parks & Open Space Master Plan

The parks and open space master plan is used for citywide and regional parks, trails and open space planning. As part of the master planning process, projects are identified and prioritized for recommendation to city council. On August 13, 2013, city council adopted Thornton's 2012 Parks and Open Space Master Plan as a supplement to the 2012 Thornton Comprehensive Plan.  This most recent version includes the Heritage Trail Concept Plan.

One of the major themes of the parks and open space master plan, since its inception in 1997, has been the "string of pearls" concept.  The vision puts forth an integrated system of parks, trails, recreation facilities and open space that will:

  • Provide recreational and cultural opportunities for all residents,   
  • Be equitably distributed, to the extent possible, throughout the community,   
  • Connect neighborhoods, parks, schools, recreation facilities and business districts,   
  • Preserve the heritage and quality of life in Thornton, and   
  • Enhance and build upon Thornton's environmental assets, and enhance the community's identity.

The city updates the master plan every three years, in accordance with the requirements of the 1997 ballot measure passed by voters that increased the city's sales and use tax rate, to fund acquisition of land and construction of trails and facilities for parks and open space purposes.

Parks and Open Space Master Plan Update

The Thornton Parks and Open Space Master Plan (Plan) establishes goals, objectives, recommendations and implementation strategies for the planning and development of new parks, recreation facilities/programs, trails, and open space in the city of Thornton.  It serves as a detailed supplement to the Thornton Comprehensive Plan, and as such, it responds to the goals and policies related to parks, recreation, trail and open space stated in that plan.  The Plan also serves as a guide for continued improvements and expansion resulting in a high quality, citywide system of parks, recreation facilities/programs, trails and open space that will meet the needs of Thornton citizens now and in the future.

The city of Thornton is in the process of updating our existing 2012 Parks and Open Space Master Plan.  The Plan will go through a minor update for data completed between 2013-2015.  We are updating our existing conditions and inventory of new parks, trails, open space or facilities added to the system, reviewing future needs and opportunities, adding homeowner association recreational amenities that benefit Thornton citizens, and updating our Parks, Open Space and Trail Users Map. 

The second of two public meetings was held on August 24, 2016 at the Margaret W. Carpenter Recreation Center located at 11151 Colorado Blvd. to summarize input received and take comments on the Plan updates.  The Parks and Open Space Advisory Commission reviewed the Plan updates at their quarterly meeting on October 25.  The Plan updates are scheduled for review with City Council at the May 16, 2017 Planning Session.  If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Diane Van Fossen, Capital Projects and Planning Manager, at or call 303-255-7831.

 Please note: Some documents on this page are in .pdf format and require the user to have a PDF Reader installed on their computer in order to read them, Download Free Adobe Reader.