Improvements to the Garden of the Gods are on the horizon after the park received a hefty donation earlier in September, a city news release announced Wednesday.
The Garden of the Gods Foundation, a local nonprofit that oversees the betterment of the park by collecting money and distributing it to support the park’s needs, gave $367,826 to enhance public safety, visitor experience and restroom construction.
“This is such a great example of community organizations working together toward a common goal, which in this case, is enhancing and protecting Garden of the Gods Park for the enjoyment of generations to come,” Karen Palus, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services director, said in the release.
A chunk of the donation, $102,000, will go toward the park ranger program such as staff salaries, John Stark, the parks manager said.
Park rangers are key to protecting the park and its environmental philosophy, Stark said, as well as providing educational programming and services for visitors.
Another portion of the donation will go toward restroom construction within the park, Stark said, although more fundraising is needed before construction can begin.
A bulk of funding came from the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center, including money generated from the park gift shop and café, Stark said.
The visitors center was shut down from mid-March through May because of the coronavirus pandemic, but reopened to the public in June.
Despite the temporary closure, the nonprofit was still able to give back.
“We’re really fortunate to have the relationships with the Garden of the Gods Foundation,” Stark said. “They’re just such wonderful partners for the city.”