A big-fish story in Basalt that’s all true | News


Basalt has landed a big fish, a really big fish.

An interactive rainbow trout sculpture-play feature will be the focal point of a $600,000 upgrade to the playground at the popular Arbaney Park.

“To the top of the fin on the fish’s back it is 9 feet, 2 inches,” Basalt Town Planner Michelle Thibeault said in an email. “The mouth is about 4 feet tall. The length of the fish is about 29 feet long.”

The innards of the fish include a climbing rope with discs, a climbing net and a climbing wall with grips. On the tail end is a slide. Kids can crawl out of the mouth. The blue-colored surface looks like a stream the fish is swimming through.

“All areas of the fish are intended for play — top to bottom,” Thibeault said.

The fish is located on a poured-in-place rubberlike surface that allows wheels to roll up to the structure. It is not only going to be a Basalt-centric design but also create an accessible playground in Basalt, according to Thibeault.

The Roaring Fork River was the inspiration for the park’s redesign.

“This is so cool. The fish is just phenomenal,” said Basalt Mayor Bill Kane on Tuesday when the council approved the contract for the project. “The kids are going to go nuts.”

The upgrade has been in the works for years, but the town government had its sights set on first completing the Basalt River Park along the Roaring Fork. That signature park was completed this summer. The $600,000 for Arbaney Park was in the 2023 budget. The town put out a request for proposals and received five. Town officials selected the plan proposed by Summit Recreation of Grand Junction.


The rainbow trout sculpture-play structure will be the focus of the $600,000 overhaul of Arbaney Park.

The plan features separated play areas for kids 2 through 5 years of age and 6 through 12, with a “universal carousal” — a modernist take on a round, flat merry-go-round — in between. Equipment includes bowls that kids can plop into and spin; fish on a spring to ride; a play hut; swing set; stilts, podiums and balance beams to crawl on; and unusual-looking waterlily posts to hop along.

The equipment and design are from the company Kompan, which touts a process of creating a wow factor, a stay factor and a develop factor. The wow factor makes the playground enticing to kids. “You feel the urge to get on the site and start playing or exercising with our inventions,” the company material says. A new way of playing with just enough challenge stimulates the stay factor. The equipment helps develop motor skills, balance and coordination along with overall fitness.

The rainbow trout sculpture alone costs $206,770. The playground surface will cover 2,164 square feet. The total cost of the revamped playground is about $480,000 with the purchase and installation of the equipment and creation of the surface. The remaining money in the budget will be used to renovate bathrooms at the park.

The Basalt Public Works Department will remove the old equipment in spring 2024. Summit Recreation will install the new equipment by June.

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