The Gerald R. Ford Park project was a series of improvements of the many amenities now located in the “upper” and “lower benches” of Vail’s Ford Park. By looking at Ford Park in the same way we look at Central Park in New York, these new amenities and experiences will not only celebrate the Ford Family legacy, but also allow guests to truly visit the park and the gardens. The park itself has become a place to be visited in Vail, rather than a location to pass through to arrive at a specific function within the park.
The first phase of the project included most of the work at the upper bench, comprised of a new concessions building on the east end of the ball fields, a new multi-bay maintenance facility on the west side of the fields – which features a “living roof” that helps blend it with the landscape – a new bus stop and parking area, and a new recycling center, along with connecting paths. While completed during a later phase, the upper bench improvements also included the renovated playfields.
The second and later phases of the Ford Park project primarily included work at the lower bench, and the improvements were in addition to the newly-renovated Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. Added and improved amenities such as the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens Education Center, the open space “Commons” playfield and playground, the new public restrooms, and the many open spaces used for multiple purposes including display and annual art installations by Art in Public Places, acted to “knit together” the upper and lower benches to create a holistic park experience for residents and guests. The Ford Park project also focused on new, improved access from all entry points.