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A Park for the People: Restoring Shadow Lake in Monument Valley Park

20 March 2024


Recently Matrix partnered with the City of Colorado Springs’ PCRS Department to help develop Master Planning and Landscape Architecture design services for the historical Shadow Lake in Monument Valley Park located near downtown Colorado Springs.

Originally gifted to the city in 1907 by General William Jackson Palmer, Monument Valley Park was envisioned as a “park for the people”—an oasis teeming with gardens, walkways, landscaping, ponds, and playgrounds. It extends for nearly two miles along Monument Creek, just west of downtown Colorado Springs. However, a devastating flood in 1935 left Shadow Lake in disrepair, robbing the landscape of its former glory. Our objective for the project was to return Shadow Lake to its initial, water-filled state to reinstate a desired amenity that has been missing for decades.

Our design intent was to mimic the natural 18th-century English gardens to create a picturesque setting. Working hand in hand with the Parks Staff and a historical architecture expert, we meticulously evaluated, designed, and reconstructed the iconic natural stone walls found throughout the park. Through our innovative techniques and careful coordination, we brought these historic structures back to life, seamlessly blending modern materials with the park's timeless aesthetic.

With a keen eye for detail, we added accessible sidewalks, a scenic overlook with views of downtown Colorado Springs, landscape planting beds, shade trees, and inviting seating areas, ensuring that visitors could fully immerse themselves in the park's tranquil ambiance. State-of-the-art sub-surface aeration and treatment systems were also implemented to combat algae growth, preserving the pristine waters of Shadow Lake for generations to come.

In the summer of 2023, after months of planning and construction, the newly enhanced Shadow Lake reopened to the public. With a construction budget of $1.3 million, this revitalized sanctuary quickly reclaimed its status as a cherished destination within Monument Valley Park.