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Victor, Colorado Reclaiming the Heart of a Mountain Community

In the mid 1800’s, the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush in Colorado signaled the first major push into the Rocky Mountains to chase the dream of striking it rich. Victor became the City of Gold Mines, a working town that supplied homes for the regional miners and to this day, is a well-preserved celebration of turn-of-the-century architecture and a community of resolute citizens who cherish their place in the historic and cultural landscape.

Brian's Park Founders

In the eighties, Brian "Glide" Hayes, became a new resident of Victor, Colorado. New to Victor, but not to ice hockey, this Minnesota native began freezing water and playing ice hockey with his son. Everybody knows each other in Victor and quickly became inspired by the new activity in town. At first, they were curious and not long after that, involved.

For decades, they gathered at a naturally created frozen hollow that would become the heart of the community’s activity. Much more of the community took to ice skating and team ice hockey, even community members who don’t strap on skates still love to cook food, maintain the ice, and enjoy the friendships of their close knit town.

“You should have seen this place …some old benches, rotting dasher boards. It was a little dangerous with pucks flying willy nilly into the stands. But man we loved it.”- Brian Hayes
Brian Hayes, the man behind the hockey in Victor, Colorado

In 2013, Victor worked with DHM to write and win a generous grant from Great Outdoors Colorado that began the transformation from a hodgepodge of benches and fences into a durable mountain-made facility. At 10,000 feet in elevation, it is the only open air, groomed, ice rink in southern Teller County. Through informal and formal outreach, our team studied the community interests and adapted them into the final rink design.

“We asked DHM to help us with the master plan and taking us through the GoCo process for getting funding. They made it possible.”

The new rink includes natural wood dasher boards and a shade screen system. In the summer, the rink doubles as a soccer field with removable goals built into the ends of the rink. Safety mesh was added above the boards to protect the spectators at the new stone seating and activity area near the warming hut. The rink was designed with materials that match the rustic character of this resilient mining town.

Brian’s Park is the best thing these kids have going for them in the winter time and possibly all year. It really brings the community together and gives a sense of community, belonging, and a sense of ownership.” - Community Member Quoted in Our Colorado News, Teller County.

Brian’s Park embodies one of DHM Design’s core values: to fit our work within the larger context of environment and culture. It is a shining example of a community-driven effort that stays true to its nature and celebrates its place in the world. The firm started working with the Town in 2011, to help them create an overall Parks and Recreation Master Plan to prioritize improvements on the already fantastic system of parks and trails. We have continued to work with them to implement each project through the years and are amazed at their tenacity to fulfill their own vision.

“I understand Victor. I think they like working with me because I come from a small town and bring a level of trust to the work. There are limited resources and you have to listen to what the people living there want. I don’t try to tell them what they need. I try to help them achieve their vision.” - Walker Christensen, DHM Design Principal

"In a way, listening to the people is a good way to understand the space. They have already done the research for you."

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