La Junta has always been a park friendly town. By the turn of the last century La Junta already had four parks. The number of parks in La Junta has grown to nine since then. Perhaps the crown jewel of parks in La Junta is the City Park.
The La Junta City Park
City Park which was founded in 1905, was one of the original four parks. At the time of its establishment it created quite a controversy though. The site of what would become the City Park originally had a shallow arroyo that ran through it. City Fathers thought this would be ideal for the creation of a small lake - there was one problem though - it was way to far from town being about 1/2 mile south of downtown La Junta. There were some that didn't want to spend money on a park located outside of town. Aren't we glad they did spend the money for it? In the last one hundred years the town of La Junta has grown around the park.
Today City Park, located at 12th Street & Colorado, is a gathering place for the community; a popular place to bring the kids, have a picnic, fish in the lake, and enjoy the athletic facilities.
There is quite a bit of history attached to La Junta's City Park. The colorful stone walls and small cabins were built by the WPA out of local sandstone during the depression years. The stone cabins were used by the La Junta Boy Scouts for many years before the Kiva was built. They were used for campouts and Koshare gatherings. In 1951 the Boy Scouts donated a replica of the Statue of Liberty for the park.
You would expect to find tennis courts, a place to play volleyball or soccer in a city park, and the La Junta City Park has them all. But the La Junta City Park is unique in that it also has a world class skate board course - something you wouldn't expect to find in a small town community park.
Sunday Afternoon in La Junta City Park
Residents of La Junta have always enjoyed their parks as this post card from the early twentieth century shows. The old Park School can be seen in the background.
Potter Park is another interesting La Junta park. It was donated to the city in the early 1930s by Hezekial W. Potter, an early settler whose family is an integral part of the La Junta story. In its early days the La Junta Fourth-of-July fireworks displays were held here. The Koshare Dancers sometimes performed here before the Kiva was build in 1949. The Kids Rodeos were held at Potter Park for many years until nearby residents complained of the dust, odors, and noise and forced the rodeo to move.
The La Junta Little League calls Potter Park home. Today there are two baseball fields with spectator bleachers and lights for night games. In recent years the La Junta Music at the Junction event is held here.
La Junta Swimming Pool
When the Kids Rodeo was forced to move from Potter Park in the 1950s the La Junta outdoor swimming pool was built in the northeast section of the park. Over the years improvements have been made with children's wading pool complete with mushroom fountain and the ever popular Wipeout water slide. On any day of the summer this is the cool place to be in La Junta.
Athletics and Sports
Organized sports are an important part of the community of La Junta and there is most always a sports event or game to catch. Some of the organized sports events include:
The New Tiger Field
In November 2008 La Junta residents passed a bond issue approving the construction of the New Tiger Field. Construction began at the La Junta High School in Spring 2009 and when completed will feature a standard football field that also accommodates soccer, an eight-lane all weather track, and ADA compliant modern facilities. The New Tiger Field will be used by the La Junta High School, Otero Junior College, and the community of La Junta.
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