Palisade Parks and Recreation is ringing in 2015 with all sorts of new things: new programs, new rates, new projects, even new faces. Many citizens may have had the pleasure of meeting Tristan Hiraishi last year; he was our first intern in the Recreation Intern Program, which was cultivated with Colorado Mesa University Sports Management Program. Tristan managed the open gym, Back to School Beach Party, helped with other programs and events, was diligent in marketing, and assisted with park maintenance. Given the size of Palisade Recreation and the rapid growth of the programs in the last three and a half years, Palisade Recreation sought the help of Dr. Bell, professor and chair of the Sports Management department at CMU. After being invited to be a guest speaker in some of the sports management classes, Sarah Brooks asked Dr. Bell to help recruit interns for Palisade Recreation. Dr. Bell went above and beyond, he did do more than recruit, he handpicked Tristan, and Palisade truly reaped in the benefits of having a young mind ready to lean and gain experience.

During the 2015 budget process, the Town of Palisade saw the benefits of having a dedicated intern such as Tristan, and administrators worked to figure a plan to set aside a small budget to continue to bring interns to Palisade. Knowing in advance there would be money available to provide each intern with a stipend, it was easier to recruit interns much earlier in the process. This past fall, Dr. Bell referred Mary Brennan to Palisade Recreation because she had expressed specific interest in the programming process. Sarah Brooks began meeting with Mary in September and October of 2014, and soon several new programs were coordinated for the 2015 winter/spring season.

Meet our Newest Face, Mary Brennan. Brennan is the new intern for Palisade Parks and Recreation; she grew up in Arlington Heights, Illinois with two brothers, two sisters and two fantastic parents. Mary claims that her parents have always been big tennis enthusiasts, thus placing Mary in lessons as a child, which she continued on to play in high school. Once Mary made the decision to continue with her passion of tennis and compete at the collegiate level, she began to look for colleges with quality tennis programs and found particular interest in the state of Colorado. Mary said she had always wanted to live out west, and soon she was offered a position on the Colorado Mesa University Women’s Tennis team; now she lives happily in Colorful Colorado. Tennis is Mary’s absolute favorite sport and she is very excited to teach it in the Palisade Community.

Mary Brennan

Working as an intern for Palisade Parks and Recreation, Mary has so far found the position to be very fun and helpful with plenty of learning opportunities in the field of Recreation and Sport Management. Having experience with racquet sports was one of the reasons the Town of Palisade found Mary to be such a good fit for the recreation program. Palisade Recreation wanted to get more youth and adults active in tennis, and to bring Pickleball to Palisade for the first time.

Pickleball is another sport that Mary is enthusiastic to introduce to Palisade because it’s such an up and rising sport. With a natural knack for swinging a racquet, Mary is excited to learn more about the fastest growing sport in the United States; maybe she will rise to the top in Pickleball too. When asked what she thought about joining the team in Palisade, Mary stated: “Palisade is a great community to be a part of because I love music and the outdoors. I play the guitar during my free time and enjoy listening to all the live music throughout the valley during the weekends. Camping and hiking with my good friends are two of my other favorite activities. My favorite hiking spot is the Ribbon Trail on the monument because there are plenty of places to free climb. I am planning on attending Palisades’ outdoor recreation programs to learn about hikes in the area that I haven’t seen yet. I am looking forward to working in this friendly community and learning as much as I can. I have already met a lot of friends while I have been here and plan to meet many more!”

Plenty of NEW Programs in store for 2015.  Mary Brennan did not waste any time getting her feet wet, she started teaching the first session of youth tennis on her fourth day of work. This season, Palisade Recreation is offering two sessions of Youth Tennis indoors at the Palisade Gymnasium. Session one began January 8th and will end on the last Thursday of January. The next session of Youth Tennis will begin Feb 5 and run through Feb 26 each Thursday from 4:15 PM-5:15 PM. Participants will have a great opportunity to learn tennis from a CMU player and a USTA certified instructor, all for an affordable price. Adults will also have a chance to improve their tennis skills through a clinic later this spring.

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the US, and it will now be available in Palisade. Learn the basics of the sport, techniques, and rules of the game through a free Pickleball Clinic on Saturday, Jan 31st from 9am-11am at the Palisade Gymnasium. Beginning in February, the Town will offer drop in play times on Tuesdays 9:00am-11:00am; Feb 3-April 28 and the first Saturday of each month also from 9am-11am; Saturday dates include Feb 7, March 7, April 4, and May 2.

pickleball photo

Parents in need of youth supervision during the early release times at Taylor Elementary might try Zany Games in February. This is a fun afterschool program that will incorporate a variety of active games with teambuilding exercises, very similar to may summer camp activities. The program will run on Wednesdays from 2:00pm-4:30pm Feb 4-Feb 25, and Palisade Recreation staff will meet students at school and walk with them over to the Palisade Community Center.

This past summer Palisade Recreation teamed up with Canyon View Church to offer free movies in the plaza once per month. Adults experiencing cabin fever can have a free evening out with Classic Cinema, in which Canyon View Church will show a classic favorite the third Thursday of each month. The event is free and participants are encouraged to bring an appetizer or dessert to share. Social time begins at 5:30pm and the feature film will begin at 6:00pm.

January 15th Groundhog Day

Feb 19th You got Mail

March 19th True Grit (1969 version)

April 16th Field of Dreams

Adults ages 21 and over can also enjoy an evening of yoga at the Red Fox Winery for Yoga & Wine. Join the Palisade Recreation yoga instructors Teri and Alyssa for an excellent yoga workout, followed by a social hour with wine tasting and an educational piece about wine making or wine paring. Classes are held the second Thursday of each month (Feb 12th, March 12th, April 9th, May 14th) from 5:30pm-7:00pm, Registration is $14.00 per class or $48.00 for all four sessions. Each class includes a glass of wine or a non-alcoholic beverage of choice.

There are many other excellent programs this season, and Palisade Recreation is excited to continue to serve the regular users and hopes to see many new faces. To learn more about the programs offered for the 2015 winter/spring season pick up an activity guide from Palisade Town Hall, Palisade Chamber, the local libraries, or visit

New Projects: The New Year also brings a new budget, one that will allow the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee to accomplish some of the projects they have been working towards in the past few years. One project aims to benefit regular users of the downtown plaza, downtown business owners, and will be incredibly helpful during special event season. Soon the high sun will not deter people from eating their lunch in the plaza or visiting a downtown event because the Town will soon be installing shade structures on the West side of the plaza, which will be up year round. Many people have requested to have more opportunities for bikes in the community, especially now that the Town has refurbished the skate park. Currently Palisade Parks and Recreation is working closely with Dirt Works Construction to get started on a bike skills park next to the lagoons in Riverbend Park. Dirt Works is in the process of reconstructing 38 Road to add a bike lane, making the Fruit and wine Byway much safer to ride. This project requires a lot of filler material to make the bike lane wide enough and the Town offered material from Riverbend Park in exchange for help constructing the first phase of the skills area. The bike skills park will probably be complete in three to four phases done over the course of two to three years, depending on funding. The first phase of the project will consist of a pump track that will be entertaining to both beginner, intermediate, and more advanced riders. The project will continue over the summer into the second phase, which the Town is still configuring design ideas and getting feedback from county engineers.