December 16, 2010
by John Kiljan

Photo: City Manager, Craig Kocian and Vicky Reier address the

Yesterday, about 70 participants gathered on a wintry day near Garrison Street at what is to become Arvada’s new Central Park for a public ceremony to say goodbye to the trees.

Over 500 trees are expected to be removed in the North Jeffco Community Park and the adjacent Hoskinson Park. The first phase of tree removal — approximately half of the total — is expected to begin as soon as the end of this week. The remaining trees will come down in the fall and winter of 2011/2012. Some of the memorial trees in the parks are expected to be transplanted to a new location.

The park’s reconstruction plans have not yet been finalized, but the tree removal must begin now to minimize the impact on nesting birds in the spring. Next summer, work will begin in earnest on the removal and replacement of the Garrison Street bridge over Ralston Creek. A substantial amount of earth must be removed from about 2/3rds of the park’s area. About four feet of dirt will be excavated in most areas to protect over 70 neighborhood homes from future flooding. The lowered flood risk will also help Arvada’s urban renewal authority attract investors for the redevelopment of the adjacent Triangle/Arvada Square shopping centers.

Yesterday’s tastefully done ceremony was attended by the students of the adjacent Two Roads Charter School whose instrumental ensemble played music for the crowd and whose students read monologs celebrating the park. Two poems in tribute to the trees were also read after introductions by District Three councilor Shelley Cook, City Manager Craig Kocian and Assistant City Manager Vicky Reier.

Those were followed by a moving Ceremonial Blessing of the Trees by a spiritual leader of the Kiowa Native American Church, Andy Cozad. The ceremony was held next to a large Plains Cottonwood (populus sargentii) now scheduled for removal. The tree appears to predate the park by many years.

This poem was read by a young charter school attendee during the ceremony:

Think Like a Tree

by Karen I. Shragg

Soak up the sun
Affirm life’s magic
Be grateful in the wind
Stand tall after a storm
Feel refreshed after it rains
Grow strong without notice
Be prepared for each season
Provide shelter to strangers
Hang tough through a cold spell
Emerge renewed at the first sign of spring
Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky
Be still long enough to hear your own rustling.

How to Find Out More
The City’s primary email address for public feedback on the reconstruction project is Vicky Reier at You may also call her at 720-898-7509.

The City’s Garrison Street bridge and park reconstruction website can be found at

However, there is no feedback option on that website.

Also, Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community (CLRC) expects to have its own PARK ISSUES web page at in January and we will invite public comment and discussion there as well. The new neighborhood association’s website is currently under construction.

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  1. Roy Caldwell says:

    I was thinking of a way to solve some of the conflict with the City and the neighbors who would like a swimming pool. As you know a majority of the people that voted at the planning meeting wanted a pool. As I understand there will be about 4′ of soil removed from most of the park. Rather than haul it off site, damage our roads, pollute the air why not move it to the south east corner of the park and make and elevated area with the soil removed. Would this save some money? In this area we could have a swimming pool and splash deck above the 100 year flood area. This will still help the home owners with there flood insurance and we can teach our neighborhood children how to swim, much like the Fisher Pool. Educated young swimmers would be a plus, I don’t want to send them to Wheat Ridge to learn to swim.

  2. John Kiljan says:

    I had very similar thoughts, Roy. Here is an extract of my own comments to Vicky Reier about the first community meeting. I made them just before the last community meeting since the concept plans weren’t really available before then. No, the berm-it-out concept was not addressed at our final community meeting. Instead, we got a paper cutout and an assertion that a pool simply won’t fit.

    I don’t believe that.


    The Flood Plain and Earthen Berms
    It was also stated that if a pool were built, an expensive and unattractive retaining wall would have to be built along its north side.

    That is also not true.

    The material needed to bench out a berm on the southwest corner of the park is practically free. There is certain to be excess haul on the project that can be put to use within the park. If the excess fill dirt were placed near the edge of the flood plain, it would probably have to be no more than waist high to bring the base of a fence for a pool, or any other recreational facility, above the flood plain boundary. An earthen berm is also safer and less expensive than a retaining wall in a park setting.

    ‘Court’ activities such as tennis or roller/ice hockey need fences or low walls and they cannot be placed in the flood plain because of that. The park’s designers should plan in advance for benching out the level area along the south side of the park adjacent to Ralston Road using the excess excavated material from the new drainage channel. The possibility of having to haul that excess material back into the park at a later date to accommodate recreational facilities makes no sense at all.

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