December 16, 2010
by John Kiljan
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 VICKY-R@arvada.org. 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 http://www.RalstonCommunity.com 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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