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Dec 13,  2010:   Tribute to the Trees Ceremony Scheduled for December 15

Arvada, CO……..The exciting news is that the need to reconstruct the Garrison Street bridge over Ralston Creek, which will remove adjacent commercial properties and 70 homes from the flood plain designation, will launch a completely revitalized park along Ralston Creek between Garrison and Carr Streets. 

The sad news is that hundreds of trees must be removed or relocated in order to accommodate the project.  The tree removal will occur in two phases.  The first phase will occur in late December when 270 diseased and/or dead trees will be removed.  The second phase of tree removal will occur in the fall of 2011.  In the meantime, any trees that can feasibly be moved will be.

In advance of the removal of trees this December, and acknowledging that the loss of these trees will be a difficult step for the community, the City of Arvada is holding a Tribute to the Trees ceremony.

WHAT:  Tribute to the Trees and Native American Blessing

WHERE: Near the Pioneer Pavillion at the Garrison Street Center

Garrison Street and Ralston Road

WHEN:  Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 10:00 – 10:30 a.m.

Background of Garrison Street Bridge Project

For a number of years, plans have been in the works to replace the undersized box culvert that carries Ralston Creek underneath Garrison Street.  The project will meet the City’s requirement to address problems associated with the 100-year flood plain, removing adjacent commercial properties (primarily the Arvada Square shopping center) and 70 homes from the flood plain designation.  The project will also include routing the Ralston Creek Trail under Garrison Street, creating a safer and more user-friendly trail.

However, the further engineers analyzed the project, the more complicated it became.  The biggest obstacle is the Garrison Street Center, owned by the City of Arvada but operated by the Apex Park and Recreation District for nearly 50 years.  Once an ice rink, the building currently houses popular programs such as indoor soccer, gymnastics, and dance.  Another obstacle is the fact that in order to remove the flood plain designation from largest numbers of structures changes must be made to the channel downstream that will completely transform the park that abuts the Ralston Creek Trail between Garrison and Carr Streets, altering elevations and removing and relocating dozens of trees.

Elected officials and staff from both the City of Arvada and Apex Park and Recreation District have spent several years grappling with the various issues and obstacles posed by this project.  How could it be accomplished with the least disruption to the community?  What would happen to the indoor soccer, gymnastics, and dance programs?  Would the area be served by an outdoor pool again given that the Fisher Pool was closed?

Sometimes it requires a bit of chaos and a lot of input from many stakeholders to take a problem and turn it into an opportunity.

And that’s what has happened at the soon-to-be-former Garrison Street center.

Thinking Outside of the Box

What if the “old ice rink/indoor soccer fields” facility moved to the Stenger/Lutz sport complex in a new, more modern facility?

What if one of Arvada’s oldest and dated parks was completely revitalized?

What if, instead of a swimming pool, a large outdoor splash deck was constructed in its place?

What if Garrison Street became more pedestrian-friendly, inviting the neighborhood to the east to access shopping and entertainment to the west?  What if, in fact, the area was developed to integrate with plans for a revitalized Arvada Plaza and Arvada Square which are part of the Ralston Fields Urban Renewal Area?

Community members have been participating in creating a Master Plan for the new park, including recommendations for play areas, picnic and seating areas, and an interactive water feature. 

Actions Already Underway

The Apex Park and Recreation District will be constructing two indoor turf arenas at the Stenger/Lutz Sports Complex to accommodate LaCrosse, indoor soccer, and arena football programs.  Construction on the new turf arena will begin in late fall of 2010 with a planned opening date of July 2011.

Gymnastics, dance, and cheerleading programs will be relocated to a facility at W. 82nd Avenue and Simms Street.  The property, owned by Jefferson County Open Space and leased to the Apex District, will undergo some remodeling and improvements to be ready for the move of these three vital programs by June of 2011.  At the present time, the church using the facility is planning to continue to meet in the east section of the building leaving the gym and west section for recreation activities.