A couple of articles on the front page of the Boulder Daily Camera caught my attention today, mainly because they both involve clients that Design Concepts has worked with over the years. The headline for the first one was “Superior Resurrects Morgul Bismarck”. This is great news for an old bicycle racing fan like myself, who can remember the glory days of the first Red Zinger Classics. And the fact that the Town of Superior has been a good client of ours over the years leads me to wish them all the best of success. I’m sure that the Town’s officials are hoping that the race will bring fame, glory, and notoriety to Superior, and even better, put some sales tax revenues into the Town’s coffers. Mark your calendars for May 28th, 29th, and 30th, and head on over to the races.
The headline on the other article was “Christian Festival Looks to Longmont
”. The article talks about a music festival that could bring as many as 50,000 people to Union Reservoir in July. It is estimated that the festival could pump as much as a million dollars into the local economy.
Even before reading the article, I knew that there would be conflicting opinions on whether or not the event should be held there. Design Concepts completed a recent master plan
for Union Reservoir that included an extensive public input process. During this process, it was clear that people value Union Reservoir for a number of different reasons, and sometimes these can appear to conflict with one another. The reservoir and its surrounding landscape make up a pleasant setting that provides wonderful habitat for wildlife. People enjoy fishing, swimming, boating, and camping here as well. And, as evidenced by the article, the reservoir may also be a desireable destination for large events that can bring economic benefits to the community in troubled financial times.
All of these uses have value to someone, and that is the point that I’d like to make. Whether or not you feel that one or another of them is more appropriate for Union Reservoir, the parks, greenways, and other public lands that we all own in common throughout our communities have tremendous value that should not be taken for granted. Sometimes the value seems warm and fuzzy, but often it also involves cold hard cash. Parks provide economic benefits as well as recreational and environmental ones. The officials and staff who provide stewardship for these lands must frequently make difficult decisions in attempting to balance one need against another. But the reason that the decisions are difficult is because the stakes are high. And the stakes are high because the potential benefits from our public spaces are so great.