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Cardwell selected as Leader of the Year

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By Sandy Barnes

“For a community to survive, it needs a gathering place,” said Bob Cardwell, recipient of the Leader of the Year award from Leadership Evergreen.

During his years in the mountain community, Cardwell has been directly involved in creating recreational opportunities and facilities for residents.

Working with the Evergreen Park and Recreation District, Cardwell helped acquire property to create Buchanan Park and Rec Center. 

“I was driving by Buchanan Park before it was a park,” Cardwell said. “It made me realize there was not a gathering place here. If we hadn’t preserved Buchanan Park, we wouldn’t have it today.”

In assisting with recreational projects, Cardwell has used his professional background in commercial real estate development. 

The 11-acre property for Buchanan Park was formerly owned by a community hospital, Cardwell said.

“I went to the hospital and presented the plan to them. We were able to come to an agreement,” he said.

“Buchanan Park was huge, but it’s only one of Bob’s contributions to our collective well-being,” said Pandora Reagan of the Leadership Evergreen board of directors. “He was on the Mountain Area Land Trust board for over a decade … . In the mid-1990s, Bob helped with the construction and donation process for the playground at Bergen Elementary.”

Cardwell also envisioned the development of Stagecoach Park and found fields for the Stingers soccer team in Marshdale and property for Mt. Evans Home Health and Hospice. He also came up with the idea for the voluntary 1 percent fee in downtown Evergreen, which is managed through the Evergreen Legacy Fund of the Downtown Evergreen Economic District. 

“The piece I brought to the table is 1 percent,” he said of the Legacy Fund, which has grown substantially since its inception more than a year ago.

As a board member of DEED, Cardwell also has been involved in the development of a trail connection from the downtown area to Evergreen Lake — a project expected to begin in the near future.

He also searched for properties for Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen, a local charter school, looking at 44 different sites before finding one.

Currently, Cardwell said, he is working with the Center for the Arts Evergreen to help the organization explore options for additional space.

While looking at future needs for Evergreen, Cardwell said that the growing retirement community requires attention.

“Twenty years from now, there's going to be a need for another lake house, and a place to exercise the mind,” he said.

“I believe that to be truly successful in life, you have to work to make your community a better place,” said Cardwell who has lived in Evergreen for the past 25 years with his wife, Kim.

Leadership Evergreen is a nonprofit organization that helps educate and develop leadership potential in the community. For more information, visit the website at www.leadershipevergreen.org.

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com.