By Linda Kirkpatrick
To the EPRD board of directors:
In recent months I’ve had many opportunities to reflect on changes in our community over the 30 years I’ve lived here. Most reflections have been with a sense of pleasure at having had the opportunity to play a small role in Evergreen’s formative years. I see the recent announcement of John Skeel’s departure as a pivotal time to address the future of our community in addition to the future of the rec district.
Parks and recreation have served as a common thread throughout the last century since the inception of the Denver Mountain Parks system in 1913. Another commonality is that sense of “collective independence” accompanied by the ability of nonprofit groups to meet the needs of the people who call Evergreen home.
Similarly, you five have a opportunity to play a role in crafting the future of our mountain town — more than just governing EPRD while serving your term in office — as Denver’s Mayor Speer and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted did nearly 100 years ago. It is the preservation of that sense of community that is threatened now. Without the vision of Speer and Olmsted, think of how development of our open spaces would have changed the character of Evergreen!
I feel it is critical to fill the executive director position with a person who knows, understands, and FEELS the importance of small community. I urge you to make it a top priority to seek a qualified candidate close to home. In my opinion, finding a person with a long list of impressive credentials is not nearly as important as stabilizing what now seems to be at risk. A sense of community is not measured by statistics. There isn’t a barometer that tells a storm is moving in. It’s a gut feeling that’s been wrenching within me, and this vacancy seemed like an opportune time to express my concerns.
You have the power to make Evergreen a place that will not only be beautiful to look at but also a unique place in which to live for decades to come by the choice you make in 2011. In many ways you hold the reins when it comes to enabling that sense of community to prevail or allowing it to shrivel up and die. Although EPRD is primarily charged with overseeing parks and recreation, its influence in our unincorporated town is far greater. Without official control, it serves as the hub for numerous other activities that are dependent on EPRD for their ability to function, whether it be for shared facilities or sponsorship of a GOCO grant that requires partnership with a taxing district. EPRD sets the tone for cooperative spirit.
Community is a resource as difficult to replace as open space. Right now. you folks hold the key to determining Evergreen’s future in a big way.
Linda Kirkpatrick is a longtime resident of Evergreen and a frequemt contributor to the Canyon Courier.