I WAS BORN IN DENVER. I spent most of my childhood in the south suburbs. I’ve always been proud of the way the city represents Colorado and how our outdoors lifestyle and Western heritage distinguish us from other cities. When I moved back to the Front Range in 2009 after seven years in the southwest I expected — perhaps foolishly — things to be pretty much the same. There are some new developments in the area that have me feeling like a tourist in my own hometown.
1. The I-25 merge ramp from 6th Avenue
As nice as this big new merge ramp is, each time I drive it I feel like a spectator watching an unknown laborer dig his own grave. The 6th Ave construction is seemingly never ending, which has been hard enough. Add to it that no one seems to quite understand how that new mountainous onramp at Federal Boulevard works (the one that first merged in from the left directly into traffic hurdling at 70 MPH in the fast lane, and now merges into its own special lane before merging into full traffic, from the left of course). But with this new I-25 onramp obviously being there to accommodate increasingly higher levels of traffic, it serves as a concrete reminder that the overwhelming population boom in the metro area isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.
2. Green Valley Ranch
When I was a young kid growing up in unincorporated Arapahoe County, the only things you’d find south of County Line Road were open fields and dirt roads. Back then, my neighborhood was the new suburban sprawl. Now, those dirt roads are paved and the fields are dotted in the oversized cookie-cutter houses and Wal-Marts of Highlands Ranch. Then, when DIA was built in the early 90s, we all knew it was only a matter of time before the open land around it became the latest incarnation of suburbia. The further out the Denver area sprawls, the more that the comfy confines of the mountain towns appeal to me. I’d never want to live on the East Coast, but the ‘build up, not out’ mentality of certain cities is really starting to make sense.
3. Westend Apartments
There are apartment buildings and expensive condos being built all over the Denver area. Some are successful at blending in to the cityscape, while others are drawing the ire of passers-by every day. Westend Apartments epitomize the latter. The hideous bright green and grey color scheme doesn’t fit in at all with anything else in the area. Plus this large complex sits right next to I-25 on the edge of downtown, looking foul every day in front of not only residents but visitors to the city as well. The developers of Westend tried a little too hard to be fresh and hip and have instead created the ugliest apartment complex I have ever seen. If this is where Denver is headed, we are going to skyrocket up Housely.com’s ‘Ugliest Cities in America’ list.
4. Denver Pointers
This slang term is an embarrassment to everyone in Denver that knows how to handle themselves on the mountain. Residents of Summit County claim that they can pick out Denverites on the slopes because of their tendency to carelessly fly down the hill without making any turns, pointing their skis or board at the bottom and then straight-lining it. I lived in a mountain town for many years and know just as well as anyone else on the hill how to act, how to ride, and how to present myself. I am just as annoyed by gapers as any ski bum but I loathe being labeled as such simply because of my address. As selfish and shallow as it might sound, hearing stereotypes like this makes me want to be on the other side, back in the mountains where the opportunities to ‘point’ and laugh at city dwellers without being a hypocrite abound.
5. The Colorado Rockies
And one LACK of a new development: In true Monfort tradition, the Colorado Rockies will not be making any significant front office or management changes and look to finish in the cellar once again. A glance through the team’s transaction report on MLB.com’s AtBat app offers little solace as the only players coming in are no-name pitchers next in line to join our extensive list of B-level relievers that blow more opportunities than Pamela Anderson.