On Saturday, we celebrated the completion of the new Black Forest Park at the intersection of Shoup Road and Black Forest Road. It was a warm, sunny day, and plenty of people came, as we all joined together to remember the impact of the Black Forest Fire. Many people were recognized: fire fighters and first responders, the survivors, and those that did not survive (The Herklotz Family). There were moments of happiness as the strength of our community was recounted, and moments of sadness in recalling the grief and loss the community experienced. Many local officials came, including El Paso County Commissioners Clark, Littleton, and Hisey, as well as U.S. Congressman Doug Lamborn, and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.
When recently asked about his part in building the new park, Andy Stauffer had the following to say:
“The Black Forest park was a fun project for us. The timber for the new pavilion was mostly taken from logs donated from Black Forest residents (over 100 trees!) and was milled by a local mill. All posts and beams were pre-cut offsite, then trucked to the job and assembled rapidly like Lincoln Logs.
I first found out about plans for the park last summer when I received a phone call from Leif Garrison, who had read about our work at Venetucci Farm in the Gazette’s ‘Side Streets’ column. Leif told me ‘I have a similar project in Black Forest I’d like you to consider.’ My interest was piqued, as I saw the opportunity to help bring a main gathering point to to the area—the Black Forest stretches over 125 square miles, but there wasn’t a ‘centralized’ meeting place for the residents. I was very happy to donate all of our time to help provide a place that can now offer community gatherings, such as Farmers Markets, Live Shows, Holiday Celebrations, and more.”
Special thanks go out to Leif Garrison and the team at the Black Forest Community Foundation, the American Red Cross, Governor Hickenlooper, and many other folks who made it all possible. To read more about the history of the park, click here.