Blog #7: Place Project Reflection

After spending the semester researching the environmental history and land-citizen relationship of the suburbs of Applewood, Colorado, many conclusions have seemed to unfold in respects to the present day Rezoning/Redevelopment debate between Molson/Coors and the community of Applewood. The largest of which, revolved around the changing role the Coors brewing factory played in the community of Applewood as they merged with the industrial brewing powerhouse, Molson, in 2005. Molson’s immediate goal was to build his global business and he in turn neglected to reflect on the Brewery-Community relationship that had been established over 100 years earlier.  There had been a symbiotic relationship between the brewery and Applewood where the Coors family had assisted in the development of the Golden Valley and foothills as well as providing jobs and a consistent water source for the inhabitants since the 1800’s.

In Leopold’s eyes, Adolph Coors possessed a land ethic that allowed the Golden Community to flourish as he cared for his assets (land, water, and resources) as a farmer would care for his fields.  This land ethic evolved as the asset ownership transferred from Coors to Molson, a non native of Golden, who viewed his “farm” as commodities to be sold as a means to improve their global beer business without regard of the sentimental importance open space meant in the Applewood community. If Molson had embodied more of the ideals that Coors set forth when opening his brewery and assisting in the development Golden, the Molson Coors v. Applewood debate may have ended quite differently.

One of the aspects of this project I enjoyed the most was working closely and bouncing ideas off of our group members. Kurt and I began our projects with very similar places and after we both delved into the history of the land as well as the history of its inhabitants, we seemed to develop a very similar understanding of what Applewoood was all about. However, when it came time to synthesize all of our research, we developed very different Place Projects. Kurt focused more on a creative approach to tell the tale of Golden and I took a more analytical approach, synthesizing primary sources and historical papers. This allowed us to play off of eachother’s approaches to tell the story from two perspectives and incorporate both writing styles into the final report. I believe this had the most positive influence on my project as it motivated me to observe my place from different perspectives improved the quality of my analysis.

All around I really enjoyed this project as well as learning how to use the wordpress software. I intend to continue to update my blog as the rezoning debate progresses!

The End… so far

 

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Project Overview

Thesis:

With the growing popularity of the Colorado suburban lifestyle, and high rates of individuals moving to the state, the rate of expansion of the real estate market has risen accordingly; making the controversy over the future of Applewood Golf Course a heated debate between a frustrated community and a private owner, who’s capitalization of the land has evoked the conservationists of Applewood to fight for their nature.

Overview:

  • Research History of Golden, Applewood, Coors/Molson
  • What made Golden so popular?
  • What kind of communities and peoples came to the state?
  • How was Coors a major influence on the development/growth of applewood
  • Synthesize recent primary sources along with historical texts (Leopold, Muir, Thoreau)  to describe the community and their relationship with the environment
  • —> as well as recreation
  • Provide an analysis of the communities frustrations with Molson

Just Be Proud of Your Farm Molson

Blog #5

Aldo Leopold’s perspectives on Conservation and Land Ethic in “A Sand County Almanac” have appeared to resonate in the Applewood Community as the developer has backed out of the redevelopment process. After months of protesting and opposition, the Applewood community can rest easy for a short while as “the application for rezoning the property also stalls out”{1}. By viewing this controversy through the eyes of Leopold, a series of parallels begin to unfold which offer insight to the communities opposition and why they are outraged with Molson.

With the rapid expansion of the Highlands area in Denver and its progression into the valley and foothills of Golden, the prevalence of open space and outlets for isolation and change-of-scene have greatly declined for the Applewood community, resulting in a demand for conservation. From Leopold’s perspective, “Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land”; yet, what land will remain if the continuous pursuit of commodification of resources persists unchecked and without any ethical basis to follow. Leopold eludes to the idea that this necessary ethical baseline is defined within the community and reflects what is important to the individuals apart of it. “In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such.” The Applewood Community emulates these ideals as they have fought hard to conserve the open space they pride themselves in.

Where Molson went wrong, was he viewed the course as an economical commodity as opposed to an important part of a conservative community. Despite his “ownership” of the land, the course belongs as much to Molson as it does the Applewood community and they were prepared to fight for it. “If the private owner were ecologically minded, he would be proud to be the custodian of a reasonable proportion of such areas, which add diversity and beauty to his farm and to his community”.

There is still a long road ahead for the individuals of Applewood. However, by taking an ethical stand against Molson and personifying the ideals of Leopold, they may just be able to save their course yet.

WORKS Cited

Melissa Blasius, KUSA. “applewood-golf-course-buyer-backs-out”. http://www.9news.com/story/news/investigations/2015/11/06/applewood-golf-course-buyer-backs-out/75329770/ . 9news. web. accessed 11/11/15. Published 11/6/15

Blog 4:

The preservation/conservation movement in America’s 20th century ignited an innate need to maintain a sense of nature and wilderness in a rapidly changing landscape. Golden Colorado, at the beginning of the 20th century, attracted a large crowd of miners and gold hungry settlers as the promise of wealth was achieved by movement away from the east coast across the country to the untapped resources of the wild west. In the Golden valley, however, there was an even more precious resource than the gold. As the valley began to develop, a large continuous fresh water source was discover that originated as snow melt in the Rockies. This water was harnesses and used to open The Coors Brewing factory that now spans the majority of valley and possessed most of the surrounding land. One lot in particular was transformed into the Rolling Hills Country Club (Now Applewood Golf Course) and served as a place where beauty could be admired while playing a sport. For years the 145-acre lot was left unmolested until just recently, when a rezoning and redevelopment bill was proposed to transform the lot into a new housing community containing 450 new homes. This mirrors a lot of what was occurring in the 20th century as the real estate industry was booming and land was one of the most precious commodities.

Similar to the 20th century, there were many who opposed the development as they wished to maintain a sense of nature and open space and wished to avoid overpopulation. The arguments for development remained the same, believing the development would be beneficial to the surrounding natives as well as the economy. Yet, those who opposed in the 20th century as well as now both argued to conserve the integrity of the landscape and nature. The main similarity between the two time periods was the developers and big businesses believed that development would positively influence those surrounding while accumulating wealth at the same time. However, the argument by those surrounding was one of conservation of the landscape and preservation of their way of life.

It will be interesting to see how these events play out and whether the voice of Muir can echo through time and resonate with those who wish to redevelop.

Blog 3: Contemporary Image Analysis

Applewood Golf Course Blog 3

Image obtained from Flickr

As the sun sets behind the foothills of Table Mesa in Golden Colorado, one can see the brilliant colors of red, yellow, orange, and purple transform the clouds into a work of art, and the landscape into an image of beauty. The colors reflection in the water brings the sky to your feet and childish joy in your heart as the quietness and confinement of the course promotes a sense of peace and serenity. Here, nature serves as a beauty to admire and enjoy through systematized recreation that travels throughout the 145-acre lot. Unlike most recreation/sport, the lack of physical ability required to play allows most anyone who can swing a golf club the opportunity to come and enjoy the beauty and allure of the course.

What can be seen from this image are the water sources and trees that line the majority of the holes on the course and provide an enclosure to the outside world. Although the course itself is manicured and slightly changed within, it retains its inherent beauty of nature, and serves as an escape from the industrialist world we live in. However, looking about a mile and a half to the west of the course(not seen in the picture), one can see one of the most successful industrialist powerhouses in Colorado, the Coors Factory, who had previously owned the land the course resides on and allowed the land to remain unmolested and serve as a recreational outlet. Yet, with the merger of Molson and Coors into an even larger brewing industry, the land became very valuable and now, the course is being subjected to the industrialist ideals of real estate developers who are viewing the land as a commodity that can turn a profit. The fate of the course could be sealed within the next year or so and could possibly turn into the next large housing development; attributing further to the decline of nature in our 21st century.

Revised Topic Proposal (Applewood Golf Course)

What and Where?

  • My place project is going to be located at an old public golf course called Applewood. It is located in Golden Colorado and the property was once owned by the Coors family when they were developing their brewery along the Golden corridor. After the success of the brewery, the Coors family decided to sell the land to Molson who at the time allowed the course to remain untouched an unmolested. The course sits on a 145-acre lot that backs up to large lakes and water sources with great views of Golden and the Coors factory.

Why?

  • What interests me about this place is how the landscape has changed since being transformed into the course as well as the resources required to build and upkeep a 145-acre golf course and its impact on the surrounding inhabitants. Over the past year, developers have become very interested with the area as it is in a prime piece of real estate in a buyer’s market. The neighboring Highlands have seen large increases in property value as more and more young people have been moving to the Denver area and as space has begun to run out in Denver, developers have looked to neighboring cities to develop in hopes of retaining this boom in the real estate market in Colorado. The most recent proposal for development is to level the course and build 450 brand new homes which has created tension in the surrounding neighborhoods and has caused an argument between developers and the Applewood natives over free market capitalism and moral economy. Molson and the developers are being driven by the property value of the land and wish to turn an investment into a large profit at the expense of the neighboring peoples.

How?

  • The Applewood Golf Course is located very close to where my parents live and where I grew up, so it will be easily accessible for me to visit and collect notes and observations as needed. Also, if I’m in a bind and cannot make it down in person, there are overhead views of the course as well as surrounding neighborhoods on google maps for me to access and make use of. I plan, however; to visit and make observations before the end of September.

Historical/Ecological issues of interest?

  • I believe one of the key features in its environmental history is going to be what the land was zoned for and how the foundation of the soil is in regards to development of homes and infrastructure. Similarly, how would redevelopment affect those who live in surrounding neighborhoods and could the land provide for that quantity of people. With 450 new homes comes 450 new families and the school system and roadways would not be able to support this addition to the community.This could, in turn, require redevelopment of surrounding infrastructure and the education (school) system to accommodate. Cost of maintenance and water usage would be essential to know as well and what the land looked like or was used for before development of the golf course could provide some necessary insight.

Sources:

Primary:

http://www.denverpost.com/golden/ci_27641138/applewood-community-members-overflow-meeting-golf-course-rezoning ………. Poses great argument for blank slate mentality of re developers

Secondary:

http://wheatridgetranscript.com/stories/Applewood-Golf-Course-rezoning-moves-forward,192968 … Gives financial detail to property value

Blog #1: Applewood Golf Course

  • My place project will be covering the Applewood golf course near my old neighborhood. It is located in Golden Colorado and the property was once owned by the Coors family when they were developing their brewery along the Golden corridor. After the success of the brewery, the Coors family decided to sell the land to Molson who at the time allowed the course to remain untouched and unmolested. The course sits on a 145-acre lot that backs up to large lakes and water sources with great views of Golden and the Coors factory. Over the past year, developers have become very interested with the area as it is in a prime piece of real estate in a buyer’s market. The neighboring Highlands have seen large increases in property value and population as more and more young people have been moving to the Denver area. Space has begun to run out in Denver, and developers have looked to neighboring cities to develop in hopes of retaining this boom in the real estate market in Colorado. The most recent proposal for development is to level the course and build 450 brand new homes which has created tension in the surrounding neighborhoods and has caused an argument between developers and the Applewood natives over free market capitalism and moral economy. Molson and the developers are being driven by the property value of the land and wish to turn an investment into a large profit at the expense of the neighboring peoples. The Applewood area is considered to be the suburbs of Golden and Wheat Ridge with open space and a much lower population than it could actually hold causing Molson and the developers to believe that redevelopment would be ideal because there is plenty of room for more homeowners. This suburban layout, however, is what the homeowners of Applewood paid for when moving to the area and they wish to retain, as opposed to developing the area towards a Denver like landscape. With 450 new homes comes 450 new families and the school system and roadways would not be able to support this addition to the community which in turn will require redevelopment of surrounding infrastructure and education system to accommodate. The homeowners of Applewood hope for the developers and Molson to view this issue with a sense of moral economy and not just look to turn a handsome profit because it will greatly affect the surrounding natives.