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    • Tree down, solar panel up – controversies and a look on the bright side.

    Tree down, solar panel up – controversies and a look on the bright side.

    For those of you that aren’t aware of the major construction project going down (quite literally) on 1-70 and appropriately named The Central 70 Project – it is essentially a 10-mile reconstruction project which will bury the aging highway of 1-70 underground between I-25 and Chambers Road. As the Denver Post quoted ‘it’s time to bring this highway into the 21st century’ — and with that what’s more 21st century than the decision to remove a 54-year-old viaduct, add two new express lanes, and place a 4-acre park with a planned farmer’s market and outdoor movie theater over one of the largest highways in the state? The plan is as mod millennial as it gets— check out full details hereThat said, a project of such magnitude does not come without associated side effects. In addition to heavy traffic increases, displacement of neighboring students and households, and a high degree of nighttime noise pollution, an additional major concern regards the lives of 263 City Park Golf Course trees.  This topic has been one of strong controversy as the removal of these trees has been funded by the I-70 project. By removing these trees it allows for the area to act as flood water zone and in turn protect highway flanks –which has trumped protecting habitat. Avoiding political debate, the city has initiated elements of repair which error on ‘the bright side’. In addition to planting a net gain of 500 new trees, the new course will also be partially powered by solar energy. The new City Park maintenance building will result in 54% reduction in energy costs via solar paneled roofs. The modern club house will also capitalize on green aesthetic boasting a west facing patio with floor to ceiling windows – all which meet LEED Gold certification. Although these initiatives do not fully mitigate the lost 100 year eco system which they replace, they are conscious steps in the right direction while the Central 70 Project once done should will produce crucial improvements to regional mobility and long term livability.

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