Meet Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca on May 5!

Please join us on Tuesday, May 3 to meet District 9 City Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca. We will meet in the Multi-Purpose Room at the Carla Madison Recreation Center, 2401 East Colfax Avenue, at 5:30 pm. Parking is behind the Center, accessible from 16th Avenue.

CW CdeBaca will share her vision for Denver and, in particular, City Park. She will speak about Denver Parks and Recreation’s emphasis on equity and lead us through the process of submitting projects for consideration of Capital Improvement Funding. There will be a Q & A following her presentation.

CW CdeBaca is a proud fifth-generation native of northeast Denver and a graduate of Manual High School and the University of Denver. Raised by a single mother and grandparents, Candi understands the importance of tight-knit communities and stepping up for neighbors in need. She continues to be a fierce advocate against the criminalization of poverty, environmental racism, and the displacement of black and brown communities. Looking forward, she will continue to fight for community every day and infuse city government with policy expertise, a lens for justice, and ancestral wisdom.

City Park Friends and Neighbors is honored to have CW CdeBaca as our May speaker. A CPFAN Board Meeting will follow CW CdeBaca’s presentation at 6:30 pm. Light refreshments will be served.

City Park History and Birding Tour on May 7
Martin Luther King Statue & Photo: Bald Eagle, Henry Feldman 
CPFAN invites you to a unique tour of City Park that will highlight both the history of the park dating from its founding in 1882 and the rich diversity of avian species that has developed in this inner city open space. John Brett and Patrick O’Driscoll will lead this 1 1/2 hour stroll through the People’s Park on May 7 starting at 8:30 am in front of the Snowmastodon sculpture at the NW corner of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Parking is available in the lots to the north.

John Brett is a retired University of Colorado anthropology professor who has lived near and used City Park for nearly 40 years. As a member of the CPFAN board, he is working with others to preserve the central values of City Park while accommodating to changing values and uses. In presenting the history of City Park, John points out the visionary nature of the park, having been established just 20 years after Central Park in NYC and reflecting the early “back to nature” sentiment of the time—pastoral, naturalistic with grand vistas.  “What was dry prairie became an urban jewel characteristic of much larger cities with a botanic garden, a zoo and a natural history museum included,” says John. Specific highlights of John’s tour include the pavilion and bandstand, each of the distinctive lakes, the multiple, distinctive gateways into the park and the Civil War era cannons.

Patrick O’Driscoll calls City Park his “home patch” for birding. He has recorded lists of bird sightings in the park almost weekly over the past nine years. Patrick also leads free field trips in City Park for Denver Field Ornithologists (DFO). He is a retired newspaper journalist and national parks information specialist and is the editor of Lark Bunting, DFO’s monthly newsletter.

Patrick describes May as a peak spring bird migration month in and around Denver. “Any number of sparrows, flycatchers, warblers, tanagers, woodpeckers, grosbeaks, and thrushes may be in the park on May 7. Also present: City Park’s resident jays, chickadees, nuthatches and Bushtits — not to mention several hundred Double-crested Cormorants nesting at Duck Lake, where the year’s first hatchlings may be seen and heard squawking for food from their parents,” says Patrick.

CPFAN is offering the tour free of charge to the public. Donations are always welcome. We are limiting the tour to 12 participants. If you would like to attend, please register by emailing info@cpfan.org with the message, City Park Tour, May 7, 2022. We’ll send confirmations to the first twelve who sign up and alert others about our Waiting List.

Come dig with us!
Adopt-A-Flowerbed is back for its second season
Adopt-a-Flowerbed Volunteer, Amy Mancini digs weeding!
Will you join us to keep City Park blooming and beautiful? This year, Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) has pledged to plant 100% of the flowerbeds in the park instead of the 50% allotted last year due to the pandemic. The City Park Maintenance crew and Horticulturists will need our help as volunteer gardeners to maintain the extra beds. DPR’s Adopt-A-Flowerbed program, launched last year in City Park by the Parks and Open Space Committee of Greater Park Hill, Inc., City Park Friends and Neighbors, and City Park Alliance is poised to serve as a volunteer launching pad once again. Last year’s participants reported great satisfaction creating beauty in City Park and building community at the same time.

The Adopt-A- Flowerbed program begins with an on-site orientation in early June at the City Park Pavilion with City Park’s Horticulturists and Adam Smith, the East District Superintendent. Responsibilities include watering, weeding, pruning, and fertilizing. City Park Horticulturists and Maintenance crew participate with and oversee volunteers’ activities. Volunteers can sign up to work with a team or on their own in flowerbeds of their choice. The Horticulturists will announce large group projects throughout the season as well.

Please respond to Maria Flora at mjflora@msn.com or Georgia Garnsey at ggarnsey@ecentral.com if you are interested in joining this effort. Indicate the time commitment you want to make, the flowerbeds you might be interested in maintaining, and whether you have friends or neighbors interested in volunteering, either individually or as part of a team. Let’s keep City Park blooming!

Horticulturist, Julie Lehman with Adopt-A-Flowerbed volunteers, Sharon Johnson, Lorraine Dixon Jones & Jackie June
Photo: Janina Gotlin
Plant trees and Celebrate City Park on May 21
On Saturday, May 21, Denver Park Trust will be hosting a park clean-up and tree planting event in City Park. The event will begin at the City Park Pavilion at 9 am and last until 12 pm. From 1pm – 4pm, there will be a free celebration featuring the Denver Civic Band, food trucks, games and more. Those signing up to volunteer for the morning activities will receive a free meal ticket.

The Trust is partnering with Civic Center Conservancy, Denver Mountain Parks Foundation, the Greenway Foundation, and The Park People to sponsor clean-ups throughout the city on May 21 as part of Denver’s first annual Parks, Rivers, Trails and Trees program. The Denver Park Trust was founded in 2019 and their mission is “to improve and add new parks in the neighborhoods that need them most.” They are a fundraising organization that works in partnership with Denver Parks and Recreation.

Let’s make City Park shine! Come join us on May 21 to plant trees and pick up trash, then celebrate our community and our beautiful City Park, known as the People’s Park since 1906!

Here is a link to the Denver Park Trust’s website with all the information on Parks, Rivers, Trails & Trees, including another link to the volunteer signup form. The first 50 to sign up will receive free meal tickets.

Meeting Dennis Gallagher in City Park 
Robert Burns Statue and Garden, City Park, Denver
The passing away of Dennis Gallagher on April 22 at his home in northwest Denver is a huge loss to the Denver community and to the vast community everywhere who loved and admired him. Ebullient, caring, witty, intelligent – Dennis charmed, persuaded and delighted everyone who met him. There was nothing he couldn’t do. Not only did he serve as Denver City Auditor, Denver City Council member, State Senator and State Representative, he uncovered the buried Mezuzah at Golda Meir’s family home in West Denver, helping establish the home’s authentic link to one of Denver’s most distinguished residents.

Dennis was proud of his Irish heritage and that was part and parcel of who he was. He often spoke of the importance of “helping the stranger among us,” in accordance with the Irish wisdom passed down to him by his mother in particular.

A few years ago, I was walking past the Robert Burns statue in City Park and noticed a group of people gathered in a shaded area to the side. I came closer and recognized Dennis  reading passages from Burns’ poetry to the group. I learned the group was Denver’s James Joyce Society.

Just last summer I ran into Dennis at a backyard event in my neighborhood and asked him about the Society and its connection to Burns and the statue in City Park. We talked about the happy circumstance of the statue of Robert Burns facing the statue of Martin Luther King in this middle section of City Park.

To my delight, Dennis wrote me a letter following up on our conversation and here is a portion of it:

“Joyce had two volumes of Burns’ poetry in his library in Italy.  There are lots of illusions to Burns and his poetry in Finnegan’s Wake, not so much in Ulysses.

“The James Joyce Reading Society of Greater Metropolitan Denver was founded on Joyce’s 100th birthday in the back room of Danny Sullivan’s pub on Court Place, gone alas like our youth too soon.  Founders, Ned Burke, Robert Ross whose dad was born in Scotland, and myself.  Ned is in heaven now chatting with Joyce about various passages in the texts.  Bob is still with us and can recite Burns vastly from memory.  We meet every first Tuesday every month at different homes. We are reading Ulysses for about the 7th time.

“Love the Burns statue in City Park and that he and MLK are close enough to hear each other is very fitting…Dennis”

Dennis invited me to a meeting of the James Joyce Reading Society and I didn’t make it. What a mistake!  At least I know that Dennis is in Heaven now, chatting it up with Ned Burke, James Joyce and his old buddy, Robert Burns to boot!

I feel a celebration of Dennis Gallagher’s beautiful life around City Park’s Robert Burns statue coming during Summer, 2022. There will be poetry.
– Georgia McCracken Garnsey, Editor, City Park Friends and Neighbors newsletter

“A poet, peasant born,
Who more of fame’s immortal dower
Unto his country brings
Than all her kings.” – Robert Burns

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