City News

Posted on: September 3, 2014

The Patriotic Roots of American Park

In the fall of 2001, a City of Montrose Public Works Parks crew was working to finalize what they thought would become “Windsor Park” and had reached the planting stage, a noteworthy phase of any new park. Located at 2721 Cirque Way in the Pearl Ridge subdivision, near 6700 Road and Meadows Parkway, the one-acre park changed ownership because of issues that surfaced during the development of the Windsor subdivision. As a result, the city took over the responsibility and expense of finishing the park.

Although the history of how parks are named can sometimes be lost over time, the patriotic roots at the heart of American Park will not soon fade from the collective memories of Americans who experienced the events of September 11, 2001.

“Everyone remembers where they were on 9-11. I was with a crew starting to plant seed at the Windsor Park project when a passerby told us that an airplane had flown into one of the twin towers,” recalled Parks Superintendent Thordy Jacobson. “We didn’t realize the magnitude until we got to the shop and learned that it wasn’t an accident but a terrorist attack.”

Jacobson remembers the shock, anger, and disbelief that he and many other Americans were experiencing that followed in the days after the horrific events. “It was so strange to look in the sky and see no planes or contrails,” he said. “About a week later the shock and disbelief were replaced with pride and patriotism,” noting the heroic stories of first responders, the response of leaders, the volunteers going to New York, and American flags on display. “Even the World Series was delayed as a result of that unprecedented moment in time.”

As he reflected on the events that came to be known as “9-11,” Jacobson had an idea of how to honor the heroes, survivors, and the victims of the attack, and took it to the City Council. “I urged them to name the new park ‘American Park.’” Council agreed. He immediately ordered red, white, and blue tables and benches and a plaque to commemorate the event that touched so many in our nation’s history. “It’s the only idea for the name of a park that I’ve had that hasn’t had some opposition. Everybody likes it.”

At the December 11, 2001, dedication, then Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Ulibarri remarked that the park is, “unlike our other parks in the origins of its name and the emotions that were part of its beginnings. It was named after the events that have marked our nation’s history.”

Ulibarri penned a letter to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, stating that the people of Montrose were so proud and supported the brave residents of New York. Just three months after the event and in the midst of the massive recovery efforts taking place at “ground zero,” Mayor Giuliani found time to respond with a thank you letter of deep appreciation. He noted how, in the aftermath of the tragedy, “Americans have united as never before.” Giuliani concludes the thank you with, “I am pleased to hear about American Park.”

Jacobson encourages people to stop by the living memorial that is American Park. “Enjoy yourself. Enjoy the views. And remember to take a moment to reflect on the price we pay for our liberties.”

The City of Montrose provides an abundance of parks, trails, playgrounds, recreational areas, and open space. These public facilities preserve and enhance the quality of life and environment in Montrose. The Parks Division of the Public Works Department maintains 29 developed parks, 118 acres of open space, 30 miles of concrete trails, greenbelts and planters, and plans projects that beautify the community. City park shelters may be reserved for private and public events.

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