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More Pinery History
Bingham Lake... In April, 1979, the Pinery was hit by a snowstorm, causing cancellation of the April Homeowners' meeting, as well as the first scheduled "Park Kick-Off." The latter was rescheduled. County Commissioner Carl Winkler turned the first shovel of dirt, and money was collected from Terracor and various Pinery residents to further the project. At this same time, Walt Mueller was chairing a committee to ensure enjoyment of Bingham Lake for all Pinery residents. The June Newsletter noted that Walt's committee had received more than $1,000 in pledges from homeowners, but needed more to fund what was necessary at the site. Their plans included not only restocking the lake, but trash collection, tables, parking, erosion elimination, proper signs, an aeration system, planting of trees, and more - a lot of work for the volunteer homeowners!
The August Newsletter told of improvements: new picnic benches had been installed, the dock was cleaned, and grass mowed around the lake. Terracor and the Pinery Country Club had helped with the finances, and homeowners had donated over $1,300 for an aeration system.
But Walt was concerned: teenage vandalism and alcohol consumption were taking place at night by the lake. Terracor established operation hours for the area and the sheriff's department instituted regular patrols to enforce good behavior and the curfew hours. A word of caution was added: parents were liable for the acts of minors.
The November Newsletter reported that the lake had been stocked with trout. Many residents had donated in excess of $1,000, and the committee had installed more lights, additional landscaping. and a workable set of rules and regulations to make Bingham Lake a prime place for recreation.
Unfortunately, 23 years later new delinquents' vandalism continues. Parents, do you know where your children are?
More Pinery Memories... Norma and Larry Miller bought their lot in the Pinery in 1975. Moving day for the Miller family took place in June of 1976; theirs was the first home built on Shavano. When they moved in, there was water and electricity for their new house, but no gas, so their house was - and is - heated by electricity. Not too long after they took possession, they were able to get telephone service with a 2-party line. Norma remembers the hot air balloons taking off and, although she never soared in one, she took her two young children often to watch the launchings.
The PHA wanted a park for the residents. Norma and Larry were among the volunteers who went door to door soliciting donations from other residents to make a baseball field for the park. Larry also worked on installing a sprinkler system there and acquired a backstop for the baseball field. While Norma worked as a volunteer at Northeast Elementary, Larry organized a Pinery-wide road race in 1976, which he managed for about four years. The race was 10 kilometers; the runners numbered about 50 the first year. By 1979, 500 runners were involved, but traffic was heavier on the roads, so Larry began devoting his energies to a relay race from Cherry Creek High School through Douglas County to Colorado Springs.
The first buildings in the Pinery were the townhouses. Norma recalled that the tennis dome at the country club was once a source of contention. The residents were asked if they would prefer a dome over the tennis courts or the swimming pool. The majority favored the pool, but country club management chose the courts. By 1979, more houses and paved roads came into being. Today, in spite of the growth and the traffic along Parker Road, the Millers enjoy their home. Says Norma, "There's no place we'd rather be."
Animals Of The Pinery... People aren't the only residents of the Pinery. Before settlers came, buffalo roamed the grasslands, supplying food, clothing, and tepees for the Indians. With their disappearance, other animals populated the area: cougars, bears, deer, coyotes, and other smaller animals, as well as raptors. Most of us have learned to share the land and enjoy their presence.
Cougars are shy, but each snowfall shows evidence of one passing, with the footprints well defined. A neighbor with a skylight glanced upward once to find a cougar alternately looking through the skylight and watching a small herd of deer nearby. A black bear appeared recently in the Pinery, seeking food, which was scarce in his normal habitat.
I was fortunate to witness a romantic interlude between a fox and his vixen in our yard. This fox was so tame he would sit on the road, watching youngsters throw a Frisbee back and forth. The mule deer bring their fawns, use our yard to rest after foraging, and the does chase any buck that dares to follow them. They forage in our garden and listen intently when I chastise them, but go right on eating the plants!
We have two dens of coyotes nearby. At night the pups and parents yip as the young ones are taught to hunt. When gardening one day, a half-grown pup raced by me; I had disturbed him at his nap.
Prairie falcons and eagles are fun to watch. Sometimes hunting, sometimes enjoying the thermals, they epitomize freedom. But my favorite raptors are great horned owls. We were serenaded by a male and female outside our window, "hooting" a lovely duet. The harmony was beautiful until one of them missed a note, causing the rest of their courting song to be out of sync! That night we fell asleep smiling.
Parker Road Traffic... The January 30, 1979 Pinery Newsletter had an article about Parker Road, written by resident Frank Thompson. It was entitled, "Only the Brave Dare Drive Parker Road.” Mr. Thompson stated, "The population growth ... has brought about an... increase in traffic. Throughout most of the daytime, this road is congested with a flow of traffic that far exceeds its ability to handle.
Sound familiar? Remember, this quotation dates from 1979! At that time, the Highway Department was considering five methods of improving Highway 83. One of the choices was to do nothing except for normal maintenance. Three of the remaining four solutions were to widen the road to four lanes.
Of these, one would follow the existing alignment with paved 8-foot shoulders and the addition of acceleration/deceleration lanes at some intersections. Another would also follow the alignment, but the lanes would be 12-feet wide with 10-foot shoulders and a concrete barrier within a paved median. The next option was the same, but with a 32-foot wide depressed grass median. The final choice would also have 12-foot lanes and the requisite median, but its alignment would deviate from the existing road near Parker. Just west of Parker, a by-pass would start at Douglas County Rd. #4, run parallel to the existing Parker Road and Cherry Creek for 3 miles, then tie into an existing road further on.
An environmental impact study was necessary even in 1979. Mr. Thompson said that at the normal rate of such things, "we may see a new road start under construction in about 4 more years." (He was an optimist!) He appealed to Pinery residents to contact legislators to see if anything could be done to hasten the process. The PHA made it their number one goal to "make a concerted effort and campaign to expedite the widening of Parker Road.”
End of Summer Thoughts... A long hot summer has given way to autumn. In July a sneaky hailstorm hit parts of the Pinery, leaving roofs damaged, paint pockmarked, and homeowners calling their insurance agents. The fishing contest was held; the Pinery Pedal was a great success, and in spite of many days over 90 degrees and forest fires, the stalwart joggers, runners, walkers, and determined cyclist got their daily exercise. Picnics and cookouts took place - an excellent way to touch base with your neighbors.
Perusing old copies of the Pinery Newsletter from 1978 to the 1980's, I found many things had changed, but essentially stayed the same through the years. R.V. storage was a big topic in 1978-1979. The Newsletter described the size of the lots, the cost, and necessary insurance. The first phase of it was open for business by November, 1979.
Fund-raising for parks in the Pinery took place, and the first park was completed by 1979. Bingham Lake had money set aside for renovation and improvement, some earmarked to repair vandalism.
The HOA had set aside a "Trash Bash" day, when residents would pick up paper, plastic, bottles, etc. on their property, vacant lots, and neighbors' lawns to keep the Pinery beautiful. This became a yearly event.
The first fishing derby I came upon in back issues was scheduled for May 17, 1982. A snowstorm postponed it until June 15.
Kudos to all Pinery officers and volunteers, past and present, for multiple jobs well-done!
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