Pleasant Valley finally gets entryway
Sign, landscaping on 31st Street traffic island identifies neighborhood
The saga of Pleasant Valley's entryway came to a happy close last week when city crews installed a large rock on 31st Street identifying the Westside neighborhood.
With “Pleasant Valley” etched in front, the flat-faced limestone marker sits near the front of a roughly 5,000-square-foot traffic island, next to Kiowa Street and just south of where 31st's north and south lanes divide on either side of the Camp Creek ditch.
Formerly paved in its entirety, the island now displays, in addition to the sign, an expanse of xeriscape bushes with round stones around the exterior.
The installation climaxed a three-year effort by the Pleasant Valley Neighborhood Association (PVNA), which represents the 840-home subdivision built in the '50s and '60s along either side of 31st from Kiowa north to the street's dead end at Chambers Way.
In addition to its advocacy with the city, the PVNA planted the bushes, took responsibility for their maintenance, decided on the sign type, and donated $500 to help City Parks with costs.
“It's a relief that it's done,” commented Jim Corcoran, a long-time Pleasant Valley resident who led the project with his wife, Carol. He credited Pat Kaufman, a design engineer who previously lived in Pleasant Valley, with having the original brainstorm in about the year 2001. “She came down and brought me a drawing she thought we could work in,” said Corcoran, who was working with a group of 31st Street residents at the time, then was elected PVNA president in 2002-04. He and others in the neighborhood liked the idea of transforming the unmarked, paved island. “It was an ugly way to get into the area. Pleasant Valley deserves a better way to get in than that.”
Additionally, there was the concept that “an attractive entrance supposedly slows down traffic,” Corcoran said. “Whether it will or not is anyone's guess, but that's one of the main reasons we got involved to begin with.”
So he began talking to the city about what it would take. At first things didn't go so well. Without direction otherwise from elected officials, city staff people provided Corcoran with a daunting list of costs and permit requirements.
At one point, Corcoran got so frustrated that he remarked it would be easier to bring back houses of ill repute in Old Colorado City than to give Pleasant Valley a beautified entryway.
The plan got a lift in 2005 when City Councilman Scott Hente, whose District 5 includes Pleasant Valley, was able to gain support for his contention that 31st Street is used by many people going through the neighborhood en route to the Garden of the Gods and Rock Ledge Ranch and, as such, deserves identification and a nice- looking public appearance. As a result, the entryway became a city project, and it was just a matter of time till it was completed.
No dedication ceremony is planned at this time, but Corcoran and current PVNA President Dick Wulf are looking into a possible commemorative event at the site later this summer that would honor Hente, as well as other dignitaries who helped, including County Commissioner/ Westside leader Sallie Clark, Council of Neighbors and Organizations (CONO) President Jan Doran and City Parks Director Paul Butcher.
Westside Pioneer article