Vandalism to mean Bijou Hill closure next July 4

       After reports of about 200 people partying in the parking lot on Bijou Hill July 4 - including some who tried to break into the vacant restaurant building - Eric Allen plans to hire “a couple of sheriffs” on that holiday next year to block off the area.

A deer (rear, right) forages amid high weeds in the parking lot of a former restaurant site on the Bijou Hill. City-approved plans would allow the building (left) to become a wedding event center. But at present the site continues to be a vandal magnet - and was especially so the night of July 4.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Allen is vice president of operations and managing partner of the Pinery at Black Forest. The Pinery ownership owns the 2¾-acre Bijou Hill site (which still has “Colorado Fish Market” on a sign visible from I-25) and has city approval to open a wedding event center there, similar to the one it now operates in Black Forest. But with the weak economy, the Pinery is still looking for investors to make it happen.
       In a recent interview, Allen said that in addition to the building break-in attempts, he has been told there were incidents of drinking and vandalism the night of July 4, and afterward “trash was everywhere.” The damage could even have been worse, he said, had it not started to rain. As it was, Allen said, the cleanup and fix-up were so costly it would have been cheaper to hire officers for the night to keep people out of the parking lot altogether. The lot can't be fenced off permanently because it is used for access by a few people who live nearby.
       Allen said he is aware that every year on July 4 many “good families” go to the hill, in the 700 block of West Bijou Street, because it affords an excellent view of fireworks in nearly all directions, “but it just takes a few to ruin it for everyone.”
       The Pinery already had to spend money repairing and securing the Bijou Hill building earlier this year, after it was found that vandals had broken inside. Also, according to City Code Enforcement, there were poorly installed boards on several windows.

Westside Pioneer article