A big year for a Golden

Posted 12/26/12

Golden shined bright in 2012, serving as the backdrop for events big and small, including an official visit by the president of the United States. …

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A big year for a Golden

Golden shined bright in 2012, serving as the backdrop for events big and small, including an official visit by the president of the United States. Over the summer, visitors flocked to the city, both for a long list of special events, and to relax along the creek. Here are some of the biggest stories from the year, in no particular order:
Obama’s visit
Colorado, and Jefferson County in particular, saw an unprecedented level of attention from the presidential candidates this election cycle. And in September, President Barack Obama became perhaps the first sitting president since Ulysses S. Grant to make an official stop inside Golden city limits. He spoke at a campaign rally in front of an estimated 8,400 people in Lions Park.
Obama began his speech with, “This is just too pretty. I just don’t know how you get any work done around here.” 
Pro Challenge Cycles back around
When a multi-day sporting event that generates international exposure and an estimated $99.6 million in economic benefits is looking for host cities, there is bound to be a lot of competition. But for the first two years of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Golden had the privilege of being selected as a start-line city.
Thousands packed the streets this August as many of the top cyclists in the world signed pre-race autographs before lining up underneath the “Welcome to Golden” arch for the start of the day’s competition. The racers made three parade laps around downtown Golden before speeding out of the city. The racers were gone in a matter of minutes, but the crowds seemed to stay, filling Parfet Park for a cycle-centric festival.
Occupy Clear Creek
For many, 2012 will be remembered as the year that the hordes descended on the banks of Clear Creek. A dry winter, followed by record-breaking temperatures in the summer brought thousands to hang out on the cool and shady banks of the creek, or tubing down its gentle rapids, a very attractive thing to do. The sheer volume of people led to erosion problems, while the Golden Police Department wrote hundreds of citation reminders that open alcoholic beverage containers were still illegal in the creek.
Being “too” popular would be a problem most cities would love to have, but one that Golden will have to deal with in the years to come.
Tequilas fire
A late night fire destroyed a well-known Mexican restaurant in October. The Tequila’s on South Golden Road was actually the first restaurant in the chain to open, and was a labor of love according to owner Rodrigo Sanchez. He has promised to rebuild and reopen.
Bear family
What started out as an amusing story of humankind interacting with nature turned tragic this year. In late August, a mama black bear and her three cubs took a trip into north Golden, probably attracted by the ripening fruit on backyard trees. The family spent a day in a tree along Tucker Gulch, while officials kept people at a safe distance. Unfortunately, at least two of the cubs were struck and killed by vehicles before the family headed back into the wilderness.
Ford slims down
Ford Street, between 14th and 10th streets, was repaved this fall, but the new lane striping revealed a new kind of road. Ford had gone from four lanes to one lane in both directions, with a center turn lane. That extra space was used to try and make the road section safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Not everyone was thrilled at first, but the city’s transportation projections seem to have been accurate — the narrowing has not caused the traffic jams that were feared.
Brokaw gets coffee
On the eve of the first 2012 Presidential Debate, veteran newsman and bestselling author Tom Brokaw stopped by the Windy Saddle Café in Golden to interview a few local residents who remained undecided voters. The NBC Nightly News interviews revealed just how much of a swing state, and swing county, Golden finds itself in.
South side trailblazed
For 16 years now, the city has wanted to install a trail along the south side of Clear Creek, extending from the Clear Creek History Park to existing trails near the Highway 6 bridge. Late this year, those plans became a reality. All but a small section has been built. The final bit will be done by spring 2013, after the Colorado School of Mines completes some sports bleacher renovations.
Amazing Race, amazing charity
Golden resident Mark “Abba” Abbattista was one half of the “rocker” team on the 21st season of the reality show “The Amazing Race.” With his longtime friend, professional rock musician James LoMenzo, Abba raced around the world in an attempt to win $1 million, until stolen passports in Russia ended their chances. Back home Abbattista became a different kind of winner by hosting a series of special events to raise funds for Jefferson County School’s Outdoor Lab program.
New city flag
Dozens of submissions, and more than 18,000 online votes helped give Golden a new flag to fly over City Hall. The new flag was officially hoisted for the first time during the city’s Buffalo Bill Days annual celebration.
golden, year in review


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