Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. It isn’t a very big piece of land. Maybe enough for a few benches, a place to sit near the creek; a picnic table or two; flowers; an umbrella—and perhaps the best part, it could be the beginning of a path that meanders along beside Middle Boulder Creek. The creek has always bisected the town. Perhaps one small piece of land could be the start of connecting Nederland, one end to the other.
On Friday night, Nederland’s Centennial Bank opened the chilled wine, threw some wienies on the grill and closed off their parking lot, opening the space to a party. The bank staff and management, town administrators, residents, and passersby danced to Nokuthula’s Afro-pop rhythms, with the whole band performing.
It was all about a third of an acre that sits between the creek and the bank. It is thick with willows. There is a path along the top of the bank that has long been used by town children wending their way along the creek to the frog pond. The creekside land is privately owned on each side to the middle of the stream. The Town of Nederland owns the property across the creek next to the town parking lot.
Last week, Centennial Bank announced that it was donating the piece of land between the bank and the creek to the town of Nederland.
Susan Schneider, Centennial Bank Community Bank Manager, is also on the Nederland Downtown Development Authority. She says, “We try to keep up with the Nederland Master Plan and a walking path has always been part of it. We have also talked about a town square across from the parking lot. We don’t know if it’s feasible yet, but the Town will have the best shot at getting a grant.”
It would be an environmental process, getting a biologist to determine the wetlands status and if it would be ecologically sustainable, but donating the land seemed the most productive option.
Schneider says, “When I asked the corporate administrators what they thought of the idea, I didn’t think they would do it. At first they said, ‘We’ll see.’” Then they said, ‘Let’s give it to them.’”
Centennial Bank Chief Operating Officer Dennis Santistevan says that when he looked at the town plans for a trail system and the proximity to the bank, it made all the sense in the world to become a part of that future.
“It was Susan’s idea and we were receptive to it. Town Administrator Alisha Reis showed us the plans. It is now up to the town to figure out what to do with the trail system.”
Nederland Mayor Joe Gierlach formally accepted the donation in front of the land where a plaque has been placed acknowledging the transaction. He said, “This is a key element to the community on this side of the bridge. The creek will actually be used locally. I am thrilled and appreciate the work the town staff did to aid in the process. This is a real gem for our community.”
About 100 people showed up in the course of the evening. It was balmy weather and everyone enjoyed the music, the food, the good cheer, and the feeling of community next to the creek in the middle of town.