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It’s not easy to forget the Cold War’s impact on the landscape just northwest of Arvada, where the country’s only factory to mass-produce atomic bomb plutonium pits once sat. Twenty-five years ago, the FBI and the Environmental Protection Agency raided and subsequently closed the 6,500-acre site. Since then, Rocky Flats has regularly returned to the headlines as the subject of several lawsuits: In 1992, operators pleaded guilty to criminally violating environmental law, and since 2000, more than 4,000 claims have been filed for medical compensation by workers who say their illnesses were caused by radiation exposure.
This month, the Arvada Center for the Arts takes a look back at the area, which is now a wildlife refuge. “Rocky Flats Then and Now: 25 Years After the Raid” (June 6 to 8) presents diverse perspectives on the lasting impact of those events—and the environmental and health lessons learned since—through an art and history exhibit (don’t miss photographs of protesters in 1963 and 1983) and panel discussions featuring one-time workers and government officials, including former Colorado Governor Roy Romer.
5280.com Exclusive: Click through the slideshow above for a sneak peek at images from the exhibit.