Rant: Lincoln Park’s not-so-shiny look.

Colorado’s state parks are remarkable. From monumental peaks and vast valleys to open green space and wildlife-filled forests, we’ve all come to realize that our state parks are top notch. But there is one state park (even though it is in the middle of Denver) that doesn’t seem to fit with the others, and it sits right in front of our capitol building. Lincoln Park, which is bound by Lincoln Street, Broadway, Colfax Avenue, and 14th Avenue, has become an unfriendly plot of land—thanks to a lot of litter—right in our city’s center. The disheveled look would imply that it’s time someone tidied the place up, but it’s not like the state isn’t trying.

Communication director of the Department of Personnel and Administration Sabrina D’Agosta says that a Capitol Complex Grounds Crew of two to four employees heads out each morning to fills bags and bags of trash with litter from the park. There is so much garbage that they have to bring in a small tractor to haul it out. But don’t think about helping out: A number of health hazards (like syringes) make a public cleanup effort more of a safety issue than an asset. “It’s terrible how this park is mistreated,” D’Agosta says, “but, it’s been this way for awhile.”

As a visitor or native, this place should be a sense of Colorado pride. If I were from out of town, I may want my picture by the Capitol steps or to enjoy a quick lunch in the park before a tour. Even as a person who works downtown, a walk down the 16th Street Mall and lunch in front of the Capitol would be a nice break. But the way the lawn looks right now, I think I’ll pass.

Rave: Colorado Rapids’ fans

I went to a Colorado Rapids game last Saturday and just three minutes into the match, my head was spinning. There were at least two live drumming sections that played the whole game. Scarf-wrapped shoulders jumped up and down as the crowd pulsed with every made or missed call on the field. Fans yelled rhythmic chants and sang “European-y” soccer songs. Between the confetti bursts, I could barely keep my eyes on the game action.

As the final minutes ticked off the game clock and Rapids fans began to cheer the win, even the opposing (and losing) team continued their celebration and greeted their team with sweaty hugs and high-fives as they left the field. The lesson? People who love soccer, really love soccer. I overheard parents explaining the game to their mini kickers and groups of super fans calling analysis of movement, momentum, and players. The kids sitting next to me were talking stats and trading MLS soccer cards like I used to do with baseball cards. With just more than 15,000 as an average attendance, the Rapids crew is becoming a futbol fan club to be reckoned with on the Colorado sports scene.

—Photo courtesy of Garrett Ellwood, Colorado Rapids