Boulder, Colorado's Sesquicentennial

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Boulder, Colorado's Sesquicentennial  (2009)  by Jared Schutz Polis

Boulder, Colorado's Sesquicentennial



Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mr. POLIS. Madam Speaker, I rise today in recognition of the 150th birthday of my home town, Boulder, Colorado.

Boulder is a special place. When I meet people from other parts of the country who have passed through our fair state, the very mention of Boulder always brings a smile to their face. On February 10, 1859, settlers from the Nebraska Territory (the beginnings of a world renowned college football rivalry perhaps) founded the "Boulder City Town Company." From its birth, our city has been a shining example of what is possible with a civic minded populace.

From our humble beginning as a supply town for miners, to the national leader in smart growth and environmental stewardship we are today, Boulder has always been dedicated to the careful balance of entrepreneurship and wise land use.

The beauty of our natural surroundings has caused generations of Boulderites to value our town and to embrace a life of grace rather than greed. Over the years, Boulder residents have taken extraordinary measures to mesh the human environment seamlessly with our natural environment. Through a citizen initiative, we brought Frederick Law Olmstead to Boulder at the beginning of the 20th century to craft a vision plan for our city designed to highlight our natural treasures such as Boulder Creek and the Flatirons. In 1959, our residents took action to create the "blue-line" to preserve the mountain backdrop, and made Boulder the first city in the nation to impose a tax for land conservation. We purchased the Arapahoe Glacier to ensure a source of drinking water for our residents and agricultural uses. Boulder was also the first community to adopt a "carbon tax" to deal with the crisis of climate change. Today, our open space program has made Boulder the envy of many an over-crowded community and is now a model duplicated state and nationwide.

Boulder's commitment to the environment is equaled by its commitment to the community and especially to education. The Colorado Territory's first class of high school seniors graduated in Boulder. When Colorado became a state in 1874, Boulder citizens pooled their resources and raised $15,000, a fortune in those days, to build the state's first public university. The vibrant culture surrounding this top tier institution of higher learning--full of philosophical debate, football, and foreign exchange--has created the colorful lifestyle that makes our town unique.

Our highly skilled workforce has attracted world class employers, such as IBM, Ball Aerospace, and Roche Pharmaceuticals Boulder, as well as some of the nation's premier research institutes, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

The heart of Boulder is our award winning Downtown. Boulder's small businesses are the life blood of our community and give Boulder the special sense of place that is loved by residents and visitors alike. For more than 50 years, Boulder residents have relied on the Boulderado, McGuckins Hardware, and The Sink. The Pearl Street Mall and our Downtown, both easily accessible by pedestrians, drivers and bicyclists, are national models of smart urban development. The eclectic mix of housing, independent retailers and commercial enterprises give Boulder an economic driver that many larger communities envy.

I congratulate my fellow Boulderites on 150 years of progress and prosperity, and look forward with great anticipation of what the future holds for our diverse and vibrant community.

Happy Birthday, Boulder.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).