Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Aurelia Pollard

Benches dedicated at Lefthand Valley Grange Park


November 9, 2016

Photo by Karen Copperberg Pictured left to right are Caden Weihe, “Ming Ming” and Joshua Weihe who helped Zhou Ming Sun through the entire Eagle Scout project, all from Troop 161 which meets at the Left Hand Grange.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, over 20 people gathered at the Lefthand Valley Grange Park in Niwot to celebrate the dedication of benches as part of Zhou Ming “Ming Ming” Sun’s Eagle Scout project.

Those in attendance were from Boulder County Parks and Open Space, Left Hand Grange No.9, Niwot Boy Scouts of America Pack 161, Niwot Historical Society, Niwot Community Association and other community members.

Stan Snyder, a landscape architect with Boulder County Parks and Open Space, was in charge of the project. He worked with a member of the Niwot Pack 161, who used this project as part of this project.

Eagle Scout candidate Sun spent a total of 129 hours, with the help of other scouts and a Boulder County crew. Snyder coordinated the project with Boulder County staff, which also includes an arborist. Three choke cherry trees and one oak tree were planted, with the hope that the oak may eventually shade the new benches.

The benches are located on the north side of Niwot Road, west of the Niwot Youth Sports ballfield at the corner of 83rd Street and Niwot Road. Kathy Koehler, president of the Niwot Historical Society, said, “The benches and seating area were designed in the shape of a baseball diamond to reflect on the BoCo field to the east in the park.”

A bronze plaque accompanies the benches and reads: “In memory of, and admiration for, the men and women of Left Hand Grange #9 Niwot, whose dedication to the land, and hard toil, helped settle this area.”

It also happened to be 40 years since the Lefthand Valley Grange Park was dedicated to the county in 1976. Bruce Johnson, secretary of the Niwot Grange, gave a brief history of the grange in this area.

He said since it was chartered in 1873, the Left Hand Grange is the oldest active grange in Boulder County and one of only three remaining. Originally, there were three baseball fields, known as Johnson Fields, on borrowed land at the corner of Neva Road and 83rd Street, but that land was eventually needed for housing. Gunbarrel Lefthand Valley Recreation Association, now known as Niwot Youth Sports, worked with Boulder County to build the permanent ballfield in the 1980s.

Koehler said the park land was dedicated by Royce Johnson as an area where kids could play baseball and softball. He wanted to call it the Lefthand Valley Grange Park “in honor of all the Granges in the valley that had helped farmers throughout the early years of farming. Johnson did not want it to be named after him.”

Toward the end of 2017 and early 2018, future improvements to a “social” path leading to the benches will be constructed, as well as a new culvert and larger parking lot at 83rd Street.


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