By Jamie Leary

MORRISON, Colo. (CBS4) – Red Rocks Amphitheatre says a pilot project to restore the historic flower boxes at the venue would not ruin the aesthetics or unnecessarily destroy trees.

(credit: CBS)

“In the pilot program, we would take four of the planter boxes that currently exist, two in front of the spotlight booths and two at the top and where there’s tress that aren’t there we would add trees and additional veg to the outer half of the planter box to provide some screening between the outside stairs and the seating area,” said venue director, Tad Bowman.

“That was one of the original intents of the planter boxes. Then on the inner half of the planter box where concertgoers today use it as a viewing area for the shows, we would improve the surface of that with a hardscape,” he said.

There would be an additional guardrail added to bring the standing area up to code and make it safer for those in the standing area.

(credit: CBS)

While there have been mounting concerns about tree removal, Bowman says there are one to two trees slated to be removed in the pilot project.

An arborist determined there are currently 46 unhealthy trees around the venue.

If the project progresses, Red Rocks says it will replace many of the ones that need to be removed and gave no indication that all 46 would have to go.

“We’ve done an assessment of all of the trees and the only trees that would be removed are the ones that are in poor condition, and if they are, then they get replaced with new trees. The trees that are in good condition wouldn’t be touched as part of the pilot program or any program moving forward,” said Bowman.

The group named Friends of Red Rocks has been vocal about the plan, once fighting, and winning, a plan to reserve the boxes for corporate seating.

(credit: CBS)

This plan has no intention of designating corporate seating, but Friends of Red Rocks would prefer to see no concrete and no guard rails.

“Part of the proposition is that some of the trees will be replanted, but half of the box would be paved in some way. So, concrete, that does require some removal of some of the trees,” said Lisa Klotz, a board member for Friends of Red Rocks.

Klotz says concrete destroys opportunity for vegetation, and guardrails take away 75 years of natural beauty. She calls it an “attractive nuisance” and fears any paving of the boxes could lead to reserved seating.

“I think at the point that you pave and you put in railings, you have no barrier at this point into making it into corporate box seating.”

Current management is adamant that will not be the case.

Red Rocks plans to present the plan to the Landmark Preservation Commission next Tuesday for approval.

Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn’t imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.