No Man's Land

The unincorporated Adams family.

"It might have been a landfill once, too," she says. "See those vents sticking out of the ground? And old manhole covers -- what's with that?"

Passing an ancient La-Z-Boy and a pile of tortured rebar, she finds herself on a ridge above a dry creek bed. Willows and cottonwoods rustle in the wind, dulling the sounds of the trailer park and Denver's Willis Case Golf Course off the far reaches of the property. Then she comes upon a gaping hole exposing a large, old concrete conduit.

"They want $500,000, is what I hear," she muses. "But something's wrong with it. It would cost a lot to clean up. Look at all this. It's huge. Was it always for trash, or what?"

The soft sell: Cathy Morales (left), Victor Sanchez and Bernie Drayton at the vacant lot on Sheridan.
The soft sell: Cathy Morales (left), Victor Sanchez and Bernie Drayton at the vacant lot on Sheridan.

What. Deep in the underbrush, she comes upon the largest cottonwood of all, rising from the grip of a gigantic domestic rose bush. With twelve-foot woody canes and huge orange hips, it's the kind of plant that was put here on purpose and then, in the face of complete neglect, prospered.

"Five hundred thousand dollars," Cathy repeats. "My family could think about buying it, maybe. Maybe a piece of it. I really want to open a Mexican restaurant. There isn't one on Sheridan for miles. People ask me to make them chile, and when I'm in Mexico, I get these great rolled tacos with the red sauce. I just love them, and you can't get them here..."

And she'll put this latest deal together when? In her spare time?

"I just need a little piece of this land," she decides. "And you know, I love to cook."

In the coming months, Robin Chotzinoff will commemorate Westword's 25th anniversary with 25 profiles of Denver today. Click here to read these stories.

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