Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Karle Seydel kept on pitching NoDo for Coors Field

Without the late Karle Seydel, Denver's major-league ballpark wouldn't have landed where Coors Field is today. There were three sites considered -- one on land owned by Phil Anschutz, who had a lot more clout than Seydel, an urban planner who was devoting himself to the area north of LoDo two decades ago.

But Seydel kept pushing, and eventually the stadium district came to see it his way.

Without Karle Seydel, Denver's major-league ballpark wouldn't have looked like Coors Field does today. After the location north of LoDo -- NoDough, Seydel had nicknamed it, although putting the ballpark there would turn it into NoDo -- was chosen, Seydel fought to make sure the project not only fit in the old warehouse district, but also paid homage to the great urban ballparks of decades past.

Without Karle Seydel, Denver's major-league ballpark likely wouldn't have looked like the area around Coors Field today. Even after the site was picked, even after the design changes were made, Seydel fought to make sure the unique character of the neighborhood remained -- working to save more than a century of history from being scraped off to create parking lots and big-box entertainment palaces.

The result is one of the most vibrant areas in the city today, with customers spilling out of bars and restaurants that occupy old Victorian storefronts. Even on non-game days.

But there will be a game at Coors Field this afternoon. And after it's done, as the sun sinks low off in left field, glinting off the purple Rockies, friends and fans of Seydel will gather at the nearby Redshift Gallery to raise a glass to the man who worked so hard, and for so little recognition, to make sure he left Denver this out-of-the-park ballpark.

You should, too.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun

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