It’s not easy to find record of the history of the painted G on South Table Mountain —although at least some Golden old timers say it was put there in 1962 by then-Golden High School student …
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It’s not easy to find record of the history of the painted G on South Table Mountain —although at least some Golden old timers say it was put there in 1962 by then-Golden High School student Roger Dunn.
What is certain, however, is that in the decades since, the crudely painted emblem has come to loom large not only over the city but in the hearts and minds of residents to whom it can be both iconic and controversial. To some it’s a charming leftover from the past, to others a debasement of a beautiful rock face and still others a beloved — if perhaps flawed— symbol of the city.
Since moving to Golden a few years ago, Greg Ingalls has fallen into the middle camp. But he quickly found out the hard way about how deep passions and views on the G run when he posted on the popular Golden Friends and Neighbors community Facebook page about his desire to raise money to remove the G and surrounding graffiti and restore the rock face to its natural state.
The page was quickly flooded with dozens of impassioned comments — some in support but many decrying Ingalls desire to take away something so important to them.
“Being someone who was born (and) raised in Golden, in the house my dad grew up in which backs up to G … it’s perfect,” wrote one such commenter, Abby Young. “The history behind it means more than making it look pretty. Find a new hobby.”
Ingalls said that while he hadn’t necessarily expected the strong reactions, he appreciated them.
“It was really great to hear how people really cherish the symbol and find it nostalgic and something they really take pride in,” he said.
He also began rethinking his desire to remove the G.
“Maybe as an outsider first seeing it nine years ago it looks like vandalism and something that has fallen into disrepair and I think that’s because of all the vandalism to the face surrounding the G itself,” said Ingalls. “If we were able to maintain and get all of the rest of the surrounding, obscuring graffiti off, I think it is something that we could be super proud of and that could be more representative of the town and the city itself.”
So, Ingalls has reoriented his effort toward that goal and updated the GoFundMe fundraising page he originally posted on the friends and neighbors page with updated text about his goal of “correcting the G to something we are proud of.”
For Ingalls, that would probably involve “removing the surrounding graffiti and then probably repainting the G and “maybe kind of defining the corners a little bit not that’s unrecognizable to those who love it but just to make it look like something that was done by a professional and not necessarily by teenagers.”
For now, Ingalls is planning to try to continue to try to generate conversation and build support for his cause by bringing it up at an upcoming city council meeting. He is also planning to continue with the fundraiser — although he says he will now need to raise much less than the site’s original $11,000 goal.
That’s because he recently reached out to Keeping Colorado Beautiful, an organization dedicated to removing graffiti from natural areas, and learned they would be willing to do the project at a much-reduced cost.
Of course, any effort to (legally) alter the rock face would also require a greenlight from Jefferson County Open Space, which owns and manages South Table Mountain. Ingalls said he has reached out to JCOS about his project.
Matt Robbins, the community connections manager for JCOS, confirmed that his organization had heard from Ingalls about the project and is in the process of trying to learn more.
“I’m comfortable saying that this is an interesting endeavor,” Robbins said. “We’re just in the first couple of days. and I think we’re trying to better understand what his goal is. That’s kind of where we’re at.”
Robbins said the situation is an all-around unusual one as the G, which it inherited with South Table Mountain, is the only instance of JCOS allowing graffiti to remain in its parks and a citizen has never inquired about taking a formal approach to removing graffiti in a JCOS space.
Because of the unusual nature of the situation, Robbins said there is no clear process for how JCOS will evaluate the proposal and proceed. However, any change to the status quo would involve community input and some kind of formal agreement, he said. JCOS would also have to approve whoever was actually hired to do any work.
Ingalls also recently reached out to Golden High School about his effort and whether they have any position on repainting the G given its ties to the school. Golden High School students are believed to have been involved in upkeeping the G in the past in addition to creating it in the first place.
The school’s principal, Brian Conroy, expressed support for the project to Ingalls, in a response that was confirmed by Colorado Community Media.
“I am not sure who actually did the updating of the G, but I would 100% support the repainting of it and could supply some, not much, but some funding and if need be maybe some volunteers to help make it happen,” Conroy wrote.
While Ingalls wants to start a conversation and is hopeful his efforts will lead to a restoration of the G, he said he wants any decision about what to ultimately do to result from a community dialogue and process.
“If the community votes, I believe in the democratic process,” he said. “And if people say to completely remove it or to leave it alone, I would be on board for either one of those.”
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