Determining Bodo’s status is no walk in the park

Courtesy of Action Line

The sign at Bodo Drive clearly shows the site is supposed to be ranches and not a ‘park’ as most people call it.

If Bodo Park is a “park,” why are there no picnic facilities or places for children to play? Or does Durango’s definition of “park” mean weedy fields and heavy equipment surrounded by chain-link fence? – Bodo Observer

Like many places in and around Durango, the name we call something is not the name the site was given.

For instance, who calls the bridge behind Home Depot by its official name, the “Rivera Bridge?” No, it’s the Home Depot Bridge.

Think of “the mesa.” Everyone knows where “the mesa” is. Its residents proudly say, “I live out on the mesa.” But typing “the mesa” in MapQuest will get you nowhere.

Same thing with “the old Fort” or “Rio Grande Land.” Even the Henry Strater Theatre is better known as “the Hank.”

And so it goes with “Bodo Park.” Its official name is “Bodo Industrial Ranches,” as a recent visit there confirmed.

But that brings up another question. If ranches comprise Bodo, where are the sheep or cows?

So now we not only have an issue regarding the definition of “park,” but also the definition of “ranch.”

In true Durango fashion, “the Ranch” is a popular downtown establishment that serves adult leisure beverages.

However, one could make the case that “the Ranch” really is a ranch – because of the fact that animal husbandry occurs there on a nightly basis, most notably before last call.Meanwhile, back at the ranch (the Bodo one), it should be noted that the business “park” was never meant to be a place of recreation. It was founded in the 1970s by a consortium of local bankers known as the Durango Industrial Development Foundation.They designated the area for concentrated commercial use and light industry.Today, no longer on “the outskirts of town,” Bodo has evolved into offices, small business, hotels, retail – and a “warehouse” of a different nature: the county’s hoosegow.So in addition to housing insurance firms, CPA offices, La Plata Electric and local radio broadcasting operations, Bodo Industrial Ranches is home to a burgeoning roll call of local miscreants, ne’er-do-wells, riffraff, ruffians, hooligans, troublemakers and thugs.Maybe that proves that Bodo Park is really a ranch after all, especially considering the county jail’s plentiful fences and barbed wire. Don’t most ranches feature fences and barbed wire?

Anyway, if you want a park for Bodo Industrial Ranches, the area does have certain traits of what we associate with verdant public spaces.

For recreational facilities, there’s Fitness Solutions 24/7. You won’t find swing sets or monkey bars there, but the elliptical trainers and weights will more than suffice.

And what about gardens? Bodo has plenty of gardens!

The most popular Bodo garden is the beer garden at Ska Brewing Co.’s world headquarters on Girard Street, where the Thursday Ska-B-Q is a weekly shebang.Let’s not forget Bodo’s Bayfield Gardens, at least during the spring and summer months.For the indoor grower, there’s All Seasons Gardening, a Bodo-based provider of hydroponic supplies for folks who want to raise plants such as tomatoes and, um, other crops that thrive under artificial lights.

Bodo also has Parker Avenue, named for Steve Parker, a longtime Colorado Department of Tourism commissioner and retired banker. Back in the day, Steve was a member of the Durango Industrial Development Foundation.

Action Line bumped into Steve on a plane ride to Denver last week. “Bodo Park was one of the best things we did,” Steve said proudly.

“But is Bodo a park or a ranch?” asked Action Line.

Steve chuckled. “I suppose it’s both a ranch and park, because it’s all about growing business.”

Email questions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you wonder why they call it the Durango Tech Center when there are no software firms there.

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