Simon, Harold C., Jr. "Bud"

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .


Bud Simon

1947 - 2010


Raised in Milford, Ohio; relocated to Evergreen in 1978 with wife Shirley.

With a degree in landscape architecture, Bud Simon had a profound influence on the visual appeal of numerous parts of the Evergreen community.

He was a respected leader in his field who worked largely behind the scenes in a specialized and integral part of large projects, often influencing key people such as developers, planning and zoning officials, attorneys, county commissioners, forestry officials at the state and federal level, and property owners.

During a period where the Evergreen community reacted to the rapid development of the 1970s and '80s by vehemently opposing most planning and zoning proposals, developers and community leaders who engaged Bud in their projects were generally rewarded by considerably less opposition from the public as a result.

A master at herding cats

Shirley identified his forte as "herding cats."  He was well known for "brokering deals where everyone could be happy in the end.  He practiced responsible development without destroying the essence of what attracted people to the area in the first place," she explained.  His basic love of the outdoors and open space – particularly big, beautiful trees – made work a joy, devoting more than 30 years of his career with DHM Design in Denver.

"He cared about what he did and put full effort into everything," commented Rich Cassens, an engineer who worked with Bud on numerous projects.

Bud was a story-teller but could sit quietly for long periods of time in a group session or board meeting, having a tremendous impact when he did choose to speak up.  It was Bud's dry sense of humor that frequently diffused tense situations before they got out of control.

Because Evergreen was his home, he took particular pride in working with and volunteering for the Mountain Area Land Trust (MALT) where he was a board member for more than 15 years.  His professional services were an important part of the success of nearly every land deal accomplished by MALT before and during his tenure, involving upwards of 10,000 acres in an area stretching through the mountainous portions of Clear Creek, Jefferson, and Park Counties.

"Bud embodied the way to get things done in this community," according to Tandy Jones, a fellow board member at MALT.  "He knew how to be civil and completely apolitical and had a magnificent sense of how to get along with people.  Even with opponents he would have a good relationship.  He was so balanced!  He was a gentle soul on a mission to make things look aesthetically pleasing."

Noble Meadow his pride and joy

Of all the hundreds of projects he worked on professionally, he was perhaps proudest of Noble Meadow, the ambitious inaugural project for MALT in 1994.  He was the one who put the bug in developer John Thompson's ear that working with the land trust to protect the meadow from development could be a win:win for everyone.  Thompson had been his client for a number of years on such projects as The Ridge at Hiwan (1985 - 2002).  There had been several contentious efforts to block development of the prominent meadow prior to MALT's long-term solution that garnered 96% voter approval in a record turnout at a special election.

While concentrating commercial building space in one end of Noble Meadow and scoping out acreage for athletic fields and a recreation center nearby, Simon was able to identify 398 acres to remain undeveloped in perpetuity.  Of that figure, 281 acres would be preserved under a private conservation easement and another 117 would be purchased by Jefferson County Open Space and annexed into Elk Meadow Open Space Park.  His ability to bring four attorneys together, each representing a different interest in the process, and reaching consensus, was indicative of Bud's innate ability to work well with people.

As part of that project, Bud loved to take credit for creation of Elk Bridge, the elevated portion of Evergreen Parkway that enables elk to pass underneath, thus reducing the wildlife crossings of the highway and resulting accidents with vehicles.  It took convincing the State Highway Department that it was a safety issue, just one example of Bud's ability to work behind the scenes for the greater good of the community. As much as he was concerned with safety, however, Bud was opposed to the box culvert alternative that would have created a great deal of concrete and not aesthetically pleasing in what has become the breathtaking entry to Evergreen.

At the Buchanan Recreation Center, Bud worked to save the stand of trees that could easily have been cut down, flagging each of them carefully and issuing warnings they'd better not be damaged!

The Berrien Ranch near Marshdale was another project that Bud referred to with pride.  The 460-acre ranch was platted for development as a rural cluster of 26 homes with 300 acres falling under a private conservation easement, which protects that portion of the land from ever being developed.

It was Bud's job to look at large parcels of land (for development and/or for protection) and to determine where the lot lines would go.  His eye for locating building sites would keep the construction of homes away from the crest of a hill, putting a property line there instead, forcing a structure to be less visible.

When a landowner would put a large parcel of land into a conservation easement, retaining one or more building envelopes on which family members might construct a home in the future, Bud would work backwards – but meticulously – to identify the best building locations, then how to get to them, ensuring a separation of privacy for the lots determined, according to Heather Scott, his design assistant at DHM.  "Bud never did the bare minimum ... he beautified the space and would take it 10 steps better" than the regulations required to make it more appealing.

"He never drew a straight line or corners in his planning. 'Nowhere in nature do corners meet,' he would say," Heather recalled.  However, he always used a straight edge to form letters giving the look of an architectural font whenever he wrote a note or signed his name.

Bud's efforts on open space issues extended to other parts of the state, including areas like Steamboat Springs and Carbondale where he represented DHM Design to help ranchers hold onto their land and leave a legacy.

Projects in the Evergreen area:

  • The Ridge at Hiwan
  • The Island at Hiwan and redesign of the golf course
  • The Greens at Hiwan
  • Forest Heights Lodge
  • The Promontory
  • Noble Meadow
  • Buchanan Recreation Center
  • Troutdale in the Pines housing development
  • Kerr Gulch Estates
  • Trails through downtown Evergreen (preliminary, never completed)
  • Goldenrod Estates
  • Berrien Ranch
  • Beaver Brook Watershed
  • Trails near Tanoa
  • Cubmont Estates
  • Marshdale Elementary School
  • EPRD Ballfields at Marshdale
  • King-Murphy Elementary School
  • Phase One of the People Path
  • Various trails and bike paths
  • Red Fox Run
  • Silver Rock
  • Genesee
  • Clear Creek Office Park
  • Original Master Plan for Buchanan Park
  • Staunton State Park
In 2002 MALT awarded DHM Design with its Stewardship Award because of Bud's sustained involvement with the land trust and professional contributions to nearly every one of its projects.  In 2010 he was posthumously named MALT's "Preservationist of the Year."  At that time, MALT announced the award would henceforth carry his name as "The Bud Simon Preservationist of the Year Award."
Sources:  Shirley Simon, Rich Cassens, Tandy Jones, Heather Scott, Linda Kirkpatrick