Tragic story behind red ribbons on Park Hill street

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DENVER -- Every December on Clermont Street between 22nd and 23rd avenues, bows, wrapped around each tree.

"This really, really made me feel good when I looked out and saw that it was all the way down (the street)," said longtime Park Hill resident Pam Hartman.

"We've had people go, 'Why do you have ribbons on your tree?'"

Neighbors say each bow and each tree sends a message about something ugly that happened in the neighborhood 24 years ago.

"On Halloween, we had a murder," Hartman said.

"In 1993, Carl Banks (Jr.) was trick-or-treating with other kids in the neighborhood, taking some younger kids out, and he was shot and killed," neighbor Steve Lange said.

"And it was a drive-by, and he was murdered right there on the corner.

"It was a big news story, and it was a scary time. So the folks on this block every year since then have hung red bows on all these trees to help keep his memory alive."

Twenty-four years later, neighbors have come and gone. But every year old-timers leave a flyer at each home, explaining the back story.

"When we first moved in to this street, we heard about it from the neighbors, and we've explained it to the kids," Lange said. "We're surrounded by so many good folks.

"You hear bad news, but it's not all bad news out there.  So many people care."

"We need to have this feeling of community," Hartman said.