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Parks and Public Spaces : Development News

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Riverfront plaza opens at Confluence Park



At long last, the new $9.3 million riverfront plaza at Confluence Park is finished.

The project stalled for more than a year after coal tar was discovered buried on the river’s west bank. Work restarted last December and wrapped up with the culmination of a ribbon cutting on Oct. 14.

The completion of Confluence Park marks the first project of Phase II of River Vision, the expanded plan to improve the South Platte River corridor and make it the premier outdoor recreation destination and environmental educational resource for the city and the state. Since 2012, multiple partner organizations have raised nearly $50 million toward the renovation of parks along the South Platte. Phase I of River Vision created more than 30 acres of new parkland and greenways, and Phase II will include four additional revitalization efforts north of Confluence Park.

“For our growing city, it’s never been more important to protect, preserve and grow our parks and recreational opportunities, and reclaiming the river has been vital in celebrating and cultivating new outdoor experiences for Denver residents,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said. “Phase I of the River Vision investment has already transformed the banks of the South Platte into a spectacular network of parks for residents to enjoy, and there are more great improvements to come.”

Phase I of River Vision broke ground in 2013 and wrapped up in the spring with the completion of Grant Frontier Park. It also included Johnson Habitat, Vanderbilt and Pasquinel’s Landing.

In addition to Shoemaker Plaza, Phase II will include:
  • Globeville Landing Park
  • Heron Pond/Northside Park Master Plan
  • River North (RiNo) Park
  • RiNo Promenade
The completely rebuilt Shoemaker Plaza is now ADA compliant and includes improved bicycle and pedestrian flow, increased river access and new gathering places meant to create a vibrant environment at Denver’s historic birthplace.
 

City and County Building gets new composition for chimes

A new composition has been installed in the 10-bell chime of the Denver City and County Building. 

“Ascent,” by artist Kevin Padworski, will be played on significant and special days for the City of Denver.

“The goal of the composition was to capture the essence of the people the music aimed to represent — the people of Denver,” Padworski says. “With a quickly growing population, full of diversity and a multitude of backgrounds, I sought to create the music that would evoke this catalytic energy. The task of composing for bells combined with a limitted set of pitches was a unique and exciting challenge and privilege.”

Padworski visited the building multiple times to play and hear the bell tower. He planted himself “on location” downtown so he was surrounded by people he could draw the music from. The composition features ascending musical lines that represent the city — its growth, the people, the topography of the state and hope in its future.

“Bells have such an iconic and timeless sound, and it is my hope that this new music can be heard in a new way to serve and inspire the people of this city,” Padworski said. 

Street artists to paint RiNo for CRUSH

Graffiti and street artists will descend on the RiNo to transform the neighborhood’s streets and alleys into an urban open-air gallery for the 7th annual CRUSH.

CRUSH celebrates the craft of graffiti and street artists who bring life to walls while maintaining the unique identity of the rapidly evolving community. It gives all ages and demographics a chance to experience graffiti and street art first hand. The event is a forum for community engagement and creative expression, inviting locals and visitors to engage in forward-thinking public art in Denver. 

Event organizers also will work with local youth artists, providing them unique opportunities to paint alongside the world’s best.

“These artists are building the creative culture right in front of our eyes,” says Amanda Kriss, program assistant at the RiNo Art District. “Besides working on walls, these artists are now gaining respect in the gallery community too, showing t heir work alongside other fine artists.”

The CRUSH event brings graffiti and street artists into the spotlight as a positive medium that unites the community through creativity and empowerment to make positive change in areas that may be disregarded.

“As a district, we’ve found that murals not only help with our graffiti issues but tend to attract people from all walks of life to enjoy free access to world-class artwork,” says Tracy Weil, the district’s creative director.

Centered on 27th and Larimer between 40th and Williams, CRUSH attracts 20,000 visitors to the district during the week of the event, scheduled for Sept. 11-17.

Oakwood Homes takes over Reunion development

Oakwood Homes has taken over as the master developer of Reunion, a 2,500-acre community in northeast Denver that is currently home to nearly 2,000 families.

Under terms of the agreement, Denver-based L.C. Fulenwider Inc. will continue to maintain ownership of the community while the master plan development transitions from Shea Homes to Oakwood.

“I am excited by the transition and know that Reunion and its residents will benefit from Oakwood Homes’ expertise in developing and implementing community-focused master plans,” says Cal Fulenwider, CEO of Fulenwider. “Shea Homes has been a tremendous partner in the initial development of Reunion, and I am confident that Oakwood Homes will be excellen stewards of the future expansion of this wonderful community.”

Oakwood’s plans for Reunion include additional residences, an active 50-plus adult community, enhancing educational opportunities for children and creating additional neighborhood amenities.

Originally established in 2001 as a Shea Homes Master Planned Community, Reunion encompasses more than 900 acres of mixed-use and commercial development within Commerce City. It houses a 21,000-square-foot recreation center, 152 acres of parks, an 18-hole golf course, 10 miles of trails, 8 acres of lakes and an adjacent grocery store and other retail amenities. Oakwood Homes is one of four home builders in the community and is currently building the 2017 St. Jude Dream Home in Reunion.

“Our mission is to create luxury homes that are accessible and customizable at every budget and stage of life,” says Pat Hamill, founder and CEO of Oakwood. “We will complement the existing personality of Reunion by creating community gathering spots for residents, expanding educational options for children and building quality homes that reflect the existing look and feel of community.”

Re-inventing the playground: Ground broken on Re-Imagine Play at Paco Sanchez Park

PCL Construction has broken ground on Denver Parks and Recreation’s Re-Imagine Play at Paco Sanchez Park. 

Re-Imagine Play is an innovative concept that goes beyond the traditional playground. It’s intended to be a multi-generational activity and play area that gives park users of all ages the opportunity to remain active and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

The $9 million project could include a Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course, new athletic fields and a walking loop dotted with play pods. The play equipment is designed to encourage interactive play so parents can play with their children. Structures will be large enough that kds and adults can fit in them.

The playground will be themed around music because Paco Sanchez, the namesake of the park, was a musician whose Spanish-language radio station was a central part of they city's Latino communities in post-war Denver.

Located at West 13th Avenue and Knox Court, Paco Sanchez Park was selected  because its playground equipment is in need of repair or replacement; it’s large enough for a big play area in a part of the city that’s underserved when it comes to open space; the location is accessible through multi-modal transit options; it’s near an existing recreation center; and it’s in a part of the city where childhood obesity is a growing issue.

Perry Row at Sloans model opens

Perry Row at Sloans is opening its model home this month and welcoming its first homeowners to the community. 

The model, located at 1569 N. Perry St., provides all the features and amenities found in the Perry Row at Sloans homes.

The three-bedroom home features an open floor plan, custom kitchen and baths by Caruso Kitchens of Denver, outdoor living spaces on all three floors, including a 700-square-foot rooftop patio with views of the mountains, downtown skyline and Sloans Lake Park, and a ground-floor mud room and private library.

More than half of the homes at Perry Row have already sold. The final phase of 16 homes will be released later this summer.

Prices for Perry Row townhomes, located in the Sloans district at the former St. Anthony Hospital site, range from the low $500,000s to more than $800,000. The floor plans range in size from about 1,400 to 2,200 square feet. Designed and built by Sprocket Design-Build, the residences will feature two-car garages, rooftop decks and a brownstone-style architecture.

The project is a block south of Sloans Lake Park, featuring a three-mile jogging trail, the city’s largest lake with a marina and water sport activities and plentiful open space.

Out of urban ruins, a new pocket park in Westwood

The Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) has transformed a dangerous, abandoned building into a pocket park in Denver’s Westwood neighborhood. 

The Thriftway Pocket Park at 4401 Morrison Road, another step in the revitalization of the neighborhood, includes a futsal court and community gardens.

“ULC is proud to see the impact of our investment in the Westwood community,” says Aaron Miripol, president and CEO of ULC. “This park would not have been possible without direct support from the neighborhood and the many partners who we have worked with in the development of this new park.”

For more than 15  years before ULC’s acquisition of the Thriftway building in 2014, the site was often the scene of violent crimes, squatting and drug activity. The 6,000-square-foot building sat in the heart of the Westwood community, and residents made it a priority to work with ULC, Trust for Public Land and the City and County of Denver to create a space that would serve as a community asset instead of a hazard.

ULC demolished Thriftway in 2014 and started the three-year process of converting the site into its interim use as a community park.  Long-term plans for the site are to create a development that meets the needs of the community. The need will be determined through a focused and inclusive community engagement process in partnership with Westwood Unidos.

Levitt Pavilion debuts with first concert July 20

Denver’s newest outdoor concert venue is gearing up for its grand opening on July 20.

The Levitt Pavilion Denver in Ruby Hill Park has announced the first wave of concerts for its inaugural summer concert season:
 
  • July 20: Slim Cessna’s Auto Club
  • July 23: The Stone Foxes
  • Aug. 3: The Suffers
  • Aug. 4: John Fulbright
  • Aug. 24: Gaby Moreno

“Levitt Pavilion Denver began as a dream five years ago,” says Chris Zacher, founder and executive director of the nonprofit behind the venue. “Since then, we’ve been working diligently to turn this dream into a reality. We’re incredibly excited to begin presenting free music to the community, ensuring access to high-quality performances for people of all ages and socio economic backgrounds.”

Furthering Levitt Pavilion Denver’s commitment to supporting Denver’s music scene, each concert will feature at least one Denver-based opening act, to be announced at a later date.

The public is invited to bring their picnic blankets and lawn chairs to the free concerts.

“We believe Colorado’s music scene is something special and deserves to be showcased, as well as cultivated,” Zacher says. 

Through a partnership with Emporium Presents, Levitt Pavilion Denver also will present a handful of ticketed shows, featuring artists like UB40 and 311.

Levitt Pavilion Denver will present 30 free concerts this year featuring Denver artists and award-winning regional and national talent in an array of music genres. Next year and thereafter, Levitt Pavilion Denver will present 50 free concerts annually. Additional concerts will be posted on a regular basis

Elitch's to open three new extreme water slides

New extreme speed slides will open this summer at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park.

Riders on the Mega Wedgie will plunge off a six-story tower at 40 miles per hour down a choice of three body slides. By the time they reach the bottom, the parks says, they’ll understand the attraction's name.

“At Elitch Gardens, we are driven to always provide more family fun and thrills for our guests, and this season we are adding a phenomenal wet and wild combination of rides: first the 17-story Star Flyer and now the exhilarating Mega Wedgie,” says Karl Traeger, the theme park’s director of marketing.

The 17-story Star Flyer, another new addition, accommodates 48 passengers sitting two across in open-air seats. They ascend to the top of the tower while flying around it. 

The Elitch Gardens theme park opens April 29, and the water park opens May 27.

In 2015, Denver-based Revesco Properties and Kroenke Sports Entertainment teamed up to buy Elitch Gardens. At that time, the group said it had no plans to redevelop the park, which will continue to be managed by Premier Parks. 

Other entities owned by Kroenke Sports Entertainment include Pepsi Center, Paramount Theatre, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the Colorado Avalanche hockey team, the Denver Nuggets basketball team, the Colorado Mammoth lacrosse team and the Colorado Rapids soccer team

Economic summit to address housing, food, entrepreneurship

Housing, food access, youth opportunities and entrepreneurship are among the issues that will be discussed at the inaugural Far Northeast Denver Economic Summit, a free event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 20 at the Evie Garrett Dennis E-12 campus, 4800 Telluride St. 

The collaborative, grassroots event is a joint project of the City and County of Denver and a range of stake holders from Montbello and surrounding neighborhoods. A keynote speech on economic mobility will be presented by Dr. Jared Bernstein, a former chief ecnomist in the Obama Administration. The day also will include a community resource fair. 

“Our goal for the summit is to spur a bold conversation about economic opportunity, inviting the voices and perspectives of area residents and business owners, and also provide information on available services and tools,” says Amy Edinger, interim executive director of Denver’s Office of Economic Development.

The event will include three breakout sessions and a complimentary lunch. Spanish translation will be available on site. Sign language, CART services or other disability-related accommodations may be requested at oed.milehigh@denvergov.org or (720) 913-1999.

DIA celebrates Colorado's Western lifestyle with exhibit

Travelers at Denver International Airport can experience the history of Colorado's Western lifestyle through the Arts and Culture Program's latest exhibit: "True Colorado: Western Heritage, Then & Now."

The exhibit, located at the Ansbacher Hall in the Jeppesen Terminal on Level 6 before A Bridge Security, is on display through March. It celebrates the western cultural history of the state and features past and present artifacts and information.

The Mayor's Office of the National Western Center, an initiative of Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, plus four significant Colorado establishments are featured for their contributions as tourist destinations, educators and beacons for important cultural and Western traditions. The exhibit explores the history, future vision and creativity of each operation as they forge into the future while still embracing their long-running Colorado legacy.

In addition to the Mayor's Office, participating exhibitors include the National Western Stock Show, Colorado State University Extension's 4-H, Rockmount Western Wear Manufacturing Co. and The Colorado Saddlery Co.

DIA's Art and Culture program administers the City and County of Denver's 1 percent for art ordinance, which enhances public places and features nearly 34 site-specific works, including sculptures, murals and other installations. Pieces are displayed in outdoor landscapes, inside Jeppesen Terminal and on airport concoures, as well as in the train tunnels and on the train itself.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Riverfront Park available for events

Beginning April 1, Riverfront Park can be reserved for various events and programming, including art installations, public gatherings, outdoor movies and concerts.

Located between Lower Downtown and the Highland neighborhood, Riverfront Park is a high-foot traffic area that’s in a great location to attract a large and diverse group of passersby to various events.

"We are thrilled to offer Riverfront Park to the community as a place to bring people together," says Don Cohen, president of Riverfront Park Neighborhood Association. "We are looking forward to seeing how the park will be transformed and hope that it will provide the Denver community a space for engagement, enjoyment and collaboration."

The goal is to activate the space in a creative and thoughtful way without disrupting park-goers or harming the natural riparian environment and green space. All events in the park must comply with the Denver Parks and Recreation requirements and guidelines.

Programming and event inquiries can be made by contacting Jordan Kincaid of East West Urban Management at (720) 904-6904. For additional information please visit www.riverfrontparkassociation.com.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

RiNo mural encourages unity

A new mural recently installed in the RiNo Art District is designed to encourage people to reflect on our similarities, instead of our differences.

Internationally renowned mural artist Kelsey Montague created #WhatUnitesUs on the corner of 26th and Larimer streets to create an interactive dialogue about unity and the shared human experience through art. The RiNo Art District plans to expand on the mural and campaign in the coming months to engage the diverse communities of Denver in further conversation, programs and projects to better connect with and support them.

"Our country and city are feeling the stress of dividing forces now more than ever," says Jaimie Licko, president of the RiNo Art District. "It is our home that this project ignites a conversation within RiNo and across Denver about meaningful ways we can work together, support each other and raise each other up. RiNo is currently benefitting from strong economic growth, and we feel it is our duty and responsibility to ensure that the diverse communities that surround us are not isolated from that but instead are part of it."

Montague previously gained notoriety for her mural series #WhatLiftsYou, a mural project that encouraged people to snap photos in front of a set of muraled wings and share them online, providing everyone the opportunity to share more about what inspires them in life. 

"Kelsey is a major player in the mural scene," says Tracy Weil, co-founder and creative director of the RiNo Art District. "We are so excited to welcome her back to her hometown to create such an impactful piece. We are committed to utilizing our platform as an art district to advocate for social impact through art."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

New Discover Denver website encourages public participation

Discover Denver, a project to identify historic and architecturally significant structures across the city, has launched a new website that invites the public to share stories about Denver's buildings.

The website offers an interactive map that lets users post stories and background about specific buildings, including photos and documents. The map will feature photos and histories of some of the buildings Discover Denver has surveyed, along with stories users have shared. The site's Discoveries section features findings and reports compiled from past survey areas, including Mid-Century Modern buildings in Harvey Park, prewar residences in Park Hill and Berkeley and streetcar commercial districts in Globeville and Cole.

"We invite anyone with a story to tell to share it at DiscoverDenver.co," says Annie Levinsky, executive director of Historic Denver. "Maybe a building was owned by your family for generations or was an important gathering place for your community. We want to capture and catalog its role in Denver's history, no matter how big or small."

Denver joins other cities, including Los Angeles, Phoenix and Tulsa, that are conducting building surveys. The benefits of building surveys include uncovering buildings of historic and architectural significance; providing property owners and real estate agents up-front information about buildings to inform reinvestment and sale decisions; equipping city planners with information about historic resources when creating neighborhood plans; bolstering civic pride and heritage tourism.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

re:Denver forum to explore demolition, adaptive reuse

The next installment of the re:Denver Forum series will explore demolition, density and adaptive reuse as it gives attendees a sneak peek into the space that the Bigsby's Folly Craft Winery will occupy when it opens this spring in an 1886 warehouse at 3563 Wazee St. in RiNo.

The Jan. 17 forum "Old Buildings, New Tools" will feature speakers Brandon Spencer-Hartle, senior city planner at the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, and Tom Mayes, vice president and senior counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. They will discuss different approaches to the challenges demolition presents to neighborhoods. 

Spencer-Hartle will address Portland's recently adopted Deconstruction Ordinance and other approaches that foster both density and preservation. Mayes will explore the opportunities presented by innovative adaptive reuse ordinances, as well as ways to shift thinking about demolition to recognize not only preservation concerns but also environmental and social issues. 

The re:Denver forums always include interactive activities to gather the thoughts and perspective of participants, a presentation from the guest speakers and a robust question and answer session. Historic Denver hosts the forums every other month at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday. Locations and topics vary. 

Doors for the free forum open at 6:30 p.m., with the presentation beginning at 7 p.m.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.
86 Parks and Public Spaces Articles | Page: | Show All
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