Calling All Runners!

On April 22nd from 9am-12pm, Denver Parks and Recreation, in partnership with the City Park Alliance and Starbucks, will be restoring the Mile High Loop trail.

We still need volunteers!!!

Volunteers are needed to help spread crusher fine on the Mile High Loop Trail, stain and paint the wooden playground, remove debris, and spread fibar in the playground along with other projects needing maintenance.

Registration is needed for this event.

Please E-mail tina.myers@denvergov.org or call 303.698.4904 to participate.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

City Park Alliance to Sponsor City Park Jazz

City Park Alliance will be providing a one-time sponsorship for City Park Jazz this coming summer. While it may be rare for one non-profit to support another, City Park Alliance is embracing this as an opportunity to reach a more extended and diverse group of park users and engage them directly in all matters related to City Park. This was decided on during the March board meeting and is reflected in the board meeting notes posted online.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

City Park Alliance Supports Updating the City Park Master Plan

For the past several months, board members from the City Park Alliance have been participating in a workgroup regarding the potential landmark designation of Denver’s City Park. On March 24, we sent a letter to Steve Turner, Director of the Colorado State Historical Fund, expressing our support for a grant to develop guidelines for and to update the City Park Master Plan. Our reasons for supporting this effort are described within the following letter.
_____________________________

Steve Turner
Director, Colorado State Historical Fund
1200 Broadway
Denver, CO 80203

Dear Mr. Turner:

We appreciate the opportunity to be involved in discussions regarding the potential local historic landmark designation of Denver’s City Park. The City Park Alliance’s (the Alliance) vision is for City Park to maintain its historic character and flourish for future generations, providing all visitors with positive and memorable experiences. As such, we would like to express our support for the development of design guidelines for City Park and for the update of the City Park Master Plan. We believe that these two essential tools are critical to the ongoing preservation of City Park’s historic character.

City Park is an extremely important piece of Denver’s park system because it is both a neighborhood and regional park. It is highly revered by users as a pastoral and beautiful open space, as an active space, and for its numerous historic elements. The park as a whole is an historic landmark of success in the long line of efforts to create critical open spaces of sufficient scale and care to ensure places of respite within urban cores. Recently, there has been increased pressure in the park to develop open spaces as the surrounding community becomes more densely populated. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Zoo also both expanded their impact on the park with new developments in 2013 and 2014.

As a case in point, in 2013 and 2014, the Alliance sponsored public meetings about the design for a new playground project known as the City Loop. At the end of the meeting process, a large architectural play element that would have encompassed 17 acres in City Park won a national contest and was chosen. Although it was not built in City Park due to public pressure, the process was instructive going forward. It was evident that there were no design guidelines to gauge the appropriateness of the features, lighting, vegetation, walkways, and the general look of what was being proposed. The final design chosen (albeit an award winning spectacular design) ignored the historic character and feel of City Park. The City Park Master Plan did not contemplate a giant playground.

The character of some neighborhoods surrounding City Park is changing. Thus development pressure within the Park will continue. Some of these neighbors are interested in the quiet aspects of City Park, while other neighbors are looking for more activities in City Park. A thoughtful and inclusive Master Plan and design guideline development process would help the community navigate future changes in City Park while respecting its historic character.

Citizens have become more increasingly involved in the policies that affect City Park. The number of people reading the publications from City Park Alliance has increased exponentially over the past three years. We at the City Park Alliance prefer to spend time and financial resources towards improving City Park rather than facilitating discussions between groups and individuals where the rules for projects in City Park are not known. Updating the Master Plan and creating design guidelines can reduce needless controversies, and false starts, by fostering a common understanding of expectations.

City Park is an extremely important piece of Denver’s legacy. Visitation to this park will increase. The neighborhoods will continue to rely on the park for activity and for quiet spaces. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Zoo will continue to look for opportunities to grow and enhance their visitor experience. The Alliance believes that this is the time to define the appropriate pathway forward by updating the Master Plan and creating design guidelines for Denver’s largest park and a regional historic gem.

We support the request for a grant to develop design guidelines and to update the City Park Master Plan. The Alliance looks forward to being involved in these efforts as an organization dedicated to maintaining the character of City Park.

Greg Davis, Board Chair
City Park Alliance

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Volunteer to Repair the Mile High Loop and Maintain City Park

On April 22nd from 9am-12pm, Denver Parks and Recreation, in partnership with the City Park Alliance and Starbucks, will be restoring the Mile High Loop trail. Volunteers are needed to help spread crusher fine on the Mile High Loop Trail, stain and paint the wooden playground, remove debris, and spread fibar in the playground along with other projects needing maintenance.

Registration is needed for this event.

Please E-mail tina.myers@denvergov.org or call 303.698.4904 to participate.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mile High Loop 2015 Assessment

The City Park Alliance recently completed its 2015 assessment of the Mile High Loop. The 2015 assessment includes information on trail conditions and provides recommendations for repair and improvement. This report was submitted to Denver Parks and Recreation as part of a public-private partnership to maintain the Mile High Loop trail in City Park. The next actions for 2015 include completing a Memorandum of Agreement with Denver Parks and Recreation which details this public-private partnership and finalizing donations and the scope-of-work for the Starbucks Day of Work in City Park on April 22, 2015. City Park Alliance will be donating supplies to support the repair of the trail on this day. As the day approaches and all details are finalized, we will be sending out requests for volunteers. Mile High Loop 2015 Trail Condition and Assessment Report Are you a regular user of this trail? If so, take a look and provide your comments.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Historic Denver Leads Exploration of Historic Designation for City Park

From: Annie Levinsky – Executive Director, Historic Denver

On February 24 at 6:00 pm, Historic Denver will host an informational meeting about the possibility of designating City Park as a local landmark district. The meeting will be held at L2 Church at 1477 Columbine. It is an early opportunity for citizens to engage in the exploratory work done by a stakeholder group convened by Historic Denver, Inc. in July 2014, known as the City Park Historic Designation Exploration Committee.

Founded in 1882, City Park is one of the oldest parks in Denver. Historic Denver, a non-profit organization founded in 1970, agreed to facilitate this conversation due to a key suggestion in the 2001 City Park Master Plan, as well as recent controversies and requests from community members.

In consultation with the Department of Parks and Recreation, Historic Denver convened a group of 13 stakeholders, including representatives from Parks and Recreation, Community Planning & Development/Landmark Preservation Commission, City Park Alliance, the Council District 8 Office, City Park Friends and Neighbors, and several at-large community representatives.

The goals of City Park Historic Designation Exploration Committee are simple:

  • Explore what local landmark designation can (and cannot) do for City Park
  • Identify the steps needed to make the designation process thoughtful and successful for all stakeholders

Steps being discussed include a potential update to the 2001 Master Plan, followed by the possible development of design guidelines. No decision has yet been made regarding the pursuit of local historic designation for City Park. That decision is one of several steps that lie ahead.

A key finding of the committee to date is that historic designation would not impact the way the park is permitted for specific uses or events; it pertains only to City Park’s physical attributes. Additionally, historic designation does not “freeze a place in time,” but is rather a process for managing change through a public framework.

There will be continuing opportunities for community engagement, both during the exploratory phase and during potential public processes in the future.

This conversation is designed to be the first phase in a four-phase process.

1. Exploration

2. Outreach and education

3. Planning

4. Implementation (if there is continued support for the idea)

Beyond this four-phase process, landmark designation is a formal city process that requires a detailed application, review by the Landmark Preservation Commission, and public hearings at the Landmark Preservation Commission and City Council prior to a full City Council vote. Additionally, other public processes would likely need to precede a designation application, including a potential update to the City Park Master Plan, now nearly fifteen years old.

Historic Denver Executive Director, Annie Levinsky, who is chairing the Exploratory Committee explained, “Before formulating opinions, we thought it important to really understand what historic designation would mean for City Park, and this committee has done some great work to answer that question.”

As background, the group has

  • Reviewed the 2001 City Park Master Plan, which includes a historic assessment
  • Understood the impact of the park’s National Register of Historic Places designation
  • Learned the difference between local, state and National Register landmarks
  • Studied the way landmark designation is used in the management of Civic Center Park, the only regional park currently designated in a local historic district

The group also researched historic park management strategies across the country. This information is available on Historic Denver’s website at http://www.historicdenver.org/programs/city-park

Historic Denver will present background on City Park, information about designation, and more detail on the committee’s exploratory work at an initial community meeting in late February. Our intention for this meeting is to provide the community with the information about the group’s work so far and to create an opportunity for engagement and dialogue.

Please direct questions and comments to Historic Denver: info@historicdenver.org or (303) 534-5288.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

About that South Face….

By Greg Davis, City Park Alliance

On December 15th, Denver City Council unanimously approved Council Bill 0941 (CB-14-0941) granting a certificate of designation to operate the waste to energy system at the Denver Zoo. The topic of the waste to energy system has been a hot button with local neighbors who are concerned about the aesthetic of the new building housing the waste gasification system.

Denver Zoo has committed to making improvements to the south façade and will be gathering public comment on the matter. However, why wait for this formal process to start. Let’s get some public input now to support this process now.

Denver City Councilman Paul Lopez had an interesting perspective during the December 15th Council Session noting that the south side of the zoo begs for public art. He framed his comment by stating that “I’m not talking about the horse, from D.I.A., but kind of I am.” I can really appreciate that sentiment. My interpretation of that statement is maybe the horse is not a design to replicate, but City Park could be a great place to incorporate a similarly iconic work of art. That said, maybe what City Park needs is something less historic or subdued. …Or maybe we can find that perfect blend of historic, natural, inspiring, and iconic.

Take a look at the following pictures for reference, leave a comment in the blog, and let your voice be heard!

Waste to energy and Elephant Passage facadeThe current aesthetic of Elephant Passage and the Waste to Energy building. Denver Zoo has committed resources to improving this aesthetic and will be accepting public comment.


painting2 City Park advocate Georgia Garnsey provided these pictures of an example of how public art can be used to enhance otherwise blank building spaces.

painting



Picture1 Picture2

Andrew Rowan, Government Affairs & Special Projects Manager for the Denver Zoological Foundation, provided these renderings noting how the current perimeter fence could be beautified.


Zoo W2E facade

This rendering provided by the Denver Zoo notes a potential aesthetic solution to part of the Waste to Energy (W2E) Building. This idea would carry the architectural steel idea used as a topper for the perimeter fence into the “windows” of the W2E building and beautify the small portion of the fence between Gate 15 and the building.


Your opinion matters.  What do you think should be done to improve the look of the W2E building and associated Toyota Elephant Passage complex as it abuts City Park?

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments