Denver is a step closer to its goal of ensuring a park is within a 10-minute walk of all residents.
On Thursday, River North Park opens to the residents of Five Points. The 3.5-acre park, located at Arkins Court between 33rd and 35th streets and along the South Platte River, is the first green space in an area historically occupied by warehouses, rail and manufacturing industries, according to a release from Denver Parks and Recreation.
“Parks and green spaces are critical to creating complete neighborhoods for our residents, and thanks to the people’s investment in our parks system, we can bring these amenities to the River North community,” said Mayor Michael Hancock.
River North Park includes green spaces, a new playground and access to the river. According to the department, the park will also incorporate elements “quintessential to its home in Five Points,” with art installations, a space for concerts and two industrial buildings that have been preserved to house a future library, locally run eatery and "maker space" for artists.
The park also includes repurposed materials through the lounge seating areas, performance areas, flexible event space, creative play areas, public art and stormwater gardens.
“River North Park is one of the many improvements the city is bringing to the area,” said Happy Haynes, executive director of Denver Parks and Recreation. “These serve as critical gathering places (that) help foster healthy lifestyles and ensure our communities will continue to thrive for generations to come. It is fundamental to the future and resiliency of our city.”
In addition to the new park, a new street has been constructed and provides parallel parking for park usage. Festival Street will connect to future 33rd Street and Brighton Boulevard by the adjacent developer in the future.
Thursday also marked the groundbreaking for the River North Promenade project. This project will run between 29th and 38th streets and will serve as a “linear park providing a place for leisure, outdoor recreation, connection to the river and flexible festival space that will complement the park.”
Phase One of this project will see Arkins Court from 35th to 38th streets converted into a planned linear park, which is anticipated to be completed in 2021. According to the parks department, improvements will include park amenities such as a pavilion and an elevated walkway along the river, enhanced paving, public art, a small play area, seating areas, shade and landscaping.
The department and the Trust for Public Land purchased the property as a key component of the River Vision Improvement Plan, with a $1 million lottery grant from Great Outdoors Colorado to “expand parkland to a developing area of Denver that was lacking public open space.”
Construction started for River North Park, Festival Street and Phase One Building Renovation in spring 2019 and cost over $6 million in improvements.
This project is part of “Game Plan for a Healthy City,” a citywide and long-range parks and recreation plan that uses 2018 voter-approved funds to “help provide the places – indoors and outdoors – where our community gathers.”
DPR will be holding a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. Thursday and can be streamed through their Facebook page.