A West Denver Park is poised to benefit from up to a $5 million makeover that will offer facilities to promote health and wellness.
Paco Sanchez park, near West 13th Avenue, Federal Boulevard and Knox court, has been selected as the site for a “re-imagine play” project, Mayor Michal B. Hancock and council members Susan Shepherd and Paul López announced today, with the Denver Park and Recreation deparment.
Re-imagine play is an innovative concept that goes beyond the traditional playground.
It is 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, according to officials.
“Our open spaces bring this city together, and we are committed to continue meaningful investment into new parks, trails, sports fields and better playgrounds,” Hancock said.
“Bringing this amazing project to Paco Sanchez Park will provide incredible opportunities and invaluable benefits to West Denver,” he continued.
“This truly is an investment in all residents who seek livable communities and healthy neighborhoods where we can walk, bike and play.,” he added.
The re-imagine play project is expected to cost $3 million to $5 million and is anticipated to be built in two phases.
The DPR is anticipating $2 million in capital funding for the project in 2014-15 and will look to raise the remaining funds through grants and other donations.
DPR expects construction to begin in 2015.
In identifying Paco Sanchez Park as the prime location for the re-imagine play project, DPR considered a number of factors, including:
A location with pre-existing playground equipment in need of repair or replacement;
A park big enough for a large play area that also is in an area of the city that is underserved when it comes to open space and park amenities;
A location that is accessible through multi-modal transit options;
A park that is located near an already existing recreation center;
And a location in an area of the city where childhood obesity rates have become a growing issue.
Many residents and community organizations came together at two separate public meetings to ask preliminary questions about the project and voice their support for locating the new play area at Paco Sanchez Park.
DPR has also received letters of support from the Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corp., Sun Valley Homes Local Resident Council, Villa Park Neighborhood Association, West Colfax Association of Neighbors, West Colfax Business Improvement District and the Westridge Homes Local Resident Council.
“This playground is an incredible amenity for the community and West Denver is an optimal place to build it,” said Lauri Dannemiller, Executive Director of DPR.
“Community involvement and support is paramount to this project, and we’ve already had a great turnout at the public meetings we’ve held in the neighborhood,” according to Dannemiller.
“Local residents have given us great feedback about different design elements of the project as well as concerns we know we’ll have to address as we move toward making this a reality,” she said.
Shepherd and López have reached out to neighbors, building support and working with DPR to identify a location in West Denver for the re-imagine play project, officials said.
“We are thrilled to bring a project of this scale and benefit into our part of the city,” Shepherd said. “We want to seize this opportunity and rally together as a community to bring it from concept to reality as soon as possible.”
López said West Denver will benefit greatly from the new park concept.
“The re-imagine play project has been long overdue for the youth and families of West Denver,” López said.
“This project is a significant investment in the health and vitality in the West Denver neighborhoods,” López added
As the re-imagine play project moves forward, Denver Parks and Recreation will continue to work collaboratively with community leaders and partners in West Denver to ensure that public feedback guides the final design and layout of the structure.
The design team selected for the original City Loop project will take that community feedback and redesign the earlier concept into an amenity that meets the needs of West Denver and is an appropriate size for Paco Sanchez Park.
Nettie Moore, an 87-year-resident of the neighborhood and long-time Denver community activist, hailed the additional investment in the area.
“The neighborhood around the Lakewood Gulch is experiencing a transformation – from the new light rail station to the Corky Gonzalez library and now this upcoming park project,” Moore said.
“Re-imagine play will help bring more children and older adults to the park to get them active in a safe and healthy environment,” she continued.