Off Limits

Building for the Future

The matter is settled: Referendum 1A will pass, and a new jail will grace Civic Center, Denver's cultural heart. The children will lead the way -- and that's how they laid out their town, Box City, this past weekend.

When Denver city planners left work on April 15, they left behind a grid of downtown Denver on the first floor of the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building. The Platte River was indicated with blue butcher paper, grass with green, and around each downtown block was colored tape indicating whether the space within was an "area for work," an "area for play," an "area for help" -- or any number of zoning designations. When the elementary-school students arrived the next day for the project, a joint venture of the American Institute of Architects' Architecture Week and Doors Open Denver, they headed straight for the Box City hardware store and got the materials to design and construct everything from an airport and hotels to true-to-life models of Church in the City and the Millennium Bridge. (Now, if only downtown had a real hardware store.) Once a child finished a building, a city planner was rounded up to help find a spot to put it.

And just as in real life, the ideal locations for each of a half-dozen sports arenas and amusement parks (these kids had their priorities) wasn't always properly zoned. So the junior urban planners had to go to the zoning department and request a change of zoning, and once the burgeoning metropolis got too big for its boundaries, the kids had to convince city planners to condemn land on the outer edges to make way for a new airport and a military base -- complete with tanks constructed from Cover Girl boxes. "They're very strong and very beautiful," noted Peter Park, Denver Community Planning and Development director, at the end of the day.

Dr. Ben Lee
Dr. Ben Lee

"Some of these kids are architects waiting to happen," city planner Katherine Cornwell told Off Limits while viewing a very Daniel Libeskind-esque hotel. "They should skip elementary school and go straight to architecture school. Look at these amazing designs." They featured such amenities as dog parks on top of high-rise apartment buildings, a new FasTracks line through the center of town (the kids annexed the land), and no homeless, since most of the land zoned as "areas of help" had been rezoned "areas of play."

The only real problem was that Box City's zoning process went far too smoothly, with a non-cranky Board of Adjustment for Zoning Appeals giving the kids false hopes for future development dreams.

Scene and herd: Armchair athletes hoping to play a little drunken kickball this summer will have to sit this season out. More than a hundred wannabes signed up for the Denver Kickball Coalition draft on April 3, but there were only fifty open spots on eight teams. "It was insane," says Joe Phillips, the esteemed DKBC "Commish," who fields the Hessian Nation squad. "When the party started, we had more and more people sign up. The place was packed! We had over 200 in the hi-dive. All us team captains were running around trying to control the chaos." The crowd only got crazier when the Hell Marys team walked through the bar in robes, carrying candles as a Charlton Heston-worthy voiceover declared that God had created kickball and saw that it was good. Ain't that a kick in the butt?... The Sculptured House on Genesee Mountain is still on the market after scoring exactly zero bids in an eBay auction ("On the Record," April 7). Owner John Huggins had bought the Charles Deaton-designed building five years ago, saving it from an untimely demise, but so far his efforts have gone largely unappreciated -- or at least his $7.95 million asking price has.

On the Record

No sooner had the Food and Drug Administration lifted restrictions on silicone implants last week than a PR woman started touting new ta-tas by Denver's own Dr. Ben Lee. Always eager to keep abreast of the news, Off Limits contacted Lee.

Q: How much of your plastic-surgery practice is performing breast implants?

A: I think I'm on pace to set a record for the number of breast augmentations this year. My practice had been breast reconstruction, but since September of last year, when I realigned my business, it's been all body sculpting. I still do breast reconstruction for select patients -- that is how I developed my reputation around town -- but I really enjoy this work. It is just a happy kind of surgery.

Q: I s there anyone we can check out to see your handiwork?

A: I can't say. But I just found out last night that I am on the Diamond Cabaret and Shotgun Willie's preferred list.

Q: Is there a particular Colorado style to breast augmentation?

A: It's very natural, and that's an emphasis at my practice. The only woman I've ever had mad at me runs an Internet porn site. She was ticked that she didn't look like Pam Anderson.

Q: I s there a special technique to making them look more real?

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