The Rail Thing
East Colfax Avenue might be enjoying a renaissance, but not everything in the Bluebird District is shiny and new. The Goosetown Tavern is finally adding a patio, and the railings separating it from the sidewalk are pieces of the much-loved 15th Street Viaduct that once ran through lower downtown. "It's the most beautiful patio ever built," gushes manager Andy Stutz. "The pieces were very raw, and there was a lot of work that had to be done. It was essentially all one long railing from the viaduct, with no way to really connect the pieces together, so we had to do some machining."
The railings had been sitting in the basement of the Wynkoop Brewing Co. , which was founded by Mayor John Hickenlooper and whose parent company opened the Goosetown in 1998. And while Hizzoner may have started the first brewpub in the city, the original Goosetown in Golden (later renamed Sam's Land) was the first account that the Coors family ever sold beer to.
"We got really, really lucky with this patio, because the bar is from 1873, at the original Goosetown," Stutz says. "When they closed in 1995, they were going to destroy it, but Wynkoop went in and saved it. And our booths are from 1890, so it's nice to have another historical thing in the bar."
We'll drink to that.
Ollie-oop! Denver plans to create a system of skateparks across the city. At a meeting last Thursday, the Colorado Coalition for Public Skateparks (a skateboard advocacy group) and new Denver Department of Parks and Recreation planning director Andrea Riner (who had been parks planning manager for Eugene, Oregon, until two months ago) hammered out some concepts for a Denver Skatepark Masterplan. Borrowing from a model developed by planners in Portland, Oregon, they mapped out a large "Regional Skatepark," several medium-sized "District Skateparks" and multiple "Neighborhood Skatespots" to be created around town.
Although Denver's earned national plaudits for the Denver Skatepark, the 60,000-square-foot facility that opened in the Central Platte Valley in 2001, as well as a smaller spot in Stapleton, CCPS founder Ashley Truesdell says there's a growing need for a "satellite system" of skateparks. "Go down to the Denver Skatepark on a nice Saturday, and the place is packed," says the 28-year-old college student. "And for a lot of kids who live in some of the far-off neighborhoods, that's a really long bus ride to get down there."
But don't give up that bus pass just yet. According to Riner, Denver can't begin developing such an ambitious plan until at least 2007.
All wet: Parks and Rec is also busy over in City Park, where Ferril Lake will be getting a makeover next fall, thanks to an upgrade of the storm drains that run through much of the city. As part of the $8 million project, the lake will be drained so that the sides can be fixed and the historic Electric Fountain renovated.
"The lake will be a major component of this project," says parks planner Helen Kuykendall. "At the lake edges, particularly in the wintertime, you see these big mud flats. So we've been wanting to fix that and create more wetlands, more fish and bird habitations."
Public hearings on the improvements began this month, and Off Limits will be eyeing the slowly dropping lake levels. "Last year we found a car," Kuykendall says. "The fire department did a practice rescue with it. We have no idea where that car came from."
Look out below. Scene and herd: Think the Auraria campus is tough on illegally parked scooters? The University of Denver just dunned Summer Smith a fast $500 after she parked her scooter (considered a "motor vehicle") on the sidewalk outside the Coors Fitness Center. "I was wrong, I admit that," she says. "But good God, let the fine be commensurate with the crime." Had she committed vandalism, for example, "willfully and maliciously defacing university property," she would have been tapped for only $100, and standard parking fines run from just $15 to $30. But it turns out that Smith, who locked up alongside several other scooters, hadn't parked on just any sidewalk: The walkway was made of brick pavers, which ups the fine to a mandatory $500. And that's not all, according to www.parkingdu.edu: "The repair costs to the brick(s) may be assessed to the violator." Smith managed to plead her ticket down to $30; she's looking for a new health club.
The D.U.D.E. sculpture -- the initials stand for "Denver Urban Design Element," but the piece is better known for the large panels that read "5280" -- is done for. Buzz Geller, who owns the lot at 17th and California streets, is tearing down the sculpture because it's in such bad shape. Colorado Fire Tribe spinner Travis Roberts is heading for a real hot spot: Iraq. He's leaving his job with Littleton Fire and Rescue to work as a contract firefighter. Catch his final performance with the rest of the tribe at the Littleton Candlelight Walk at 5 p.m. November 25.
We'll miss his hot-pink python cowboy hat.
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