Seven Things that Make City Park Residents Very, Very Mad

City Park and City Park West surround what’s arguably the heart of Denver, and without a doubt the core of the impressive Denver Parks system. The two neighborhoods combined cover ground from Downing to Colorado Boulevard, and 23rd to Colfax avenues. (It’s important to include City Park West in this discussion, because City Park as a neighborhood is almost wholly taken up by the obviously non-residential park itself, leaving a strip of a neighborhood only two blocks wide, if a mile long.) The City Park neighborhoods have a lot about which to boast: the gorgeous and sought-after East High School, a rejuvenated stretch of Colfax that includes the flagship Tattered Cover and Sie FilmCenter and, of course, the museum and zoo and two lakes that populate City Park itself. Of course, all that doesn’t keep residents of the neighborhoods from having their occasional gripes — like these seven.

7. Geese
Geese are nice enough, as large birds go, especially large birds that have little to no fear in approaching you as you picnic and demanding stale bread, potato salad or whatever you’ve got there in that basket, chief. But oh, my God, the poop. Sure, we choose to love them, but we’ve all had that moment where we’ve thought, “Hey, are those lawn plugs, or….no, nope, that’s goose crap,” followed by muttered swearing and then seeking out a place to scrape off our shoes. And geese don’t just keep to the park, either: They head into back yards and neighborhoods, and they cross the streets without any sort of crosswalk or sense of self-preservation. Geese are the Denver equivalent of Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy, slapping the hood of your car and yelling,"Hey, I'm walking here! I'm walking here!"

6. New Construction
City Park and City Park West have been filled in for some time now, so the only new construction that can happen requires the destruction of what used to sit in its place. Sometimes, this isn’t a huge deal — when an old, run-down one-story office building gets torn down to make room for a new high-rise apartment at the edge of Uptown, no one’s going to complain to the historical society. When the old LePeep spot on York gets a new life with Syrup, we make plans to go. But all that construction gets in the way, from closing lanes on 17th and 18th in order to get to the buried sewer and power lines, to cyclone fences surrounding the new Denver rec center on Colfax, to the all-too-common scrape-and-rebuild strategy of Denver’s yearning for newer and larger homes.

5. Pop-Tops
Long before Highland had the same problem, City Park and City Park West invented the unwise renovation of a small home into a larger one. Sure, it might make more sense to expand a home when you need a little more elbow room, but too many people in the last few decades have chosen to do so without the help of an architect. Expanding your house — changing the visual style and curb appeal of the home itself — requires the help of a professional. (Not that hiring a professional alone will guarantee results—buyer beware.) Doing without isn’t saving you money — it’s buying a lot of headaches, both from your neighbors and from potential buyers when you someday decide to sell that once-charming bungalow that has suddenly become a stylistically unrecognizable box with some windows and a base that once looked like a house.

4. East High
Yes, it’s cool to have Denver’s most sought-after public high school smack-dab in the middle of your neighborhood, and, yes, it’s very cool that it looks so very stately (having been modeled after Philadelphia’s Independence Hall). But with all the awesomeness that comes with having one of America’s most successful public high schools (Newsweek named it as such in both 2000 and 2008), there’s also the hassle of…well, all those damn students. No offense to the kids, but their sheer numbers can be an issue. Just try to drive down Colfax before or after school, or at lunchtime. And God help you if there’s a fire alarm, a student walk-out protest or a Broncos Super Bowl win. The crowds of high-schoolers will be so thick and loud that you’ll be nostalgic for hordes of geese.

Keep reading for more things that make City Park residents mad.

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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen