Longform

After ignoring the South Platte River for decades, Denver is once again panning for gold

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With all that on his Platte plate, Shoemaker still found time to accept the Champion of Change award he was given in late April by the White House, for his work spearheading the efforts of the Greenway Foundation. "Jeff is a visionary in our community who has dedicated great passion and resources to transforming Denver's South Platte River and its tributaries," says Mayor Michael Hancock.

"It's very important to me personally that it's made clear that the only way we've been able to do anything is through the remarkable partnerships we've had with countless organizations and entities...none better than the City and County of Denver," Shoemaker responds. "We have no mandate-able authority that requires everyone to work with us. I consider us to be a minority partner in a four-legged stool: public, private, political and philanthropic. All four have to be in place for you to have a maximized success."

And all four were out in force at the Rocky Mountain National Wildlife Refuge last Friday, when Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Governor John Hickenlooper announced the next steps in implementing conservation and recreation projects throughout the Denver area and along the South Platte River — with several shout-outs for the Greenway Foundation.

But after that, it was back to work. "A master plan is only as valuable as its ability to be implemented," Shoemaker points out. "We're asked all the time: When are you going to be done? My longstanding, somewhat completely tongue-in-cheek answer is when the Denver Art Museum needs no more art, when the Denver Public Library needs no more books. There is no done." — Calhoun 

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