For four years now, the two-by-three-block space of vacant lots at Globeville Valley has undergone a slow-moving renaissance. Guided by community nonprofitGroundwork Denver
, the area is scheduled for a series of resident-led projects to transform the former superfund site into Platte Farm Open Space, a bicycle, pedestrian and family friendly community. Among the additions are a community garden, new riverside trails and a farmers' market.
Right now, large-scale efforts are scheduled to begin with the conclusion of negotiations in the fall, but small-scale work is ongoing throughout the summer. The full plans, on view below, are the result of more than two years of open public meetings called in an attempt to draw response from Globeville's estimated 900 households and 3,000 area residents.
"The people who live in the area were tired of seeing this space get dumped on all the time with all these negative things, tired of crime and drug deals and public waste, so they formed a steering committee to address what to do," says Tangier Barnes, community organizer for Groundwork Denver. Members of the committee then spoke to City Councilwoman Judy Montero, who suggested partnering with the 501(c)(3).
Founded in 2002, the group works with foundering neighborhoods to plan sustainable community projects. In Globeville, residents struggled with a lack of recreational collective space, an issue Groundwork Denver broached to local architects and engineers. After years of collaboration, the resulting designs were met with overwhelming support from the community.
The next step is a technical one: Will Groundwork Denver own the site and continue to raise funds to maintain it, or will some other entity take over?
Right now, this remains the only decision to be made before construction, which comes with a price tag estimated at $1 million. Those plans are currently in their final stage: land use negotiations. With the aid of a grant from the Denver Office of Economic Development, developers are processing an environmental review, title work and a land survey before breaking ground. "We're in the process of figuring out long-term ownership and maintenance of the site," Barnes says, "but other than that, we're close."
In the meantime, the summer months will bring several low-cost improvements, such as fencing, bicycle infrastructure, pedestrian walkways and community education. Developers will also cover the area with a short-grass prairie to turn dirt into earth.
Until recently, the majority of Globeville residents were unaware of a Platte trail half a mile away from the site, Tangier says. "Our goal is to create easier access to the river, to make this project a low-maintenance way to rejuvenate the area," Barnes says. "That's the primary concerns of the residents up front: It shouldn't cost a bunch of money to maintain, and should be accessible to people with varying abilities and access."
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For more updates as the project develops, check back in at the Latest Word. In the meantime, here's the aforementioned plan:
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