Most people don't venture into Civic Center Park at night, let alone have dinner there.
But Sunday night, CityBuild, a Downtown Denver Partnership initiative, did just that.
Nearly 150 people enjoyed a fall dinner under strings of lights with a bar, a DJ and two long dinner tables in the middle of the park as part of an initiative geared toward educating millennials about how they can better their city.
"Two hundred strangers eating dinner -- that doesn't happen ever," says Jenny Starkey, communications and media relations manager for the Downtown Denver Partnership. "I think more importantly, what we're trying to do is build community. We know Denver is the number-one city for millennials right now.... They're moving here because they want to be in Denver. If we can tap into this group of people that's already here, we can build that community and give them the tools to build a great downtown."
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In addition to a delicious meal, the event featured a number of speakers, who talked about everything from tactical urbanism to what CityBuild can do, as well as the conservation of Civic Center park. "Civic Center Park is gorgeous, and so much activity should happen there that is positive," Starkey says. "It has a bad rep."
Last night however, that reputation changed, if only temporarily. "Just a little bit of activation drives that negative activity away," Starkey says.
This was the second event hosted by CityBuild; last month, the initiative held an "urban hackathon" to discuss big ideas people had for Denver. CityBuild chose those invited to the dinner through its own social networks and that of the Downtown Denver Partnership -- and expect a similar approach to future events. (Four or five are on the drawing board.) But every participant is encouraged to invite others in order to better "build an inclusive, informal format for giving millennials access to learn how to build a city."
More from our Last Night archives: "Photos: Denver Cruisers act like a bunch of tourists on latest ride."