RiNo has plenty of breweries and art galleries, but it doesn’t have a lot of public amenities. There are no parks in what has been a heavily industrial area, and it’s not an easy place to walk around.
The plan for River North Park takes industrial land between 35th Street and what would be 33rd Street (the street doesn’t go through right now) between Brighton Boulevard and the South Platte River and turns it into a park with river access, promenades, plazas, spacious lawns, play areas, pavilions and a festival street that can be closed down for events.
Wenk Landscape Architecture and Planning did the design for the park, and they have a slideshow of what it could look like here.
This has been a long time coming.
The city bought the land for the park back in 2011 using a $1 million grant from Great Outdoors Colorado and another $1.4 million that the city had saved within its own budget.
Final design is expected to wrap up this year, with construction to begin next year.
The park plan takes two existing buildings, the Police Service Building and the Interstate Shippers building, and partially deconstructs them to create pavilions and other spaces. Known as adaptive re-use, this approach is in vogue right now and has won praise from people who follow urban design and infill.
The park design also helps manage stormwater to make the river a little cleaner. It’s one more piece in the city’s decades-long effort to improve water quality in the South Platte.
The park plan also fits into broader efforts to make it easier to get into and around River North.
Plans call for a pedestrian and bike bridge over the South Platte to the TAXI development to the north at a cost of somewhere between $2.5 and $3.5 million.
The city already has built a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks between 35th and 36th streets to connect River North with the Curtis Park and Cole neighborhoods. There’s also a pedestrian bridge at the A Line station at 38th and Blake streets, built by the RTD.
As part of the station project, the city also redid a small bridge on Blake Street, smoothing out a hump that made it hard for drivers to see cyclists and pedestrians, and built thousands of feet of sidewalks around the transit station.
Now that the A Line is running, the city is working on plans for hundreds of units of housing and offices around the train station that will bring yet more new workers and residents to River North.