After years of delays, you should be able to walk down the steps of Shoemaker Plaza and dip your toes into the South Platte River this weekend.
The reconstruction of the riverside feature near the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River is scheduled for a grand opening this Saturday, Oct. 14 at 1 p.m.
The plaza has been closed since the summer of 2015, which caused lots of headaches and detours for bicyclists along the river. The new project makes it easier to get down to the river and improves bike and pedestrian traffic by separating paths for cyclists and walkers.
Construction on the $9 million project was delayed due to the discovery of coal tar, a substance left by the industrial facilities that once lined the river.
“For our growing city, it’s never been more important to protect, preserve and grow our parks and recreational opportunities, and reclaiming the river has been vital in celebrating and cultivating new outdoor experiences for Denver residents,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a news release.
Completion of the plaza also means that Denver is done with the first phase of its “River Vision” project. Next up are projects at Globeville Landing Park and Heron Pond as well as the new river promenade in RiNo and the new River North Park.
Shoemaker Plaza is named for the late Joe Shoemaker, a state legislator who was crucial in the cleanup of the South Platte River and the creation of Denver’s riverside greenway network. His son, Jeff Shoemaker, now runs The Greenway Foundation.