Editor’s note: Kevin and Dave roamed Bruce Randolph Avenue and talked to most everyone they saw. Every day during Street Week, we’re rolling out mini profiles of the everyday heroes they found. Find more here.
The further east on Bruce Randolph Avenue you go, the smaller the homes seem to get and the older the fences seem to be. And the louder the sounds of kids playing.
Kahlil, Bahati, and Kaeden are all wrapped up in a game of 21 under the basketball hoop at the Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being at Bruce Randolph and Dahlia Street. They prefer this court for reasons that are obvious to any kid who’s wants to emulate an NBA player but doesn’t quite have the height yet.
“The rim is adjustable,” Kahlil says. “For dunks!”
Karen Carpenter stands across the street on the lawn in front of her two-story apartment building. Getting to watch the kids play is one of her favorite things about living on Bruce Randolph. She was especially impressed with the ingenuity she witnessed the other day: a group of kids on skateboards shooting the ball at the net — “throwing buckets,” as Carpenter calls it — as they rode by. Progressing the sport.
“That’s cool. I never — I would’ve never thought of that before,” Carpenter says. “I liked playing basketball, and I did a lot when I was younger, and it’s just fun watching them do it, you know what I mean?”
Carpenter’s cat, Beaster Bunny, weaves around her shins. A little girl is intrigued by my microphone but not enough to stick around when there’s a snack to be had inside her apartment. Carpenter continues to praise her neighborhood and the things that make it special, like the Dahlia Campus, which holds a food bank on Thursdays, where “you can get a really decent box of food” and buy some organic vegetables. She digs the fish fry they have, too.
“It’s a nice neighborhood. It’s a good mix of old people,” she says. “Young people, kids, families. Some of the people have lived here a long time and some of them not so much, but you know, it’s a good mix here.”
Carpenter moved here from the westside about four years ago when the campus was under construction. She likes that it’s only a short stroll — a block — to grab some nature, whether it’s the Dahlia garden or the abandoned golf course formerly known as Park Hill Golf Club.
“The gardens there, it’s just really soothing,” she says. “Usually, when the building is open, you go in the gardens and just, you know, it’s peaceful there and they got a little creek running through there. It’s very nice.”
She and others from the neighborhood just have to walk one block to enjoy picnics at Denver’s largest unofficial park — part of which will be developed in due time.