Civic Center Park was cordoned off with low-slung metal barriers early Wednesday morning as city officials worked to clear “public and environmental health” risks in the park.
MacIntosh Park Plaza in front of the Webb Building and Pioneer Monument fountain to the northeast were also closed. People can’t enter the areas for the foreseeable future.
Most of the individuals experiencing homelessness who spent days in the park have moved to nearby blocks. A large group of individuals with tents already set up gathered behind Denver Public Library, with more temporary structures spilling toward the Denver Art Museum.
These urban campsites went up despite city officials’ efforts to administer services or recommend other public areas where they can lawfully stay. Boston Curtis has to leave the area and said she isn’t sure what she’ll do since the park is closed now.
“Everyone just dispersed,” she said. “No one has any idea where they’re going.”
The situation is exactly what some advocates feared would happen: individuals dispersing into the city and making it harder to find and administer services.
According to city notices, all personal items left in the park will be stored at 1449 Galapago St. for the next 30 days, the same place that belongings taken by encampment sweeps are kept.
While the state parks directly to the east of Civic Center Park — Lincoln Memorial and Liberty Park — are not cordoned off, police officers kept them clear on Wednesday.
City officials like Parks and Recreation employees have cleared trash and set up barriers since the closure notifications went up last week. People experiencing homelessness were directed to numerous different places, including Sunken Gardens Park to the southwest or Benedict Fountain Park to the northeast.