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Denver game plan

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Title:
Denver game plan
Creator:
Department of Parks and Recreation, City and County of Denver
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
City and County of Denver
Language:
English

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Subjects / Keywords:
Parks
City planning
Parks planning

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Auraria Library
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Auraria Library
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Copyright [name of copyright holder or Creator or Publisher as appropriate]. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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Full Text
GXGCUGW G
summary
The master plan
for Denver Parks
and Recreation
system, the DPR
Game Plan,
contains two final
documents: an
Executive Summary
poster in English
and Spanish and
this Final Report
(available also at
www.denvergov.org
or on cd). The Final
Report is divided
into ten chapters.


Washington Park ^
Chapter 1
The Game Plan and Its Vision for City in a
Park. This chapter briefly describes the Game
Plan, the master plan for Denvers parks and
recreation future. Created through a two-year
public process, the Game Plan outlines new
directions for our parks and recreation system,
based on values and priorities identified by
Denvers citizens. It explains how the Game
Plan is a 50-year vision and strategic framework
plan to transform Denver into a City in a Park.
Chapter 2
Context for the City in a Park Plan. Denvers
park design legacy continues to evolve.
Denvers neighborhoods and demographics
also have changed considerably over the past
20 years. Patterns of leisure, too, are evolving.
As a result, Denvers parks and recreation
programs must balance new uses, new users,
and new demands while extending and
protecting resources. This chapter discusses
trends and conditions that set the context for
the plan.
Chapters 3-5
The City in the Park Physical Plan. The
proposed physical plan to create a City in a
Park is organized into three sections, according
to a scale that moves from home and
neighborhood to Denvers park and open
space role in the region. Each section is
covered in a chapter:
A Chapter 3: Green Neighborhoods and
Beyond
A Chapter 4: The Connected City
A Chapter 5: From Mountains to Plains
Each chapter maps out the design ideas,
planning and process principles, supporting
analyses, measurable indicators, standards or
benchmarks, and cost estimates. As a master
plan, the Game Plan makes few specific
recommendations by park. Rather, it provides
an overall assessment of the city and a
framework for making decisions, based upon
analysis, data, values, and economic strategy,
about allocating and expanding resources.
Chapters 6-9
The City in a Park Policy and Action
Strategies. Specific policies and strategies are
proposed to move the department and city
toward implementing the values at the heart of
the Game Plan. These policies and strategies
are based on the four values underlying the
plain, each contained in a chapter. Each
chapter provides background information,
vi
executive


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
goals, and specific strategies to accomplish the
goals.
A Chapter 6: Sustainability: Caring for Natural
and Designed Resources
A Chapter 7: Equity: Distribution of
Resources
A Chapter 8: Engagement: Partnering with
the Public
A Chapter 9: Sound Economics: Financing
Maintenance and Expansion
Chapter 10
Although each chapter includes specific goals
and strategies, Chapter 10 summarizes the first
steps necessary to move the Game Plan
forward. As a framework plan that sets
direction, the Game Plan should not be
inflexible nor should it micromanage staff work
plans. Rather than outlining five or ten year
action steps, the Game Plan charges the City
staff and community advisory boards to
continue working with the public and to craft
yearly and longer-term budgets and work plans
that support the plan goals.
Appendix
The Appendices include further details that
support the plan:
A Appendix A: Glossary of Terms
A Appendix B: Comprehensive Plan 2000
Objectives Supported by the Game Plan
A Appendix C: Priority Denver Public School
Learning Landscapes/Community Spaces
A Appendix D: Green Streets at Full Scale
A Appendix E: Drought Plan
A Appendix F: References
03
^ Special needs bicycle ^

VII
s u m m a r y




diACWTBQ-1
T-US £AM£ PLAM P£OC£SS:
creating a vision
Denvers history
of parks and
recreation is rich
with political
far-sightedness, civic
pride, gifted design,
and community
generosity. The
Game Plan, a
strategic master
plan for Denvers
parks and recreation
future, builds on this
legacy. It provides a
framework of values
to guide planning
and development
decisions over the
next 50 years.


When youre in big congested cities
and theres not a lot of front or
backyard, the neighborhood park is
your front yard. The most important
park is not... the Grand Canyon, its
the local park.
Mayor Wellington E. Webb
City Park by moonlight ^
A FIRST-RATE PARK LEGACY
Denvers parks and recreation facilities are
unrivaled in the Rocky Mountain West. They
embrace nearly 3,000 acres of traditional
parks and parkways and 2,500 urban natural
areas in the city alone, with an additional
14,000 acres of spectacular mountain parks.1
Its 29 recreation centers, seven municipal golf
courses, and nationally recognized cultural
attractions, such as the Denver Zoo, the
Denver Botanic Gardens, Historic Four Mile
House, and the Buffalo Bill Museum, serve
millions of visitors annually.
The systems 134-year history spans from the
first park, a single block that two savvy
developers donated to the city in 1868 to
create Curtis Park, to nearly 20,000 acres of
urban parks and mountain parkland in 2002.
Our parks capture all that is the essence of
Colorado, from sand-hill prairie along First
Creek in far northeast Denver to fragile tundra
at the peak of Mt. Evans. They span nearly 100
miles, 8,700 feet in elevation change, and five
ecosystems.
But Denver also is a highly urban park system.
In fact, the city owes much of its urban form
and character to the tree-lined streets,
parkways, boulevards, and parks that were
designed in the late-19th and early-20th
centuries. Parks give each Denver
neighborhood a social heart, an identity and,
often, a name.
Parks are about recreation people
re-creating themselves away from work and
home. Denver is a city of people who like to
play and enjoy the outdoors. In survey after
survey, Denver residents credit parks, open
space, and recreational opportunities for our
high quality of life, a close second only to our
sunny skies and great weather.
Change is the constant in park and recreation
trends and the pace has quickened. People
now skate, run, and jog past people strolling.
The few street-corner jungle gyms of our early
history have evolved into our 29 recreation
centers and incredible citywide recreation
programs.
2
the Game Plan process


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future

A THE MANDATE FOR THE GAME PLAN
Denver planners, leaders, and residents
shaped this incredible legacy deliberately, and
always with an eye toward building on the
past. Denver now faces considerable change
new leisure and work trends, demographic
shifts, and increasing population and density
with no adopted strategic plan for its parks,
recreation, and open space.
The last city-wide parks plan (now out of date)
was completed in 1986 and never adopted.
DPR and Denver residents wanted to fill this
critical void with a plan for the future to protect
and extend the existing legacy.
That community mandate was reflected in the
Denver Comprehensive Plan 2000, the
planning and development guide for all city
departments and agencies, which called for
DPR to create a master plan as the
departments top priority. As a supplement to
the Denver Comprehensive Plan 2000, the
Game Plan will guide DPRs budget, capital
development, and policy decisions, and
provide a planning framework for
collaborations with other city agencies,
organizations, and businesses.
The Public Process: A Continuing
Dialogue
Thousands of Denver citizens participated in
the Game Plan process. Working with a citizen
advisory committee (CAC) and the Parks and
Recreation Advisory Board, DPR engaged the
public in a 16-month process to develop this
plan. The public process entailed extensive
opportunities for community input from 14
public forums, formal and informal surveys,
and six focus groups.
Thousands of individual comments were
received and considered in making
recommendations. Bilingual and alternate
materials were available for most public
forums:
A February/March 2001 quadrant meetings
A Nine June 2001 open houses held in parks
across the city
A Two April 2002 open houses and a public
hearing
A Six focus groups engaging youth and non-
English speaking communities
A Two meetings in Jefferson County for
communities surrounding mountain parks
^ Same Plan open house, June 2001
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03
4, Denver 2000 Population: 3
554,636 ^
4 Size: 64,1 76 acres (without
Denver International Airport)
4 Urban parks: 3,000 (irrigated)
acres, plus 343 planned o
4 Urban natural areas: 2,500 acres,
plus 900 at Stapleton and Lowry ~
4 Municipal golf courses: 7 3
(942 acres) ^
4 Largest city parks: City Park -
31 4, Sloans Lake 290,
Washington Park 1 95 o
4 Mountain parks: 1 4,000 acres 3
4 Parkways: 100 miles
4 Qreenways and trails: 1 35 miles
4 Recreation centers: 29
4 After school sites: 27
4 Pools: 1 9
4 Skate parks: 1
4 Employees: 1,400-1,600 seasonal
and full time
4 Annual budget: ~$56 million (total
capital and operating)
creating a vision
3
CHAPTER


Denver can be made one of the
ordinary cities of the country, or she
can be made the Paris of America.
Mayor Robert Speer 1 907
Crofton Elementary students design a park
A The 2001 Game Plan Survey, yielding 1,500
responses
A Informal recreation-center user surveys
A A focus group with current and potential
nonprofit partners
A More than 200 individual presentations to
organizations across the city
A City Council briefings
A Staff retreats, workshops, and
presentations
A Interactive Game Plan web site at
www.denvergov.org/gameplan
Those community patterns of use, of values
expressed, of ideas are woven throughout
the Game Plan. The 2001 Game Plan Survey, a
statistically valid seven-page instrument,
yielded 1,500 responses and provided
extensive information on park and recreation
use, values, and priorities. The survey reveals
that residents greatly value all parts of Denvers
parks and recreation system and consistently
support mountain parks and urban natural
areas.
Compared to other cities, Denvers parks are
well-used. More than 90 percent of Denver
residents surveyed had visited a park or
recreation facility in the previous year,
significantly higher than a national average
nearer 65 percent. And, overall, residents are
very pleased with Denvers parks and
recreation programs.
Yet residents surveyed are also less satisfied
with resources committed to park
maintenance, and are inclined to feel that
distribution of resources within the city is not
entirely fair. Denver residents want the city to
balance adequate care of existing facilities with
thoughtful expansion for the future.
And a majority of residents were willing to pay
at least $4/month for either additional
amenities that they especially value or for
increased maintenance.
Finally, some recommendations for DPR
policies were consistent from source to source.
Priorities for DPR programs should be to serve
youth and seniors. Adults programs
consistently rated last. DPR should strengthen
its relationship with the community through
better communications, accountability, and
community involvement. And DPR should
increase its environmental stewardship
through all aspects of the department,
especially in water conservation.
As the Game Plan moves forward into
implementation, this public dialogue will
continue with community oversight to
measure the plans progress and development
of a community voice in all aspects of the parks
and recreation system.
4
the Game Plan process


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future

4, THE VALUES FRAMING THE PLAN
The Game Plan is a value-driven strategic
framework, divided into two broad parts. First,
it offers a 50-year physical vision of Denver as a
City in a Park: ideas for the future, ideas for
today. Second, it recommends short and long-
term policy, management, and community
actions to implement the vision. It presents a
mandate for new, more responsive city policies
and funding strategies.
As a framework plan, the Game Plan offers the
big picture but fewer specific
recommendations for individual parks,
recreation facilities and programs, or DPR
divisions. It provides information and criteria
that will help the city make decisions and
respond to future requests and trends.
It also clarifies values that the people of Denver
expressed as important for their parks and
recreation system. These four values, which are
inherent in our park legacy and are articulated
in the Denver Comprehensive Plan 2000,
direct DPR to work towards:
A a sustainable environment,
A equity in facilities and services,
A engagement of the community, and
A sound economics.
All Game Plan recommendations, in fact, are
made with these values in mind. They are the
determining criteria for allocating resources, for
DPR management and accountability, for
continuing our partnership with the public,
and for protecting Denvers open spaces for
the future. These values determine the
priorities for physical ideas for A City in a Park,
and are summarized as follows:
Sustainable Environments
The Game Plans first priority is to protect the
park systems physical resources. Discussions
about vision, new trends, and expansions are
meaningless if policies and funding are
inadequate to keep even the current physical
resources natural ones such as open space
and adequate clean water, or built ones such
as irrigation systems and historic structures
in good condition.
The issue is one of sustainability of
designing, building, and maintaining our
resources responsibly so we will be able to
appreciate them well into the future. That
means building, adapting, and managing the
park and recreation system to survive in and
^ Red Rocks, circa 1 890
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Congress Park scooter ^
Priorities for DPR programs
should be youth and seniors.
Adults consistently rated last.
creating a vision
5
CHAPTER


City Park tennis lessons ^
Park festtval, circa 1 960
contribute to a drought-prone, water
conscious City.
Denvers parks and recreation system has the
potential to be a national model in protecting
natural and built resources. The Game Plan
provides direction that will strengthen DPRs
leadership in protecting our resources through
new strategies and policies for environmental
responsibility preservation of historic places
and structures, and high standards of design,
construction, maintenance, and programming.
Equity
How the city expands our parks and programs
and allocates resources will be based on
equity, meaning comparable distribution,
access, and quality across the city. It does not
imply equally dividing the annul budget pie or
providing identical amenities for everyone;
parks, parkways, natural areas, and recreation
centers should vary across the city, reflecting
geography as well as the needs, character, and
history of neighborhoods.
However, access to open space and facilities
including parks, trails, natural areas, tree-
canopy cover, recreation facilities,
playgrounds, ballfields, waterways, amenities
like flowerbeds, and recreation centers
should be distributed equitably across the city.
Equity also means applying equally high
standards of quality construction, programs,
and maintenance across the city. And, from
sidewalks to cultural events, equity means that
public places and programs are physically
accessible to all populations.
Based upon an analysis of park and recreation
services across the city, the Game Plan
provides data for equitable and informed
discussions and funding decisions. It offers
strategies to balance the needs of underserved
established neighborhoods with the needs of
new or emerging neighborhoods.
Engagement
Highly successful parks and recreation
departments anticipate, respond to, involve,
and respect their users. Engagement means
that Denver residents are encouraged to
participate in every aspect of the park and
recreation system, including programming,
park design, and maintenance.
It means that DPR policy and vigorous
community outreach invite all voices in the
process, especiallyyouth. In turn, Denverites
are encouraged to take an active stewardship
role as volunteers and advocates. DPR
resources are also strengthened and leveraged
through innovative partnerships with other
agencies and organizations dedicated to open
6
the Game Plan process:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
spaces and recreation. A policy of engagement
also results in a park and recreation system that
richly reflects Denver, cultural differences and
evolving recreation trends.
And, finally, engagement means that Denvers
parks and recreation facilities and programs
could be serving the community in a much
broader sense, for our public places to come
alive with programs and opportunities for
Denver residents to learn, to create, to thrive
economically. Parks and recreation centers are
places for job training, environmental
education, or community festival economic
and social catalysts for a neighborhood.
Sound Economics
Ensuring a sustainable parks and recreation
system requires adequate funding. The Game
Plan emphasizes the need for creative sources
for both operating and capital dollars. Our
ability to develop new parks and programs
depends upon our ability to maintain our
current system while securing the funds for
improvements and acquisitions.
This requires realistic and sustainable
economic practices and dependable revenues.
It also takes a skilled staff to develop and
manage high-quality programs and facilities.
The Game Plans financial proposals are based
on analysis of existing infrastructure,
identification of neighborhoods in need, and
financial patterns over time. The
recommendations vary from increasing public
funding to compensate for chronic capital
underfunding to improving our business
relationships with service providers.
Edging Commons Park ^
03
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^ "Hands on Denver" volunteer
creating a vision
CHAPTER


^ Contemporary playground at Louiry
< A CITY IN A PARK: FROM VALUES TO PHYSICAL VISION
What new ideas or emphases could enhance
our extensive and beloved park and recreation
system? What needs to be protected?
Changed? What does a 21 st-century City in a
Park look like? It signifies a change in how we
define our parks and recreation programs as
well as how we design, build, and manage
them.
As a City in a Park, the City and County of
Denver becomes a new type of park the city
itself is a large park, with streets, buildings, and
people as integral elements of a rich and varied
landscape. It begins at our front doors and
extends to the mountain and prairie parks. And
it looks at the public realm in the broadest of
terms, in its entirety.
The City in a Park vision is built upon five broad
themes. The first three reinforce current
planning directions in Denver: building new
parks in new places; celebrating the Colorado
landscape in the city; and responding to 21st
century needs and trends.
The final two themes chart new territory for
DPR and Denver, weaving together land and
the work of various city departments with new
ideas about places: transforming open space
into green infrastructure and connecting the
public realm. A brief overview of each theme
follows, with details in later chapters, photos:
Northside Park, utility pole
Building new parks in new places
Except in developing areas, such as Stapleton
and Lowry, and future areas of change
(outlined in Blueprint Denver, Denvers land
use and transportation plan adopted in 2002),
where population growth will be channeled,
Denver is a city of established neighborhoods
and parks. How do we accommodate new
types of uses and add park land to bring
underserved neighborhoods up to par in these
established areas?
Blueprint Denver projects 132,000 new
residents by 2020. The majority of these new
residents will live in areas of change, which will
be converted from outdated land uses to new
mixed uses and open spaces. This will mean
looking at old places in new ways. For
example, over the past 20 years, Denver has
transformed brownfields, (abandoned,
8
the Game Plan process:


GAME PLAN
creating a
our future
industrial, or contaminated lands) into new
development.
One example is the former railyards along the
South Platte River in the Central Platte Valley,
now the setting for dramatic new places such
as Commons Park. Existing and new facilities
such as public schools could do double-duty,
providing school and community recreation
spaces and facilities. Fully built neighborhoods
may need to identify and adapt places such as
utility corridors or privately owned campuses
to develop new parks.
Celebrating the Colorado landscape
in the city
Denvers mountain parks have offered
residents a scenic retreat for 90 years. Today,
however, Denver residents also want that taste
of wildness within urban parks and open
spaces to celebrate our high plains and riparian
landscapes. Not only do Denverites want these
places, a sustainable park system in the arid
west must incorporate the plants and
landscapes able to survive in and offer relief
from drought.
Denver parks can have more natural areas with
native plantings, water, and wildlife habitat,
while continuing to provide spaces for specific
recreation purposes or that are laid out and
planted in a more formal style. The potential to
reveal and restore the Colorado landscape
exists throughout the system, especially in new
parks being developed.
New parks are beginning to extend beyond
Denvers 19th-century grid of formal parks and
parkways planted with bluegrass lawns and
non-native street trees. This original green
grid of parks and parkways provides a
welcome respite within an arid climate, but
does little to let people experience the native
landscape that gives the Denver region its
character and Colorado wildlife their home.
Newer Denver parks are incorporating the
Colorado landscape by celebrating elements
and features such as native grasses and the
natural ebb and flow of rivers.
Responding to 21st century needs
and trends
Shade structures over playgrounds? Public
food court playgrounds? Twenty-four-hour
recreation centers? Like any large complex
organization with a limited capital budget, DPR
can be slow to catch up, let alone anticipate,
new directions. And parks and facilities require
an intensive investment in fixed capital.
For example, Denver recently opened a $1
million skate park, the countrys largest, but
continues to try to find ways to meet the needs
of other residents who desire places to in-line
strategy for
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Food court as playground ^
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A, Natural areas along the Platte River in fell
creating a vision
9
CHAPTER


Storm water carefully channelled and cleaned ^
^ 1 Zth Avenue Parkway today
skate, ride horses, and exercise dogs. The
Game Plan provides a process to help the city
stay in tune with the people it serves and to be
ready for the changes in needs and trends that
will characterize recreation in the 21st century.
Transforming open space into
green infrastructure"
This is a new way for Denver to integrate public
open space with other basic city infrastructure,
such as storm water drainage and air and
water-quality controls, to transform our park
system into an environmental system, into
green infrastructure. The idea is to develop
and manage Denver as a city in an ecological
park, in which park lands and facilities
conserve natural resources such as water and
energy and protect the quality of our air, water,
soils, landscapes, and wildlife habitats.
Although all plants and turf consume water,
trees contribute a great deal back in return. For
example, trees can dramatically improve air
quality by removing pollutants and can
increase infiltration of ground water. Open
spaces can also store and help clean vast
amounts of storm water. As the city retrofits
older parks and builds new ones, each piece in
the system can contribute to protecting and
enhancing the citys natural resources.
Connecting the public realm
The City in a Park vision weaves Denvers open
spaces together into a whole. It begins at each
residents front door, with thousands of new
street trees and sidewalks connecting
neighborhoods and creating safe front yard
green spaces available to everyone.
It extends beyond the edge of the city to a
regional web of trails, waterways, and wildlife
habitats. In between, the city is connected by
public spaces, including downtown civic
space, parks and plazas, community gardens,
Learning Landscapes in every Denver public
school, and public recreation centers.
This comprehensive regional perspective
reflects the spirit of Denvers bold early plans,
such as the1914 Olmsted Plan for the
mountain parks and the Sopris-Lee plan in
1868 that proposed Sloan Lake and City Park,
then located outside of city limits. The Game
Plan emphasizes new connections between
existing sites in the system and proposes
solutions for how we get people from their
homes across rivers, roads, and tracks to parks,
schools, and downtown.
10
the Game Plan process:


creating a vision
11
CHAPTER


A SUMMARY
^ Congress Park art benches
Chess players at Davis Center ^
Expanding our Vision
The physical vision of Denver as a City in a Park
stretches our current definition of parks and
recreation in three broad ways. First, it expands
the range of public spaces that function as
parks, providing residents with maximum
choice and opportunities for access, as well as
a rich menu of experiences that respond to
neighborhood needs as well as emerging
leisure trends.
Second, it broadens the definition of parks and
public spaces across a range of scales, from the
front yard to neighborhood to community to
region and connects this system physically
to a degree notyet experienced or imagined.
And, finally, it weaves environmental goals into
the design and management of all public
spaces.
The City in a Park vision also honors the values
expressed by the people of Denver:
sustainability, equity, engagement, and sound
economics. Those values could translate into
the following ten broad goals for the Game
Plan. Chapter 2 discusses the context the
existing conditions, history, and data analysis
for achieving the following ten goals:
1. More parks and recreation for all
citywide. The Game Plan proposes adding
more than 700 acres of parkland and
distributing them equitably between growing
areas and existing neighborhoods. These
additions may be made by recycling industrial
land, sharing open spaces and ballfields with
schools, businesses, and institutions, and even
sharing utility corridors.
Within a half-mile of every home are new
community gardens, natural areas, walking
trails, playgrounds, informal play areas, or
interpretive historical and cultural areas. Older
parks are refurbished, expanded, and
enhanced with new natural areas, public art,
and trails. Recreation centers are built and
refurbished with higher standards for programs
and square footage per user.
2. Greener neighborhoods with lots of
new shade trees ... The Game Plan vastly
increases the citys tree canopy from the
current 6 percent citywide to 10 percent in
commercial areas and 18 percent in residential
neighborhoods.
12
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GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
Shading and beautifying city streets enhances
neighborhood identity and pride, creates
pleasant passageways between
neighborhoods and city parks, and improves
air quality. Trees remain a top priority even in
the event of continued drought.
3. ... while using less water... The 2002
drought dramatically illustrated the
vulnerability of our water supplies. Without
sacrificing the historic beauty of our parks or
our recreational opportunities, we can reduce
water needs (currently 2 billion gallons
annually) through more efficient management,
better irrigation systems, and by preserving or
restoring natural areas that thrive without
irrigation.
4. ... and conserving other natural
resources. The Game Plan also proposes
green, or environmentally friendly, practices
for design, renovation, construction, and
maintenance of all buildings and landscapes.
These measures will conserve water, energy,
and other natural resources, reduce pollution,
and protect wildlife habitat.
5. Improved access: You can get there
from here. Getting to a park or recreation
center can be difficult or even dangerous. The
Game Plan seeks to improve pedestrian,
bicycle, public transit, and other routes for
people of all ages and abilities. To achieve this,
Denver needs more sidewalks and trails, as
well as safer crossings at arterial roads,
interstates, and railroad tracks that separate
neighborhoods from parks and trails. Existing
trail systems will be vastly improved to weave
together the entire region.
6. Predict the recreation future (What
next? Disc golf on in-line skates?) Thirty
years ago, we could not have forecasted
todays passions for cycling, skateboarding, in-
line skating, disc golf, and dog-exercise parks.
Recognizing that recreation needs evolve, and
require both space and special facilities, the
Game Plan outlines a process for DPR to keep
up with trends, resolve conflicts, and provide
new recreation opportunities.
7. Bring a "taste of nature close to home.
The Game Plan reclaims and protects more
natural lands, including conservation areas and
healthy waterways that offer access for every
resident of every neighborhood. These natural
areas will be woven into a regional system that
extends from mountain parks to sandhill
prairie. Natural areas save water, provide
wildlife habitat, and create more diverse parks
and recreation experiences. New parklands
may include the sage and golden hues of the
natural prairie as well as the deeper green of
irrigated lawns and ballfields.
^ Falcon
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creating a vision
13
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In connection with the Civic Center
and its system of radiating
boulevards, the mountain paries will
form a climax of beauty and an
opportunity for pleasure
unequalled.
1913 Municipal Facts
Demand for group picnic areas keeps growing ^
A, Northside Park sculpture ,,, and visitor
8. A sumptuous past: Protect Denvers
historic parks, parkways, and structures.
Denvers oldest parks and parkways are
treasures recognized through local and federal
historic designation. The Game Plan preserves
this legacy through comprehensive training,
strict design review, restoration and repair
efforts that use durable and historically
accurate materials, and preventative
maintenance.
9. Save another historic treasure:
Revitalize the Mountain Parks. Denvers
mountain park system includes 62 historic
parks with classic structures and scenic drives.
They encompass 14,000 acres of natural and
historic treasures in three counties. The Game
Plan protects and enhances these resources
by: making connections that weave mountain
parks into a regional system; reducing fire risk;
balancing conflicting forms of recreation; and
devising new funding sources and
management techniques.
10. The Game Plan means business:
Change the way DPR works, focusing on
sound economics and creative
partnerships. The Game Plan recommends
both incremental and sweeping changes to
improve management and to secure funding. It
proposes new funding sources, partnerships,
and strategies to increase DPRs capital budget
and efficiency.
For example, improvements may result from
partnerships being initiated with more than 50
schools and from joint ventures with private
landowners. Some programs and activities
help pay their own way through fees for
residents who can afford to pay. Building upon
a long and effective history of involvement,
residents become even greater stewards and
volunteers, participating in park and recreation
programming, fundraising, and maintenance.
FOOTNOTE
1 Another 334 acres of neighborhood and
community parks are on the drawing
boards and an additional 1100 acres of
natural areas at Stapleton and Lowry will be
managed by the City.
14


dUAPree 2
the context for the Game Plan
Denvers parks and
recreation facilities
have always responded
to their times, reflecting
cultural expectations
and perceptions about
the relationship
between wild nature
and the city, and
accommodating
evolving recreational
preferences. This
chapter reviews the
significant forces which
have influenced our
modern-day parks
system, and then
discusses changes in
population, leisure
trends, infrastructure
condition, and
expectations for
accountability, which
have shaped the Game
Plan. The chapter
concludes with a
discussion of the
analysis that underlies
Game Plan responses to
these trends, and that
supports future
resource allocation and
investment decisions.


< DENVER'S PARK LEGACY: AN EVOLVING SYSTEM
Historic path along Highline Canal ^
Nature Tamed: Parks from the
City Beautiful Era
The 19th-century idea of a pastoral retreat is
evident in Denvers first and oldest parks. Early
landscape architects, including Reinhard
Schuetze and his successor, S. R. DeBoer,
labored during the late 19th century to
carefully design the informal-looking
meadows, lakes, winding paths, and small
forests of our older parks to provide a refuge
from the dusty, arid, emerging city.
At the turn of the 20th century, Denver Mayor
Robert Speer, who had been exposed to the
City Beautiful idea at the 1893 Worlds
Columbian Exposition in Chicago, introduced
the City Beautiful movement to Denver, then a
city of dirt streets.
In 1906, Speer hired the prominent landscape
architect George Kessler and planner Charles
Mulford Robinson, who recommended a
citywide system of boulevards and parks. Their
plan produced some of Denvers grandest civic
spaces, such as the Civic Center, the formal
parkways, and Cheesman Pavilion. Our park
legacy was honored in 1986 when 32 urban
parks and parkways were designated as
National Historic Landmarks.
These historic park designs shared a vision of
nature tamed as a refuge for residents living in
an industrial and polluted city. In arid
Colorado, this meant replacing the original
landscape the natural grasses and trees of
the high plains with images of parks
borrowed from lusher climates.
What resulted was a welcome but artificial
green layer laid over the citys formal grid. This
green grid gives Denver neighborhoods their
character and the city its overall urban form.
These dark green lawns and formal flower
beds, however, also use large amounts of
water and require expensive and sometimes
environmentally unsound maintenance
procedures.
In the first two decades of the 20th-century,
Denvers leaders extended this system of
connected parks into the foothills and
mountains by ultimately acquiring nearly
14,000 acres primarily in Jefferson County.1
16
responding to change:


Denver built its mountain parks system of
scenic roads weaving together parcels of
mountain land based on a plan by the
nationally renowned Olmsted Brothers
landscape architecture firm of Brookline, Mass.
In the 1930s, the mountain parks added
wonderful stone structures, meticulously
designed by the National Park Service and local
architects and built by the Civilian
Conservation Corps.
Celebrating the Regional Landscape:
Parks from the 1930s to the present
The growing importance of recreation, the
automobile, and changing attitudes about the
environment influenced the next six decades.
In the early 19th century, a visit to the large
parks on Denvers edges still required time and
transportation, excluding many poorer workers
in central Denver. As part of a national city
playground movement, Denver built corner-
lot playgrounds throughout the central city.
And during the decades immediately before
and after World War II, Denvers park system
expanded into all city neighborhoods through
a series of smaller neighborhood and
community parks.
S. R. DeBoers 1929 comprehensive plan
ushered in an era that acknowledged both the
automobile and the regional role and character
GAME PLAN cr
of Denvers parks. His landscape design ethic
celebrated Rocky Mountain landforms and
plants, even when artificially placed in a
traditional park, like the DeBoer Box Canyon in
City Park. In the 1930s, DeBoer also had the
foresight to conceive of the rebirth of the
South Platte River, then Denvers industrial
wasteland.
It took another 30 years for civic leaders to
begin to develop a system of river parks and
trails along the South Platte, whose renewal
became the centerpiece of the 1990s park
system expansions. The South Plattes rebirth
captures the environmental ethic and public
appreciation for natural areas that has grown
since the 1960s.
Ideas about park design have evolved still
further. Numerous new, innovative parks now
line the South Platte and its tributaries,
including Northside Park, which transformed
an old wastewater treatment plant, Commons
Park, which celebrates Denvers urban skyline
and the South Platte Rivers native habitat, and
Bluff Lake, Denvers first conservation area.
Over the past 30 years, Denver has added
significant modern-style parks, such as
Lawrence Halprins downtown Skyline Park and
the highly symbolic and contemplative Babi-Yar
Park designed by Halprin and Saturn Nishita.
(0
^ Mountain Paries brochure
TP
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Denver Park Design tegacy
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< Tree lined streets and sidewalks *
< Public parks on high ground o
< Capturing mountain views
(0
< Celebrating water pa
< Connecting public lands with ^
special streets T
< Connecting civic buildings and 3
park land
< Connecting the city to the
mountains
context for the game plan
17
CHAPTER


Denvers skate park, 2001 ^
Evolution of public recreation
Parks a century ago teemed with people
bicycling, boating, playing tennis, riding horses,
and socializing. A band concert on July 4,1910
at City Park, called the Peoples Park,
attracted more than 100,000. People caught
drinking or speeding (driving over 8 m.p.h.)
were jailed in the basement of the Pavilion.
Activities in the parks have changed continually
over time; people no longer camp, swim, or
race horses and cars in the parks. Bicycling
continues to be a passion, joined today by
people running and in-line skating.
Not until the 1960s did the city build and staff
its public recreation centers. Built originally to
provide a safe refuge for youth during a
tumultuous social period for cities, Denvers
recreation centers offer programs for all ages
and special needs. Recreation programs now
extend beyond these walls to care for children
after school and to offer special trips and
opportunities such as mountain challenge
courses.
Denvers parks and recreation system will
continue to evolve. The challenge facing the
Game Plan is to ensure that a number of forces
which have the capacity to significantly alter
the system, are addressed in a positive,
proactive manner.
A FORCES SHAPING THE GAME PLAN
Since 1986, when the most recent parks master
plan was completed though never adopted
Denver has changed in some important
ways. Four major areas of change are
discussed: population trends, recreation
preferences, aging infrastructure, and
heightened expectations.
Population Trends
During the past two decades the citys
population has increased by nearly one-fifth,
though in real terms, population is just now
approaching the previous peak achieved
during the boom years of the 1970s. Some
neighborhoods have become more densely
populated and ethnically diverse, and many
are among the least-well-endowed with parks
and open space. Who uses the citys parks
and how they use them also has changed.
Since 1970, the areas that have experienced
the largest population increases (over 25
18
responding to change:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
percent in real terms) include Montbello, East
Colfax, Fort Logan, Harvey Park South, College
View/South Platte, Washington Park/Virginia
Vale, Hampden, and Hampden South (Map:
Population Increases). Areas with more
modest growth (11 to 25 percent) include the
West Side neighborhoods of Westwood, Villa
Park, and Barnum.
According to the Denver Regional Council of
Governments (DRCOG) and Blueprint Denver,
the largest areas of future growth, based on
new homes planned, will be in central Denver,
portions of Southeast Denver, the new Lowry
and Stapleton communities, and the far
Northeast neighborhoods.
In the past decade, Denver also became a
more urban city. This is especially evident with
Population Growth by neighborhood from 1990-2000
context for the game plan
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19
CHAPTER



Davis recreation center swimmer ^
high-rise, loft, and townhome redevelopment
downtown and in Cherry Creek. But density
does not always result from an increase in
housing stock. Many older West Side and
Northeast neighborhoods have experienced
increasing population density because
households are larger, not because new
homes have been built.
The Density Map shows that the densest areas,
with more than 15 people per acre, are parts of
the West Side, Lincoln Park, Capitol and North
Capitol Hill, Congress and Cheesman Parks,
and East Colfax. The range extends to an
upper bound of 46.7 people per acre in North
Capitol Hill, compared to a citywide average of
just under six people per acre.2 Because more
land is occupied by development in
Expected Population Growth from 2000-2020
20
responding to change:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
higher-density areas, parks, playing fields, and
natural areas become much more valuable to
residents. Residents of higher-density areas
also will need conveniently located
neighborhood parks, both traditional and new.
Even if population does not increase much in
real terms, a shift in population distribution or
density can have significant impacts if occurring
in areas of the city that have limited park
resources. Increased population or density in
these neighborhoods can translate into new
demands on existing resources, more
competition for parks and trails, and more wear
and tear. Data suggest that between 1970 and
2000, park acreage in the neighborhoods that
gained the most people averaged only 5.6 acres
per 1,000 people, compared to an average of
10.1 acres for the city as a whole.
Population Density by Neighborhood
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context for the game plan
21
CHAPTER


^ Senior centers serve thousands
Denvers demographics have also shifted. In
the past 10 years, two age groups people
under age 25 and between the ages of 45 and
54 have comprised close to half of the citys
population. Residents age 24 and younger
now constitute nearly a third of the citys
population, while Baby Boomers account for
about 13 percent of the total. These shifts are
important, as recreation and leisure trends
tend to vary by age.
Population Growth of Children
The city is also more ethnically diverse.
Non-Hispanic whites (Caucasians or Anglos)
comprised two thirds of the citys population
in 1990 and now comprise just over half. The
Denver Public Schools population is now only
21 percent Caucasian. To the extent that
different groups have different recreational
preferences and the 2001 Game Plan
General Survey suggests that they do this
22
responding to change:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
growing diversity means that our system must
become more flexible to accommodate the
needs of all residents.
In response to population trends, the citys
parks and recreation system is seeing both
increased levels of use and more varied types
of uses compared to 10 years ago. By 2020,
the citys population is projected to increase
further by 132,000 people nearly a 25
percent gain. This will place still more
demands on the citys parks and recreation
resources, especially in areas of change,
identified in Blueprint Denver, where the city
hopes to channel growth and develop more
transit. New, different, or upgraded amenities
may be needed in these areas.
Changing leisure and recreation trends
In Denver, as nationwide, recreation and
leisure trends are becoming more complex,
influenced by social and demographic forces.
Activities such as tennis and football have
declined while new activities have emerged.
For example:
A The fastest growing leisure activity is
walking and fitness walking, enjoyed
primarily by Baby Boomers. This
generation is much more active than their
parents at the same age, but prefers low-
impact activities or activities that can
include young children.
A Among youth, the most popular activities
include anything on wheels, such as in-line
skating and skateboarding, all-terrain in-
line skating, and mountain boarding.
A Organized league activities for youth
soccer and baseball are still very popular,
having largely replaced the spontaneous
pickup games that were the norm 30
years ago.
A New hybrid sports such as disc golf have
emerged that combine elements of several
activities in new ways.
A More cities are investing in year-round
facilities such as indoor soccer arenas, ice
rinks, indoor playgrounds, indoor pools
with summer use, and covered
playgrounds offering protection against the
sun.
A Even pets are getting into the act. Some 35
percent of Colorado households own a
dog. Parks systems across the U.S. have
created off-leash areas where people can
play with their pets.
An Aging Physical System, Real Financial
Constraints, and Environmental Realities
Denvers parks infrastructure is aging. The
majority of parks and recreation centers were
constructed prior to the 1970s and major
mechanical and related systems are failing.
The irrigation system alone constitutes a
significant capital repair expense, and
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context for the game plan
23
CHAPTER


Bicyling, circa 1 900 ^
^ Bicycling today, more popular and
accessible than ever
estimates for its replacement with a new, more
efficient system, approach $50 million. The
financial commitment required to maintain
this aging system and growing backlog of
capital repairs is a drain on resources and
dramatically reduces the citys ability to provide
innovative programs and facilities.
DPR's most recent capital repair and
maintenance estimates show that the city faces
a yearly $6 million deficit to catch up with
deferred repairs and then keep the system in
good shape. It faces another $10 million yearly
shortfall to cover the currently identified capital
upgrades, improvements, and expansions. The
result over time is a physical infrastructure that
continues to slip deeper into disrepair, moving
moderate projects into a more critical state.
The Game Plan projects themselves will require
additional funding beyond these identified
needs.
And, the environmental realities for DPR and
Denver vary in their intensity but never lose
their presence: periodic drought from Denvers
lack of precipitation and dependence upon a
limited and fickle water source; a long-standing
fight against polluted air; water quality
problems in lakes and streams from non-point
source pollution; and flooding. DPR has a role
in contributing to these issues and a
tremendous potential to help solve them.
Heightened Public Expectations for
Accountability
Both the 2001 Game Plan Survey and a survey
conducted during the same time period by the
citys Budget Management office show that
residents value well-maintained and safe
amenities and think the city needs to improve
delivery of those amenities. This parallels a
nationwide trend in which the public is more
sensitive to public spending, and expects
greater accountability from parks and
recreation, public works, and other city
departments.
Achieving the City in a Park vision will require
DPR to be accountable to Denver residents
and to respond to the needs of its customers.
The plan does that by translating the guiding
values and goals articulated in the previous
chapter into a system and process that
facilitates measurement and monitoring of
progress toward this vision. The Game Plan
identifies indicators that capture the essence
of A City in a Park, and sets qualitative or
quantitative performance goals as long-range
objectives to track progress. Benchmarks,
which reflect the condition or level of service
existing in the year 2000, are also set as a
means to gauge shortterm progress.
To provide an illustration, street tree canopy
cover is one indicator, with 18 percent
24
responding to change:


GAME PLAN creating
coverage citywide established as a long-range
performance goal. In 2000, Denver had a tree
canopy cover of 6 percent, which will be used
as a benchmark against which to gauge year-
to-year progress.
Indicators and performance goals are based on
four information sources:
A Information from residents about what
they value most in our park system;
A Comparisons of Denvers performance to
similar cities;
A Comparisons to national standards
advocated by the National Recreation and
Parks Association (NRPA), a professional
organization of parks administrators; and
A Professional expertise within DPR.
While values ultimately define what residents
want to see in their parks and recreation
system, actual numeric goals are informed by
the experience of similar cities nationwide. In
2000, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) surveyed
25 cities including Denver to gather
information on per-capita park acreage,
amenities, and expenditures and provides an
important context for Game Plan
recommendations. More information is
available in Chapter 3: Generous Park Acreage.
The Game Plans approach of focusing more
on customer needs and measuring
performance in reaching goals is a major
departure for DPR. Congruent with the
performance measurement framework
established by the Denver Comprehensive
Plan 2000 and Blueprint Denver, such an
approach is also consistent with that adopted
by private industry in the 1980s and 1990s to
improve competitiveness and by parks
systems in Indianapolis, New York City, Raleigh,
and Ft. Lauderdale.
< ACHIEVING THE CITY IN A PARK VISION: THE DETAILS
The City in a Park vision described in following
chapters offers a range of physical
recommendations at three scales:
neighborhood scale and just beyond; citywide
scale, which addresses connections, civic
space, and Denvers urban waterways; and
from mountains to plains, which addresses the
citys regional open space and trails and the
mountain parks system. Policy
recommendations are directed at the
sustainability of the natural and built
environment; equity in amenities; more
a strategy for our future ,ffUSi''
The Game Plan identifies indicators
that capture the essence of A City in
a Park, and sets qualitative or
quantitative performance goals as
long-range objectives to track
progress.
Davis Center remodeled in 2000 ^
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context for the game plan
25
CHAPTER


Waterplay
l
resident and partner engagement in planning
and implementation; and a sound economic
foundation for the system. As a framework
plan, the recommendations deliberately were
not prioritized, with the assumption that City
staff, working with the DPR Advisory
Committee, will create yearly work plans and
priorities based upon budget and other city
projects.
These recommendations respond to the
underlying goals and values of the plan, and to
the trends outlined above. They are also
shaped by the proposed performance
measurement framework and by a great deal of
analysis to determine where there are gaps
between the City in a Park vision and current
achievements.
Priorities
To determine priorities for action at the
neighborhood level, the Game Plan identifies
areas of the city that are well below desired
performance goals. By comparing resources to
current and projected demands for services,
the Game Plan seeks to target the citys
investments to ensure an equitable distribution
of resources. At the citywide and regional
scale, progress against more qualitative
benchmarks is assessed. At the policy level,
this gap analysis employs both qualitative
and qualitative measures and goals. And, to
be realistic, early actions are proposed that are
lower in investment but have a high payoff.
This gap analysis provides a context for
making decisions about investment or
reinvestment in parks and recreation
amenities, or in new policy initiatives. The
Game Plan does not recommend investment
only in needy or growing neighborhoods, or in
initiatives that will be quick successes, but
rather provides tools and resources to help
create priorities and monitor progress.
FOOTNOTES
1 Denver also has park land in Douglas
County, Clear Creek County, and Grand
County (Winter Park Ski Area).
2 Density is calculated based on number of
people per acre, rather than number of
housing units per acre. This acknowledges
that an areas population density can
increase if more people are occupying the
same housing stock, as well as from
construction of new homes.
26


dUAPTee 3
C\QJGGhJ
a city in a park begins at home
To realize this
vision of A City in
a Park, the DPR
Game Plan starts
with the places
closest to the
heart:
neighborhood
streets and public
spaces,
schoolyards, and
places to gather.
Game Plan
proposals involve
making every city
neighborhood
greener and then
extend outward to
the broader
community fabric of
recreation centers,
playing fields, and
community level
amenities. And in a
water wise, arid city,
that green varies
from the deep
green of the right
tree in the right
place to the sage
green of native
plants.


A Pick-up at Mestizo Curtis Park
< BUILDING BLOCKS FOR GREENER NEIGHBORHOODS

Denver 2010: A cool canopy of drought
resistant street trees shades each neighborhood
and cleanses the air. A network of public spaces
that residents can walk to creates a vibrant
urban landscape supporting a wide variety of
activities, from bird watching to community
gardening. Schoolyards, recreation center
grounds, and other gathering places have been
transformed through cooperative efforts.
New park-like spaces are created through
redevelopment agreements with private
developers, and found spaces, from vacant lots
to rooftop gardens, become oases in the city.
Restored natural open space offers new
opportunities for residents to experience wildlife.
street trees, smaller park like spaces, and
natural open space are the smallest scale
building blocks of A City in a Park. These small
scale improvements seek to leverage existing
often underutilized land resources to
provide a great deal of value to residents for a
comparatively small investment.
They also provide immediate opportunities for
DPR to partner with other public agencies and
private redevelopment entities to improve
Denverites quality of life. And the green of
these spaces is now an array of greens: from
the sage green of high plains plants to the
green of an urban plaza paving stone.
Beyond the neighborhood, recreation centers
citywide provide an array of services most
desired by residents, while new or refurbished
centers offer the latest programming and
equipment. Neighbors gather at transit stop
plazas while waiting for a bus. Cooperative
agreements with schools and colleges provide
opportunities to use playing fields and other
green space.
The features and elements described above
< STREE TREE CANOPY COVER:
GREEN GRID AND GREEN LUNGS
Vision for Stree Tree Canopy Cover
A City in a Park is a shaded city, where street
trees play an important role in defining urban
form, provide environmental and economic
benefits, and enhance our quality of life. An
appropriate sized canopy of drought resistant
trees in an arid city like Denver is the mainstay
of a green open space.
28
green neighborhoods:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
Values
Denvers green grid of street trees connects
the city and defines its character and form.
Early Denver residents planted the first street
trees in 1867. Adding shade and greenery to
the prairie and urban environments, street
trees have become one of the parks systems
most valued elements. Modern day residents
increasingly value this urban forest, especially
as our climate becomes more extreme. A
majority of residents attending Game Plan
open houses said they would pay more taxes
for street tree improvements. And, especially
important during this time of drought, trees
(and shrubs) are considered the landscape
priority for water.
In a less visible manner, a healthy street-tree
canopy also functions as the citys green
lungs, transforming climate and removing air
and waterborne pollutants. Significant
environmental benefits are realized, including:
A Improved air quality by removing
pollutants;
A Energy conservation from reduced
demand for air-conditioning; and
A Increased infiltration of storm water into
the ground, reducing the need for flood
infrastructure and maintenance/operations
expenses.
A Reduced the amount of volatile organic
compounds that a hot, parked car releases
into the air.
While residents may be less aware of these
potential benefits, they offer a compelling
incentive for city agencies to invest in
augmenting our urban forest. Of the various
plant materials sod, flowers, shrubs, and
trees it is the dramatic impact of long-lived
trees that help carry us through a drought and
become the priority water user.
Performance indicators
Although a 2001 American Forest report
suggests that a tree canopy cover of 25% offers
substantial environmental and economic
benefits, Denvers Forestry staff recommends a
goal of 15-18% in residential areas and 10
percent in commercial areas and the Central
Business District (CBD) as more appropriate for
our arid climate.
Game Plan Street Tree
Performance Goal
Provide a tree-canopy cover of
15-18 percent in urban residential
areas and 10 percent in the
central business district by 2025.
772
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a city in a park begins at home
29


^ Denver s street trees
How does the city measure up?
Counting residential, commercial, and
industrial areas, Denvers street tree canopy
averaged 6 percent in 2001, as measured by an
American Forests study of five cities along the
Front Range. Wide variations exist by
geographic area and neighborhood. Along 7th
Avenue Parkway, for example, large mature
trees create about 40 percent cover. Elsewhere
the urban forest has deteriorated. Residents are
very aware of this uneven coverage; one-third
of residents surveyed rated DPRs maintenance
of the urban forest as only fair or poor.
A visual analysis of the citys most recent aerial
survey indicates that one third of Denvers
neighborhoods may have tree cover below the
citywide average, as illustrated in the Tree
Canopy cover map. Another one-third of
Tree Canopy Cover
green neighborhoods


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
neighborhoods meets the city average but is
below the recommended 18 percent standard.
Since this assessment is drawn from an aerial
survey, it is difficult to judge just how many
new trees are needed. Conservative estimates
suggest at least 50,000 new trees are needed
(when appropriate to plant) plus annual
replacement of 2,000 unhealthy, dead or dying
trees from the current inventory.
Recommendations for Trees
1. Complete a comprehensive physical
assessment and inventory of tree cover to
identify areas that do not meet the
performance goal and to guide future
investments in these areas.
2. Use the inventory to develop an action
plan and budget for canopy replacement
and restoration. Begin with neighborhoods
most in need that also are organized and
actively support the effort.
3. Monitor and report progress to residents
using methods described in Chapter 8.
4. Update and reissue the citys streetscape
design manual.
5. Ensure that DPR, Planning (CPDA), and
Public Works (PW) provide common
planning and enforcement standards and
jointly adopt final guidelines.
6. Incorporate all planning into a city-wide
drought plan for all plant materials


< A BIT OF "BREATHING SPACE:
ACCESSIBLE PUBLIC OPEN SPACE
IN EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD
Vision
A City in a Park provides a network of
breathing space: safe, accessible, and flexible
open spaces located within a half-mile of every
home.
Values
As Denver becomes more urban, residents
increasingly value green breathing space that
they can walk to within their immediate
neighborhoods. These breathing spaces
encompass a wide range of places with varied
landscape character, from natural open space
to neighborhood parks or rooftop gardens, to
more urban squares and plazas.
What they hold in common is their ability to
support gathering, recreation and relaxation
among families, friends and neighbors.
These public open spaces also enhance
property values and provide visual relief from
surrounding development.
Expanding or enhancing these varied
neighborhood spaces was rated as one of the
top two DPR priorities by over two thirds of city
residents responding to the Game Plan survey.
^ Commons Parle turf and grasses
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Urban Farm at Stapleton ^
They also described a wide range of amenities
that could be included in these spaces, such
as:
^ Community gardens,
^ Public art,
^ Interpretation of neighborhood history or
cultural heritage,
^ Playgrounds and learning landscapes for
children,
^ Pickup soccer, Frisbee, and other games,
^ Natural open space with opportunities for
wildlife, and
^ Short-loop walking trails.
These also were the amenities for which
residents were most willing to pay increased
taxes.
It is important to note that access to these
public neighborhood spaces is much more
important to Denver residents than the acreage
contained within them. Residents want these
spaces to be walkable: they should ideally be
no more than a 10-minute walk from home, via
sidewalks, paths, or other safe pedestrian
thoroughfares that do not require them to
cross a busy arterial street or active rail line.
Performance indicators
Most U.S. cities establish acreage standards for
small neighborhood parks; but only a few, such
as Minneapolis and Seattle, also consider
access as an important performance measure.
The most typical goal is to provide a
neighborhood park within one-half mile from
home. No cities seem to incorporate the
notion of safety.
In addition, community gardens, plazas,
courtyards, and other nontraditional public
spaces typically are not counted as fulfilling the
goal. But because these are the kinds of
amenities Denverites value, the Game Plan
incorporates these types of public spaces in
the performance goal.
Game Plan Public Open-Space
Performance God
Provide at least one-half acre of
public open space within one-half
mile of every residents home that
can be reached without crossing a
major barrier.
The Game Plan takes this goal one step further
in also identifying basic amenities that should
be incorporated in these neighborhood scale
open spaces. Some elements are more
appropriate to a space that is mostly green,
and others more appropriate to an urban,
hardscaped facility. Nonetheless, they
constitute basic creature comforts intended
32
green neighborhoods:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
to make gathering and recreating an enjoyable
experience.
Game Plan Public Open Space
Design Elements:
Introduce a comprehensive
basic program for breathing space
in neighborhoods that includes: a
loop walking trail; shade, seating,
and a drinking fountain; an open
play area; a picnic area; plantings;
and a focal element, such as
publicart, a gazebo, ora plaza.
This basic program should be
modified to suit the type of space
under consideration.
Given neighborhood need and available
space, breathing spaces also might include
multi-use courts, community gardens, a
playground, more extensive gardens and
plantings, and natural open space. It is
essential that these optional elements reflect
neighborhood needs and involve
neighborhood residents in their planning.
How does the city measure up?
Overall, Denver is doing a strong job of
providing accessible breathing spaces, which
is illustrated in the Walkable Parks map. As
measured in the benchmark year of 2000,
some 90 percent of residents enjoyed safe
access to neighborhood parks, and all
neighborhoods have walkable access to
schoolyards and other spaces that could be
improved to better serve residents.
Areas that presently pose challenges for safe
access include Westwood/Mar Lee near
Mississippi; portions of the 1-25 corridor
between University and Hampden; Windsor;
portions of Park Hill/Congress Park; and the
Northwest neighborhoods next to Federal
Boulevard.
These are also areas with average population
increases of 15 to 25 from 1980 to 2000. As
Denver continues to grow, areas with future
access issues may include downtown
neighborhoods, West Colfax, Morrison Road,
South Federal Boulevard, portions of Globeville
and Elyria-Swansea, the Platte River spine,
University Park, and Hampden.
Like other older U.S. cities whose land area is
mostly built out, Denvers opportunities for
expanding its public open spaces will require
transformation of redevelopment sites;
partnerships with educational institutions and
campuses for shared use of their facilities; and
leveraging of spaces such as carriage lots and
rooftops that otherwise would be overlooked.
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Blueprint Denvers Small Area and Corridor
Plans also offer an opportunity to link new park
and public space creation to redevelopment.
The Game Plan envisions every schoolyard
renovated to be both a Learning Landscape
and a neighborhood park or green breathing
space. The Highest Priority School Projects
map shows the potential for open space and
breathing space that could be provided on
elementary and middle school grounds alone.
Urban school grounds typically provide two to
eight acres of open space depending on the
grades served. Managed and maintained
under shared-use agreements, these sites
could provide a total of 400-500 additional
acres of public open space citywide.
Building on the current Learning Landscape
program, DPR and Denver Public Schools have
Walkable Parks
34
green neighborhoods:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
identified the next 50 schools for renovation
that could increase open space in
neighborhoods identified as in most need of
parkland. These are also areas where sustained
population growth has occurred since 1980.
These school lands alone could provide an
estimated 250 acres of additional public open
space in these neighborhoods. See Appendix
for a full list.
Another opportunity to create more breathing
space in the city involves encouraging
redevelopment at the neighborhood or site
scale. Redevelopment in the areas of change
identified in Blueprint Denver should be
accompanied by a commitment from private
developers to provide public space for all
neighborhood residents, not just residents of
new or redeveloped housing.
Highest Priority Schools Parks
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Millenium Bridge, an urban park over train tracks A
Through the citys Pedestrian Master Plan
process, DPR has begun working with CPDA
and PW to remove barriers to parks and open
space. Where arterial streets are viewed as
safety hazards, the city is considering installing
pedestrian-activated stoplights and traffic-
calming devices such as bulb-outs. Grade-
separated crossings, such as those at
underpasses and pedestrian bridges, should be
considered for more significant barriers, such
as waterways, interstate highways, and active
rail lines.
Recommendations for Breathing Spaces
1. Bring neighborhoods that lack adequate
breathing space up to par within 10 years.
2. Plan for projected growth as a concurrent
priority.
3. Encourage partnerships with city agencies,
DPS and private redevelopment entities to
leverage existing City owned land and
transform underutilized lands into public
amenities.
4. Remove or mitigate barriers to access (real
or perceived) to neighborhood facilities.
Support Blueprint Denver
recommendations to make arterial streets
safer and more pedestrian-friendly and to
provide grade-separated crossings in
especially dangerous areas.
5. Encourage the creation of a variety of
public spaces so residents have choices.
Community gardens, urban plazas, and
other public spaces where people can
gather are possible alternatives to formal
parks.
6. Ensure that community spaces are safe
through good design, more neighborhood
eyes on the park, ranger programs.
< EQUITABLE AND GENEROUS
STANDARDS FOR PARK ACREAGE
Vision
A City in a Park enhances Denvers reputation
as a city with generous park resources by
adding acreage adequate to accommodate
growth, while also distributing parks and open
space more equitably throughout the city.
Values
Community surveys show that residents highly
value and frequently use the citys parks.
Seventy eight percent of residents have visited
a city park at least once in the past year, while
42 percent of residents visited at least 10 times
in the past year. Another 36 percent reported
visiting between one and nine times. Fully 85
percent of residents surveyed think parks make
a major or moderate contribution to the citys
quality of life. About 75 percent of residents
36
green neighborhoods:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
are satisfied with the availability of these
amenities throughout the city.
Denvers park resources are also generous
compared with communities of similar size.
The expansive quantity of park acreage
available in the city undoubtedly contributes to
its use and value. Safeguarding this land bank
and maintaining this level of amenity as the city
grows are among the Game Plans key
challenges.
Though Denvers parks resources overall are
above average, some areas of the city lack
acreage relative to their population. And, over
the next two decades, areas that now have
City Comparison
adequate parkland may find they have too little
space as growth takes place. The Game Plan
provides an approach to addressing these
distribution issues so that all residents have
equitable access to public open space.
Performance indicators
The National Recreation and Parks Association
(NRPA) recommends a standard of 10 acres of
parkland for every 1,000 people. This is also the
approximate average public open space
acreage provided by cities comparable to
Denver in population and density, as shown in
the City Comparison table. Where those parks
City
(Acres)
Census)
Total Public Open Public Open
Space within City Space Acres per
(Acres) 1,000 Residents
Golf Courses
Golf Course
Acreage (GCA)
Total Public Open Parks & Open
Space within City Space Acres per
(Acres) (w/o 1,000 Residents
GCA)
(w/o GCA)
Cincinnati 49,408 331,285 7,391 22.3 7 1121 6,270 18.1
Cleveland 49,280 478,403 2,887 6.0 2 713 2,174 4.4
Denver 98,112 554,591 6125 11 7 942 5180 9.3
Detroit 88,768 951,270 5,890 6.2 6 N/A N/A N/A
Minneapolis 35,156 382,618 5,694 14.9 6 1100 4,594 12.8
Pittsburgh 35,584 334,563 2,735 8.2 1 57 2,678 7.7
Seattle 53,696 563,374 6,194 11.0 4 425 5,769 11.0
St. Louis 39,616 348,189 3,385 9.7 3 299 3,086 8.8
AVERAGE 493,036 4,977 10.1 686 4,377 8.9
^ Treatment plant to park; the before and after
of Northside Park
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Schools become neighborhood parks:
Bromuiell Elementary ^
are located and what they offer in terms of
amenities, of course, are equally important.
Given that three quarters of Denver residents
are satisfied with the current level of park
acreage in the city, this seems to be a
reasonable standard to maintain as the city
moves forward into the future.
Game Plan Proposed Park
Acreage Performance Goal
Provide 8 to 10 acres of
parkland for every 1,000
residents, assuming 8 acres as a
lower bound and 10 acres as
most desirable.
How does the city measure up?
When all public open space within city
boundaries is included, Denver provides 11
acres for every 1,000 people, which exceeds
the proposed performance goal. But because
golf courses require a fee for use and cannot
be used for other activities such as hiking,
Denvers current level of amenities was also
calculated excluding golf course acreage.
These calculations show that Denver provides
9.3 acres of parkland per 1,000 people, still
slightly above comparable cities average of 8.9
acres per 1,000 residents.
For Denver to increase acreage provided to 10
acres/1,000 residents, exclusive of golf courses,
the city would need to add another 700 acres
of public parkland and multi-purpose open
space. Based on Blueprint Denver's growth
projections, 1,000 to 1,300 additional acres
would need to be added by 2025 to maintain
the current level of service.
Projects planned for Lowry, Green Valley
Ranch, Stapleton, and elsewhere, totaling
1,449 acres, meet a significant portion of this
need, but do not address the issue of equity in
distribution of parkland throughout the city.
Consequently, the call for an additional 700
acres holds true into the future, even with the
additional parkland currently on the drawing
boards.
The Park Acreage map illustrates a number of
neighborhoods in the city that fall below the
established performance range for acreage.
Areas at only 50 percent of goal or below
include parts of the West Side (West Colfax,
Villa Park, Westwood, Harvey Park, Harvey Park
South); parts of Northwest Denver (Highland,
West Highland, Sunnyside); Park Hill; East
Colfax; the South Valley; and parts of Southeast
Denver (University Hills, Virginia Village, Cory
Merrill, and Southmoor Park).
38
green neighborhoods:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
Many of these areas specifically the central
and south West Side, Park Hill and Northeast
Park Hill, East Colfax, portions of Southeast and
Montbello are also among the citys highest-
density neighborhoods, and there are limited
facilities outside the citys boundaries to
accommodate the needs of these
neighborhood residents
Blueprint Denvers Areas of Change map
considers projected growth through 2025, for
the areas of change identified in Blueprint
Denver. While many of these areas now have
adequate parkland compared to the
recommended goal, future growth could
change that. The downtown neighborhoods,
for example, could require 40 new acres of
parkland to keep up with projected growth.
Neighborhoods already below standard
Park Acreage
For Denver to increase acreage
provided to 10 acres/1,000
residents, exclusive of golf courses,
the city would need to add
an additional 700 acres of
public parkland and multi-purpose
open space.
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Elyria-Swansea and West Colfax, for example
could face new pressures from projected
growth. These areas may not be served by new
parkland at Stapleton and Lowry.
Opportunities to acquire new parkland are
limited by the existing developed land area
within the city. The city should pursue creative
strategies to add large parkland parcels, such as
reclaiming abandoned industrial lands (called
brownfields), ensuring that redevelopment in
designated areas of change provides for public
parkland, and forging partnerships with
schools and colleges for shared use of green
spaces.
The citys larger secondary-school campuses
and universities represent a potential shared
resource. Strong partnerships with DPS, private
colleges and schools, and other institutions
Blueprint Denvers Areas of Change
40
green neighborhoods:


GAME PLAN
creating
a strategy for our future
should be developed to seek shared-use
agreements and identify long-lead acquisition
and redevelopment opportunities. Campuses
could be acquired if their owners vacate.
The Potential Campuses map shows potential
opportunities to acquire new parkland,
leveraging these shared-use agreements with
area secondary schools and other institutions.
Approximately 400 acres of parkland might be
provided in the areas that have the most
significant deficits in park acreage, and another
350 acres in areas that have less severe deficits
or projected deficits based on Blueprint
Denvers growth scenario. A total of 750
additional acres might be acquired through
these partnerships.
As areas of the city redevelop, opportunities
will exist to provide public open space for area
Potential Campuses
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a city in a park begins at
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residents. It is essential that appropriate
direction and incentives be provided to ensure
that public open space is provided at a level
commensurate with the service goal proposed
above. Additionally, where large-scale
redevelopment will be taking place, incentives
should be offered to enable developers to
bundle public space parcels together to
create larger park like spaces to meet needs for
active recreation and community gathering.
Recommendations for Equitable and
Generous Park Land
1. Bring areas of the city that are significantly
below the desired acreage goal up to par
within 10 years.
2. Plan for growth while addressing the
uneven distribution of parkland.
3. Work with CPDAto ensure that
redevelopment, especially within areas of
change, provides neighborhood parkland
at the recommended level of service.
4. Provide direction and incentives for
developers to earmark sufficient open
space to meet the performance goal. For
large-scale redevelopment sites, the city
should offer incentives to enable
developers to bundle public space
parcels to create larger park like spaces for
active recreation and community
gathering.
5. Strengthen partnerships with DPS, private
colleges and schools, and other institutions
to seek shared-use agreements and identify
long-lead acquisition and redevelopment
opportunities.
6. Strengthen partnerships with non-profits,
such as Groundwork Denver, Earthforce,
Denver Urban Gardens, that are working to
increase types and availability of open
space
7. Strengthen relationships with potential
funding partners, such as Great Outdoors
Colorado and foundations.
< NATURAL OPEN SPACE
Vision
A City in a Park provides accessible natural
open space at the neighborhood scale and
beyond, creating opportunities for residents to
observe wildlife from a safe distance, while
sheltering urban wildlife and allowing
movement along migration routes.
Values
Nearly 90 percent of respondents to the Game
Plan survey agreed that natural open space
makes a major or moderate contribution to the
citys quality of life. Three quarters say that
acquiring additional natural open space is a
major or moderate priority, and this was one of
42
green neighborhoods:


the three items residents valued most as part of
future expansion of the system. Residents view
natural open space close to home as
particularly desirable. But residents add that
DPR could do a much better job of providing
natural areas. Only 46 percent rated DPRs
performance as excellent or good.
Since its inception in 1995, the citys Natural
Areas program has pioneered sustainable
methods for restoration and management of
urban open space, especially along waterways,
but also within parks. The programs focus on
restoration and sustainable landscape
management can create natural open space,
even in small spaces within the most urban
neighborhoods.
For example, aboveground channels that
support wildlife habitat can be used to convey
storm water runoff in place of conventional
underground pipes. Planting native trees,
grasses, and wildflowers within parks also
creates wildlife habitat.
Performance indicators
Few other cities have goals for natural open
space distinct from their parks systems,
although Minneapolis and Oakland/East Bay
identify significant natural open space as an
important amenity. Because opportunities for
natural open space are to some degree
GAME PLAN crea
dependent on the location of natural
resources, performance goals that quantify
acreage or sites are less meaningful than a
statement of intent.
It is clear, however, that more traditional
parkland could be naturalized, replacing sod
with more native and water conserving
materials, to conserve water. The Game Plan
therefore proposes the following performance
goals for natural open space:
Game Plan Natural Areas
Performance Goals
Provide significant natural area
acreage in each quadrant of the
city.
Provide opportunities for
natural open space close to
various neighborhoods with
appropriate natural resources.
Encourage more natural open
space in the design of new parks
and the retrofitting of established
parks.
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43
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^ !/ucca plants in Lalceuiood Dry Gulch
How does the city measure up?
Close to half of Denver residents 46 percent
live within convenient walking distance to a
natural open space area or greenway corridor.
The city also provides large natural areas in
each quadrant of the city, including Bluff Lake,
parts of Bear Creek Park, and along the citys
major drainage ways and gulches. Numerous
parks, including Hentzel Park, Bible Park, and
Babi Yar Park, have added natural areas without
altering the character or function of core
spaces.
Recommendations for Natural Areas
1. Amend the Natural Areas Strategic Plan to
describe lands that could be designated as
extensions of critical habitat areas or
wildlife corridors.
2. Use the Natural Areas Strategic Plan to
guide future acquisitions or designations.
3. Selectively transform portions of lands
covered in the Strategic Plan to bring
neighborhoods with limited access up to
par.
4. Ensure that all new city parklands contain
natural areas.
5. Work with golf courses to convert edges
and other nonplayable areas to more
native, water-wise landscapes.
Note: Also see Chapter 5 (From Mountains to
Plains) for some complementary
recommendations.
44
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GAME PLAN
creating a strategy fo
our
future
k 7TS**

CITYWIDE RECREATION
< BUILDING BLOCKS FOR
Beyond the neighborhood, the park system
extends citywide to offer larger open spaces
and facilities that serve many neighborhoods,
such as playing fields, recreation centers,
public pools, and golf courses. These facilities
offer opportunities for team sports and pick-up
games, as well as programs and services that
enhance Denverites health, well-being, and
quality of life.
< PLAYING FIELDS
Vision
A City in a Park provides playing fields for youth
and adults to engage in organized and
spontaneous team sports and active
recreational activities.
Values
Nearly half (49 percent) of city residents used
playing fields in the past year, with one in five
(20 percent) classified as frequent users (10 or
more times in the past year), according to the
Game Plan survey. Three out of four residents
(75 percent) surveyed think places for active
sports make a major or moderate contribution
to the citys quality of life.
Three out of four also are satisfied with the
availability of playing fields. Some areas of the
city, however, do not have adequate playing
fields close to homes, and areas of change may
have inadequate fields in the future.
Performance indicators
NRPA recommends one baseball field for every
5,000 people and one soccer or multi use field
for every 5,000 people.
Game Plan Playing Field
Performance Goals
Provide one baseball or softball
field for every 5,000 residents.
Provide one soccer or multi
use field for every 5,000 residents.
How does the city measure up?
As shown in the Softball/Baseball Fields and
Soccer/Football/Multiuse Fields maps, the city
provides 118 baseball or softball fields that
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Early Denver soccer team ^
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a city in a park begins at borne
45
CHAPTER


Future Larry Walker ^
require permits for play approximately 1.4
fields for every 5,000 people, exceeding the
NRPA guidelines. The city also provides a total
of 135 permitted multi-use fields, meeting
NRPA guidelines.
Differences exist across the city, however, and
some sports enthusiasts have indicated they
need more fields for their games. The
Southwest neighborhoods exceed the goal for
baseball/softball facilities, but achieve only 60
percent of the recommended goal for multi-
purpose fields.. An estimated 11 additional
multi use or soccer fields are required to
achieve the recommended level of service.
Soccer enthusiasts citywide have also argued
that additional fields are needed to support the
currentvolume of play. The city maintains 71
permitted playing fields, and an estimated 30
46
green neighborhoods:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
to 40 fields supporting regulation play might
be necessary to satisfy the demand from adult
and youth leagues.
To continue the current level of service as the
city grows, approximately 20 additional
baseball and 34 additional soccer fields are
expected to be needed by 2025. Projects
planned for Lowry, Green Valley Ranch, and
Stapleton will provide enough fields, but will
not address the issue of equitable distribution.
Opportunities to acquire new playing fields
face the same challenges as those constraining
acquisition of new parkland. Perhaps the best
opportunity to expand playing field acreage is
to forge partnerships with schools and college
campuses for shared use of existing playing
fields, and to work with potential regional
a city in a park begins at borne
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A Jackie Robinson Field at Louiry
Relaxing at Congress Park Pool A
partners to develop facilities that can serve a
much larger market.
Other opportunities may also exist in
significant redevelopment parcels such as
those that may be developed along the Platte
River in the southwest area of the city to
create larger playing field complexes serving
broader segments of the city.
Playing Field Recommendations
1. Forge partnerships with schools and
college campuses for shared use of playing
fields.
2. Work with regional partners to develop
facilities that can serve a much larger
market. Sufficient land for larger playing-
field complexes might exist in large
redevelopment parcels, such as along the
Platte River in the Southwest Denver.
3. Forge partnerships with leagues and other
non-profits to leverage resources for fields
and programs.
4. Use artificial turf alternatives to sod where
possible for water conservation.
5. Improve the quality of current fields, such
as drainage. Provide field down time.
< PUBLIC RECREATION PROGRAMS
Vision
Public Recreation programs make a difference
in the lives of people, visibly contributing to
the physical, mental, and social health of
Denverites. Programs and scheduling are
responsive to the needs of all Denverites, but
especially of youth and seniors. Recreation
centers are the social hub for neighborhoods,
hosting an array of activities and anticipating
social leisure needs.
Expanded recreation outside the center walls
the after school programs, special needs, or
partnerships with other providers such as the
James P. Beckwourth Mt. Club or YMCA
extends the reach of public recreation to new
and emerging audiences. And new programs
that provide recreational, cultural, and
education opportunities throughout parks and
trails broaden the very definition of recreation
programs.
Values
The Game Plan focused primarily on facility
issues, rather than programming or fees for
recreation. DPR continues to use and adapt a
1995 Recreation Management Plan for
administrative and program goals and the
Game Plan offers primarily capital and policy
48
green neighborhoods:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for
our future
recommendations. Even so, the Game Plan
process (public comments, informal recreation
center user surveys, and interviews with
recreation center directors) produced some
strong recommendations for DPRs recreation
services.
The 2001 Game Plan Survey measured overall
perceptions of Denverites regarding recreation
programming and facilities; a special, informal
survey was conducted of recreation users.
Although both surveys showed overall
satisfaction with Denvers programs, many
people also expressed that there is room for
improvement. In the Game Plan Survey, 49% of
the Denverites said that DPR does a good
job of providing indoor recreation and fitness
services while 22% gave the city an excellent
rating.
In general forums, most Denver residents
supported the special programs, such as
cultural festivals and races that are held in parks
(if the park is not totally used for these events,
shutting out more casual use). They also
consistently requested that more cultural,
educational, and interpretive recreational
programs be offered in the parks, making the
parks come alive.
Recreation center staff, as well as the public,
called for some administrative changes to
strengthen communication and marketing,
customer service, consistency across the
system, and programs more responsive to the
community.
Recommendations for Public Recreation
Programming
1. Provide clear, consistent policies, fees, and
programs across the city throughout
recreation centers
2. Strengthen marketing of programs through
diverse materials, media, and community
outreach
3. Reach Denvers non-English speaking
residents through bi-lingual materials,
cultural programs, and more bi-lingual
speaking staff.
4. Reach more people and create efficiencies
through innovative partnerships with other
recreation providers, such as the YMCA,
Boys and Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, Boy
Scouts, Denver Public Schools, or the
James P. Beckwourth Mt. Club, etc.
5. Regularly assess community needs through
feedback such as community forums,
surveys, etc. (See Chapter 8 for community
engagement)
6. Improve customer service through regular
staff training, accountability, and incentives.
7. Increase DPRs ability to provide more
programs outside the walls
a city in a park begins at borne
49
CHAPTER


Community and Outdoor Recreation.
Converted 20th Street Gym ^
strengthening existing programs such as
community recreation, outdoor recreation,
special needs, and service based learning
and expanding recreation programs to park
based educational, cultural, and social
programs.
< RECREATION FACILITIES
Vision
A City in a Park provides accessible and
affordable basic recreation services those
amenities and facilities most valued by
residents within high-quality facilities that are
cost-effective to operate. Programs and
facilities are available regardless of ability to
pay, although those who can afford to do pay
Values
The citys recreation centers and associated
infrastructure have served residents for almost
40 years. Among the systems strengths are
users who are very satisfied with programs and
facilities; substantial agreement on serving a
broad client base, especially youth and seniors;
and experienced staff who know their
communities.
To meet 21st-century challenges, however,
DPR needs to address numerous facility
constraints, including aging and small facilities
that are not cost-efficient to operate, facilities
whose configurations make it difficult for staff
to deliver desired programs, and an uneven
distribution of facilities that leaves some areas
without services.
Performance indicators
In Denver and nationwide, surveys of
recreation center users and the general public
suggest that a public recreation program
should provide five basic services and
associated physical facilities:
A A gymnasium (86 percent of surveyed
residents rank as very important or
important),
A A dedicated weight room and
cardiovascular fitness area (81 percent),
A Dedicated aerobic dance space (79
percent),
A An indoor lap pool (76 percent), and
A Flexible multipurpose space that is
adaptable to a variety of activities.
According to national guidelines, communities
of more than 25,000 should also provide 2.4
square feet of facility space per person, the
amount needed to deliver all of these basic
services while being cost-efficient for staff to
operate and maintain. Safe pedestrian and
transit access also are important, especially in
meeting the needs of youth and seniors.
50
green neighborhoods:


Game Plan Recreation Program
and Facilities Performance Goals
City recreation centers should
provide the foundation services at
the following levels:
aerobic dance: one per center
cardio/weight room: one per
center
indoor pool: one for every
15.000 residents
gymnasium: one for every
12.000 residents.
Recreation centers should
average 2.4 square feet per
person, although this standard
cannot be met in every city center
given site and facility constraints.
Between Wand 25 percent of
recreation center space should be
flexible multi-purpose or support
space.
At least 75 percent of Denver
residents must have safe
pedestrian or transit access to a
recreation center.
SAME PLAN crea
How does the city measure up?
Denver maintains 29 recreation centers with a
total of 472,132 square feet of facility space.
The average center size is 16,280 square feet.
Fifty-two percent of centers offer less than
15,000 square feet. Most centers were built in
the 1960s and 1970s to serve their immediate
neighborhoods and have continued to
respond to neighborhood needs and
preferences.
ng a strategy for our future

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This community base is a great strength of the
system. At the same time, some facilities,
especially smaller recreation centers, have
aged in place without major expansions or
upgrades, and have not be able to keep up
with changes in recreation and leisure trends.
Many centers are too small or poorly
configured to deliver a full range of services.
Equipment is well-loved or worn out. Some
neighborhoods are not served at all. In others,
safe access is an issue.
DPR studied major arterial streets and transit
routes to identify barriers and opportunities for
access to recreation centers. These routes
define 24 recreation service areas where
residents have suitable access. Using these
measures, approximately three out of four (76
percent) of the citys residents have safe
walkable routes or transit access to a center,
which meets the desired goal.
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51
CHAPTER


Recreation center leagues ^
Major areas lacking public recreation center
coverage or walkable access, such as Southeast
Denver, Southwest Denver and East-central
Denver,1 are illustrated in the Recreation Center
Service Areas map.
Even though it meets the access goal, the city
has difficulty meeting the desired square-
footage standard. If all neighborhoods are
counted, including those that have no center,
Recreation Center Service Areas
the city provides .7 square feet per person,
compared to the desired standard of 2.4
square feet. Excluding unserved areas, the city
provides 1.7 square feet per person, or 70
percent of the goal. Areas most challenged
include Sun Valley, Elighland/West Highland,
Marston, University Hills, Virginia Village, and
East Colfax.
'
iftiEMd

VUCAimjfecvamdQrt
52
green neighborhoods


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
The Areas of Recreation Facility Need map
considers overall facilities and resources,
combining goals for square footage and basic
amenities. City neighborhoods are divided into
four groups that:
A meet or exceed goals;
A provide adequate square footage but need
modifications to provide desired services;
A lack adequate square footage and desired
services; or
A have no recreation resources.
Within this framework, areas that fall short
include Southwest and Southeast Denver and
the East-central city. These areas either have no
facility, or their facility lacks both square
footage and dedicated space for the four core
activities.
Areas of Recreation Facility Need
a city in a park begins at borne
53
CHAPTER


Tennis lesson at Wash Park ^
Growth will add still more pressure. Within the
major downtown neighborhoods, five
recreation centers offer significant access and
meet the goal of 2.4 square feet per person.
With a projected population increase of
40,000, however, downtown neighborhoods
could support two more centers. Other areas
where growth may tax the system are
Southeast, University Hills, and South
Broadway.
Recommendations for Recreation Centers
1. Analyze current centers, sites, and
neighborhoods on the basis of equity
criteria basic standards, demand, existing
conditions, site availability, alternative
providers, access and possible partnerships.
2. Create a long-range plan for specific sites
that addresses inequities and expanding
services to meet minimum standards by
2003.
3. Ensure this plan also addresses projected
growth, especially in areas now unserved
or underserved.
4. Create priorities for capital investments to
address equity issues and meet the needs
of youth and seniors.
5. To help set priorities, develop a facilities-
resource allocation model based on
demand for programs and supply of
facilities.
6. Focus major capital expansions on high-
demand neighborhoods that are unserved.
< COMMUNITY SCALE RECREATION
AMENITIES
Vision
A City in a Park has special recreation facilities
and amenities logically located across the city
to serve growing sport needs, from in-line
hockey and dogs playing off leash to indoor
soccer. It also has DPR working closely with
private providers and other municipalities to
ensure that emerging sports have a home
when the demand warrants it.
Values
Denvers parks and recreation facilities are a
land bank, with DPR constantly looking for
ways (the appropriate places and funding) to
accommodate new community level activities.
Thats difficult in a park system that is primarily
built and in a city that has a highly competitive
demand for capital funds.
Although Game Plan priorities clearly are to
upgrade neighborhoods that lack core park
and recreation resources, such as trees or
neighborhood parks, DPR needs to continue
building the specialized community level
amenities in demand when financially
54
green neighborhoods:


possible. These larger, community amenities,
too, often lend themselves to a public/private
partnership or inter-jurisdictional partnership.
Through out the Game Plan public process and
over the past few years, a number of
substantially sized user advocacy groups and
emerging youth leagues requested that DPR
respond to the needs of in-line skaters and
hockey players, dogs exercising off-leash, and
disc golf. When asked in the Game Plan Survey
2001 what they thought of dogs off leash, a
large majority (77%) supported both the option
of fenced and unfenced dog off leash areas.
Most Denverites also support enforcing the
leash law in all other park areas.
Other requests with a less broad-based
advocacy include indoor soccer facilities, ice
rink, equestrian trails, bicycle track, dirt bike
areas, and model airplane fields. And, since
recreation trends evolve making it impossible
to predict what people will be doing in the
future, perhaps most important is a DPR
process and policy that welcomes and
responds to new needs.
Performance Measurements
For what could be a one of a kind place or
reuse of existing facilities for a new sport,
quantitative performance measurements make
little sense. What can be more easily measured
GAME PLAN ere
are DPRs policies and on-going efforts: to
keep a data base of current uses in facilities, to
have a flexible and open approach to
partnerships and possible accommodation of
sports in multi-use areas, and to keep abreast
of recreation and community assessment.
Two, less capital intensive, uses were identified
as meeting these criteria and are to be
implemented immediately: dog off leash areas
and disc golf.
Game Plan Community Scale
Recreation Amenity Performance
Goals
Immediately implement plans
for dog off leash areas and disc
golf.
Produce yearly recreation
trend report for the department.
Conduct regular community
needs assessments.}
How does the city measure up?
In terms of facilities, Denver is the one of the
few cities in the metropolitan area to not
accommodate dog owners exercising their
pets off-leash or disc golf players, two of the
largest advocacy groups. Private providers offer
Ft. Collins off-leash dog area ^
^ Sloans Lake Dragon Boaters m
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55
CHAPTER


^ Skate Park
facilities for indoor ice rinks, indoor inline
skating, and other indoor sports (tennis,
racquet ball, etc.) but no public indoor facilities
exist. DPR currently is working on working on
Phase II of its Skate Park, adjacent to Commons
Park and the largest skate park in the country.
But no smaller facilities exist.
People may no longer trot their horses in
Cheesman Park, but the Urban Farm, located
on Sand Creek in east Denver, provides
equestrian and farm activities and Sand Creek
Trail will accommodate equestrians.
Community Scale Recreation Amenities
Recommendations
1. Create a set of criteria and guidelines for
deciding appropriate uses and changes in
existing urban and mountain parks.
2. Create specific criteria and a city-wide
management plan for dog off leash areas,
with one area per quadrant of the city. Pilot
one area by 2003.
3. Pilot test one disc golf area in a currently
underutilized, existing park
4. Study the use patterns in current,
potentially underutilized facilities such as
tennis courts, horseshoe pits, etc. for their
reuse or removal.
5. Work closely with both Stapleton and
Lowry redevelopment agencies for
potential locations for the special facilities.
6. Analyze existing parks for potential sites for
new facilities, such small skate park
facilities.
7. Pursue potential public/private
partnerships for special large scale facilities.
< DENVER MUNICIPAL GOLF
COURSES
Vision
More and more urban kids (including a fair
share of girls) learn at a young age to play golf
at Denvers close to home, high quality
municipal courses. The courses themselves are
models of green infrastructure storing and
cleaning water on site in wetlands, reducing
the need for pesticides and fertilizers, and
conserving water as they become courses that
offer both an oasis in the city while celebrating
the Colorado high plains.
Values
Denver has 942 acres spread over seven
municipal golf courses, providing over 400,000
rounds of golf in 2001. Fees at the end of 2002,
averaged $22 a round, the lowest in the
metropolitan area.2 One course even is in
56
green neighborhoods:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
Evergreen and an eighth course is planned for
Stapleton.
As an enterprise fund, the municipal golf
courses are a departure from the rest of the
park system, with all operating and capital
needs to be covered by revenues generated.
The demand for public, moderately priced golf
facilities has grown steadily since the first
course, Overland Park golf Club was organized
in 1892.
The courses themselves function as a park land
bank, visual open space, and wildlife refuge as
well as a playing course. The issues facing
municipal golf courses are similar to other
components in the DPR system. Like the
concessionaires and non-profit partners who
manage other city-owned resources (such as
historic mountain park structures), golf course
managers must run solid businesses that
ensure that the physical resource is well cared
for, provide a public service, and generate a
profit. Difficulties arise when deferred and
basic capital repairs are expected to be
covered by operating revenues.
If the physical resource begins in excellent
shape, Denvers municipal golf courses are
financially sustainable. That is less true
environmentally. As the major water, fertilizer,
and pesticide consumer in the park system,
Denvers municipal golf courses have dramatic
untapped potential to lead in the conservation
and improvement of natural resources,
especially water. Golf is a competitive business,
with current lush courses that dependent upon
generous irrigation. Photo: historic golfers
As public sentiment, management, and design
of Denvers parks shift towards sage green
and water conserving measures, Denvers golf
courses (both municipal and private) will need
to adapt, too. As an enterprise fund dependent
upon satisfied golfers and revenues,
responding to drought and conserving natural
resources will require a complex, city-wide
plan and a package of innovative funding to
make major physical changes to courses to
municipal courses.
Golf Recommendations
1. Ensure the continued quality and on-going
repair of the citys golf courses through
appropriate and adequate city capital
contributions and well-monitored
concessionaire contracts. (See Chapter 9
also for concessionaire recommendations)
2. Strengthen Denver Golfs service based
learning and golf programs through
partnerships with Recreation Division, DPS
and other organizations.
(0
3
Denver Golf reaches hundreds of
Denver youth through its Junior Golf
and Girls in Golf programs, its First ^
Tee program (the first in the state to ^
receive national designation) uses o
a
the game of golf to teach inner city
youth life skills. Kids learn to play
and repair clubs the same day! 2.
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57
CHAPTER


When Willis Golf Course was built in
1 902, the course had sand greens,
cut weeds, and no turf. Even the
weeds were so sparse that golfers
could move a ball two club lengths
without penalty to reach the nearest
spot of green.
58
3. Implement a comprehensive natural
resource program for all of Denvers
municipal golf courses, specifically to:
^ Integrate municipal golf courses into the
metropolitan drought plan that addresses
economic and business implications,
marketing and public response, as well as
natural resource conservation.
^ Help educate the public and golfers about
landscape alternatives, drought realities,
and natural resource conservation.
^ Implement, over time, course renovations
and management techniques that increase
water conservation, on-site wetlands and
retention of storm water, and decreased
fertilizer use.
^ Ensure that the new golf course at
Stapleton is a bioregional model, using
best management practices for golf course
design and water conservation and
incorporating the native high plains
landscape.
FOOTNOTES
1 In the Southeast, the YMCA or Jewish
Community Center operate other
full-service recreation facilities that could
address some of these needs.
2 Other municipalities have slightly higher
fees. Private golf course fees can vary from
$35 to $120 for a game.


dUAPree u
A cou^eccev cirv:
links between civic space and neighborhoods
As Denver
becomes a
City in a Park,
stronger
connections are
crucial. This
chapter
discussesThis
chapter discusses
recommendations
for improving
the physical
links that
connect a City
in a Park
between our
civic spaces and
neighborhoods;
among public
spaces in
downtown
Denver; and via
urban waterways
to greenways and
open space.


Good places tend to be all of a
plece-and the reason can almost
always be traced to a human being.'
William H. Whyte
A CONNECTING ALL OUR PARKS AND OPEN SPACES
A City in a Park creates new links between
neighborhoods and a strong urban core. With
improved connections between Civic Center
and the 16th Street Mall, and between the
Auraria Campus and the Denver Center for the
Performing Arts, Downtown truly becomes the
citys civic heart.
Green streets offer shady, pedestrian-friendly
connections among neighborhood parks,
schools, recreation centers, waterways, and
downtown. Off-street trails and connections fill
in gaps in the current trails system.
Along Cherry Creek, the Platte, Sand Creek,
and the West Side gulches, new parks and trail
links provide recreation and access. Restored
natural open space becomes a haven for urban
wildlife. People are able to cross road, rails, and
rivers to cross the city on bike and by foot.
A DENVER'S DOWNTOWN: A VITAL CIVIC HEART

Vision
A City in a Park features a vital Downtown, with
attractive, pedestrian-friendly, complementary
connections to public and private open spaces.
Values
Downtown means many things to Denver
residentsa special outing on the 16th Street
Mall, a sporting event at the Pepsi Center, a
stroll along the river through Confluence Park,
visits to the Denver Art Museum and the
Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and a
schoolchilds first visit to the State Capitol
Building.
Increasingly, it also means home to residents
who have revitalized Downtown and Lower
Downtown into bustling urban
neighborhoods. All of this activity is occurring
within approximately one square mile area-
bounded by I-25 to the west, Colfax to the
south, Logan to the east, and Park Avenue to
the norththat embraces both Cherry Creek
and the Platte.
60
a connected city


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
The 1986 Downtown Area Plan established a
compelling vision of economic vitality, cultural
leadership, design excellence, and places for
people to live and play that still guides
development. Included within thatvision are
ideas for revitalizing downtown, such as:
A a focused center and urban core,
A varied public open spaces, from streets to
parks to cultural attractions,
A a place where people live, and
A a place of easy movement, with strong
pedestrian and auto connections between
destinations.
Game Plan public open houses underscored
support for these ideas and others presented
in the 1986 plan. Though much work remains
to be done, many of the plans ideas have
been realized, such as opening access to
Downtown Denver
Civic Center event ^

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^ 1 6th Stree Mall is a public/private urban park

1 6th Street Mall extension to Millenium Bridge ^
Cherry Creek and constructing Commons Park.
Others, like extending the 16th Street Mall and
revitalizing Skyline Park, are in progress.
Performance indicators
The 1986 Plan still provides the strongest
guidance in setting qualitative performance
expectations for the citys urban core.
Game Plan Downtown Core
Performance Goals:
Develop downtown as
connected system of public open
space, with strong physical links
between activity nodes.
Provide a wide range of public
spaces that vary in character and
scale, from grand traditional parks
to urban hardscaped plazas.
Provide varied programming for
these downtown spaces to attract
activity and use.
Provide strong, accessible
pedestrian connections between
downtown public spaces and
provide links to transit facilities.
Provide for parks and recreation
amenities at the service levels
described above, to meet the
growing needs of downtown
residents.
How does the City measure up?
Significant steps toward these goals have been
taken during the past decade, with the
completion of Commons Park and the
revitalization of the 16th Mall. These actions
have done much to strengthen the physical
form of downtown as an east-west urban spine
connecting grand and formal city parks.
Work remains to be done, however, in
developing strong north-south green
connections that would link the city core to
major civic institutions south of Cherry Creek,
such as the Auraria Campus, and to the cultural
attractions in Five Points to the north.
To address the need for north-south
connections, the Game Plan has proposed a
long range connection between Auraria
Campus and the Denver Center for the
Performing Arts, creating a land bridge over
Speer Boulevard that could provide both a
connection and XX additional acres of
downtown green space. While technically
feasible, such a land bridge would likely need
to be undertaken in concert with new,
moderate density development to share costs.
62
a connected city:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
Pedestrian connections between downtown
and surrounding neighborhoods are also in
need of strengthening. Figure X shows areas in
which such connections could potentially
prove beneficial, given the volumes of
pedestrian traffic between destinations. One
significant area is the connection between the
Denver Art Museum and Public Library (and
emerging Golden Triangle neighborhood to
the south), and Civic Center. Bannock Street
would provide a logical connection point
across Broadway; a variety of traffic calming
and physical improvements should be
investigated in concert with the Pedestrian
Master Plan undertaken by Public Works.
Finally, the emergence of downtown
neighborhoods will have a huge effect on
parks and recreation. About 4,200 people live
in Denvers downtown core, including the
Central Business District and Lower Downtown
and are served well by open space. By 2025,
Proposed land bridge over Speer Boulevard, connecting Auraria campus to Downtown
,,, yy

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Proposed improvements to Bannock, linking ^
Civic Center to the City & County Building
Blueprint Denver estimates that the
permanent downtown residential population
will grow to 40,000 people. At current service
standards as described in Chapter 3, this
implies a need for an additional 30 to 40 acres
of parkland and open space downtown.
These acres should ideally encompass the
same wide variety of public spaces as
described in the green neighborhoods section
of Chapter 3: playgrounds and tot lots may be
needed near residential areas to
accommodate young families; urban squares
may be provided in the highest density areas to
accommodate gathering; and larger patches of
green like the Auraria land bridge may
accommodate larger civic festivals.
As Union Station is transformed into a multi-
modal transit hub, the thousands of people
passing through would use plaza space
connecting them to downtown. Finally,
business consortia such as Denver Civic
Ventures, the Downtown Denver Partnership,
and educational institutions must have a strong
voice in the future development of downtown
core proposals as presented in the Game Plan.
Representatives of these organizations should
be important contributors to strategic and
physical plans that may follow from the Plan,
and should be necessary partners in
implementation.
Recommendations for Denvers
Downtown
1. Develop a strategic master plan for
downtown neighborhoods using the
projected 2020 population figures. Address
connections as well as projected needs for
public open space.
2. Strengthen pedestrian connections
between Civic Center and 16th Street Mall.
3. Improve the pedestrian connection across
Colfax Avenue at Bannock with an at-grade
or grade-separated crossing.
4. Connect Denver Center for the Performing
Arts (DCPA) to Auraria Campus with an at-
grade connection across Speer. This
continuous park space will unite the
campus with Downtown and create a large
gathering space to augment Civic Center
Park. Nearby parking at the Auraria Campus
and easy shuttle service to the Mile High
and Pepsi Center lots, as well as current
and proposed light rail, make this venue
attractive.
5. Within the framework of the 1986 plan,
identify opportunities for new and
enhanced open spaces.
6. Improve connections from the west edge
of the Golden Triangle to Civic Center.
7. Encourage a vibrant street life downtown
through a market district, festivals, street
activities.
64
a connected city:


SAME PLAN
< A SYSTEM OF ON STREET GREEN CONNECTIONS


creating a strategy for our future
Vision
A City in a Park envisions continuous, safe, and
accessible sidewalks and other pedestrian
connections among Denver neighborhoods
for people of all ages and abilities, using a
range of transportation options.
Values
The citys infrastructure is designed to convey
people and goods. These roadways, rail lines,
waterways, and ditches also can create barriers
between neighborhoods and local park and
recreation facilities. Our parks and trails are
great, but we cant get there was a common
refrain at public open houses.
Some Northwest Denver neighborhoods are
blessed with an abundance of parks, but busy
arterial streets such as Federal Boulevard create
perceived barriers to access. In areas like
Globeville, parents say that rail lines and truck
routes prevent their children from visiting parks
and recreation facilities on foot, without an
adult accompanying them to ensure that they
cross safely. With many parents working long
hours, children rarely may get to use the parks.
Many children also believe that access to
neighborhood parks is dangerous.
Almost 40 percent of Denver residents said
that improving connections and access were
priorities. Citizens most often mentioned these
elements as missed opportunities or must
dos within expansion plans.
Performance indicators:
The Game Plan has adopted the following
qualitative performance goals:
Game Plan Green Connections
Performance Goals:
Provide continuous, safe
connections on at least one side of
each designated street, connecting
parks to schools, recreation
centers, and neighborhood
centers.
Improve the safety of pedestrian
crossings at arterials and other
heavily trafficked streets with
pedestrian-activated stop lights and
traffic-calming measures.

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^ Denvers tree-lined sidewalks
Ensure universal access.
Provide continuous sidewalks
that conform to city standards (from
5 to 10 feet in residential
neighborhoods; at least 10 feet in
main street mixed-use retail
areas).
Install a detached sidewalk with
tree lawn where feasible; tree lawns
should be at least 8 feet wide.
Provide dedicated bike lanes
where feasible.
How does the City measure up?
The citys parkway system (map on opposite
page) provides a model for a broader system of
green connections. By design, most parkways
are relatively pedestrian friendly, with wide tree
lawns separating sidewalks from the street, as
shown in the tree lawn photo. But as the
map shows, the parkway system is limited to
certain geographic areas of the city.
With retrofitting, many residential streets could
complement the parkway system and begin to
knit the city together with visual and pedestrian
access. The green streets sketch shows
opportunities for strengthening and expanding
green connections by linking schools and
parks to proposed breathing spaces and other
neighborhood amenities1. These proposed
green streets would be different from other city
streets in three ways:
^ The width and continuity of tree lawns, as
well as the tree species that are planted;
^ The width and continuity of sidewalks; and
^ The spacing of street trees and possibly
tree species.
This differentiation would allow the green
streets to be identified as a system, providing
both visual and physical links to important civic
spaces.
Current streetscape standards offer a
foundation for creating this system of green
connections. The Game Plan adopts these
standards, but acknowledges that existing
conditions in some neighborhoods may make
these standards difficult to achieve without
incurring significant expense, or without
significant acquisition of new rights-of-way.
For example, post-World War II neighborhoods
often lack or feature sidewalks that do not
meet city standards. Other neighborhoods
exhibit wide variations in sidewalk sections
from block to block. These areas will be more
challenging and expensive to retrofit. More
detailed study and adaptation of these
standards should be completed through a
66
a connected city:


SAME PLAN
CHAPTER 4


Union Depot as multi-modal transit hub ^
East section of Proposed Qreenstreets Map
>
citywide Pedestrian Master Plan, as directed by
Blueprint Denver.
The Game Plan endorses Blueprint Denver
recommendations for improving crossings at
major arterial streets viewed by residents as
safety hazards. Some improvements the city
should consider are pedestrian-activated traffic
lights or traffic-calming devices. The
neighborhood planning process can help
identify areas of greatest concern.
Recommendations for On Street Green
Connections
1. Continue to work with Public Works to
develop the Pedestrian Master Plan,
intended to document conditions, refine
guidelines, create standards and
prototypes for retrofitting neighborhoods,
as well as a schedule and cost estimates for
improvements.
2. Revise the citys streetscape design manual
on the basis of the Pedestrian Master Plan.
Reissue as a joint document adopted by
DPR, CPD and Public Works.
3. Address impacts of curb cuts and driveway
aprons on tree lawns and sidewalks, and
revise guidelines for these features so as to
facilitate continuity in green space and
promote pedestrian safety.
4. Create priorities for improvements,
beginning with neighborhoods most in
need.
5. Ensure that Green Streets meet the
Transportation Standards and Policy
document.
A CITYWIDE AND REGIONAL TRAIL CONNECTIONS
Vision
Off-street trails provide access to regional and
citywide trails and paths that connect
neighborhoods to each other and the city to
the region.
Values
Citizens frustrations about poor connections
are nearly universal in Denver. Residents at
public forums requested more recreational
trails like the Highline Canal and Cherry Creek
Trail to connect parks and create longer cycling
or walking loops. Others mentioned the value
of bridging barriers like the Platte, I-25, or
Cherry Creek.
68
a connected city:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
k 7TS**


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69
CHAPTER


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Northwest and Northeast sections of ^
Proposed Qreenstreets Map
Opportunities for creating major new off street
connectors within the city are, again, limited by
development. Missing links, however, can be
mended and safe access from each
neighborhood to these major trails, can be
facilitated.
Performance indicators
The Game Plan has established the following
qualitative performance goals for off street
connections:
Game Plan Off-street Connections
Performance Goals
Provide safe access to off street
trails, ideally no more than one half
mile to a mile from major
residential nodes.
Complete missing links in the
off street trails system to improve
connections.
Ensure that links are
strengthened to major regional and
metro wide trails systems.
How does the city measure up?
The Urban Trail map illustrates the current
system of off-street trails, encompassing 51
miles of primarily paved pathways that form a
web through the city. An important regional
link, the High Line Canal Trail, spans another
110 miles. Other major links include the Sand
Creek Greenway from Aurora through Denver
to Commerce City, and the Clear Creek and
Bear Creek trails.
Within this generally strong network, the
Bicycle Master Plan noted gaps such as missing
or unsafe segments through Denver, and the
Clear Creek and Bear Creek trails to Northwest
and Southwest Denver, which should connect
to the mountain parks. Drainageways to the
west with unsafe sections include: Weir Gulch,
Sanderson Gulch, Lakewood Dry Gulch, the
Westwood Trail, far Southwest and Southeast
Denver through Goldsmith Gulch, and
connections between the developing Lowry
and Stapleton areas.
The Game Plan also proposes major street
level and grade-separated crossings along I-25,
Cherry Creek, and the Platte. These may
connect neighborhoods and proposed transit-
oriented developments to urban waterways
and parks. Some connections may themselves
function as parks, similar to Seattles Freeway
Park, built on a large platform over I-5. Bridges
and other crossing structures can feature
distinctive designs.
70
a connected city:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
Recommendations for Off-Street Trail
Connections
1. Improve off-street connections through
drainageways and gulches, possibly
including the following:
4 Clear Creek trail linking Denver to
mountain parkland,
4 Lakewood Gulch off-street trail connection
to Martinez Park,
4 off-street connections for the Weir Gulch
corridor, and
4 Sanderson Gulch connection between
Lipan Street and the Platte River Trail.
2. In heavily used areas, consider separate
paths for cyclists and pedestrians.
3. Plan for future trends, especially those
aimed at mitigating accessibility issues. For
example, identify areas where assisted
devices such as electric bikes may be
appropriate.
4. Study utility easements for potential trail
connections, for example at Westwood
Park to the Westwood Trail and the
extension of the Westwood Trail east of
Federal Boulevard to Zuni.
5. Define a range of trail types for different
conditions, from 10-foot-wide hard-surface
paths for heavily traveled urban areas, to
narrower, soft-surface paths for more
natural settings.
6. Improve linkages of far Southwest
neighborhoods by acquiring privately
owned rights-of-way identified in the
Bicycle Master Plan.
7. Extend Wagon Trail with a connection
around Marston Lake.
8. Link far Southeast neighborhoods through
Hutchinson Park East and Goldsmith
Gulch.
9. Improve links between Lowry and
Stapleton with better on-street bicycle
routes on Syracuse and Yosemite streets
and by developing Westerly Creek Trail.
10. Preserve rights-of-way along the First
Creek and Second Creek drainage
corridors, and construct these trails
through the Gateway area.
11. Improve the Platte River pedestrian and
bicycle crossings in the following
locations:
4 link potential Evans transit-oriented
development (TOD) across the Platte at
Evans or 11 iff. Iliff would provide a
continuous connection, from Harvard
Gulch through Rosedale Parks to Grant
Frontier Park, to potential new community-
scale parks on the west edge of the Platte.
4 link Valverde to Baker neighborhoods and
the north edge of the proposed Gates
transit-oriented development.
4 provide continuous connections through
Weir Gulch.
^ Southwest and Southeast sections of o
Proposed Greenstreets Map q_
links betujeen civic space and neighborhoods
71
CHAPTER


21 si century off-street trails, such as the Platte River
and Cherry Creek, have 1,000s of users daily ^
A link 13th Avenue and Lakewood Dry Gulch
across the Platte for an eventual green-
street connection to Lincoln Park.
A link the 16th Street Mall extension across
the Platte and I-25 via the Millenium Bridge
and two other bridges planned.
A link the citys west and east sides
immediately south of Cuernavaca Park.
Urban Trails
connected
72
a
city:


GAME PLAN creating a strategy for our future
A HEALTHY AND ACCESSIBLE URBAN WATERWAYS
Vision
Performance indicators
With Downtown as the citys heart, a City in a
Park envisions Denvers urban waterways as a
circulatory system, with corridors for wildlife
and people that link the city to the region.
Waterways also function as natural treatment
systems to cleanse polluted stormwater runoff,
while providing access to recreation.
Values
Through the Game Plan survey and open
houses, city residents voiced their desire for
diverse recreational experiences, passive as
well as active, along Denvers waterways. Many
voiced support for new opportunities to
recreate in the water, including canoeing and
kayaking.
Residents are also seeking green connections
to the waters edge, safe crossings over
waterways, new parkway connections next to
the water, especially along the Platte at South
Platte River Drive, and more opportunities to
learn about water quality, native landscapes,
and wildlife. Both natural areas and active parks
supporting recreation are desired.
The Game Plan has established the following
qualitative performance goals for off street
connections:
Game Plan Urban Waterway
Performance Goals
Ensure safe access to our urban
waterways from major residential
nodes.
Expand natural open space
along the Platte, Cherry Creek and
the gulches, improving habitat for
urban wildlife.
Increase the number and range
of parks along the waterways,
including some larger parks that
can support active recreation.
Ensure safe pedestrian and
bicycle connections across these
waterways, to link major
recreational areas with activity
nodes and transit stops.

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links betujeen civic space and neighborhoods
73
CHAPTER


Parks Along Urban Waterways
a connected city:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
Improve water quality and
aquatic habitat.
Increase opportunities for
on-water recreation.
Ensure continuity of trail
connections along major waterway
trunk routes and branches.
How does the city measure up?
The Game Plans vision for urban waterways
embraces many individual master plans for
specific waterway segments, including the
Platte, Cherry Creek, Westerly Creek, Sand
Creek, and Sanderson and Lakewood Dry
Gulch. To ensure these plans reinforce each
other, DPRs main recommendations are
synthesized below and form the context for a


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75
CHAPTER


Preliminary Assessment
Criteria for Parcel Acquisition
< Opportunity for direct visual or
physical link to a waterway
< Opportunity to create a large
parcel (30-400 acres) that can
support a community park
< Linkages to proposed transit, light
rail stops, Transit Oriented
Development
< Potential to serve priority
neighborhoods in need
< Brownfield site or low value-
added from current use
larger waterways framework plan that DPR
should develop following the Game Plan.
Recommendations for Urban Waterways
1. Create a framework plan for urban
waterways that synthesizes
recommendations from the individual
master plans into guidelines for waterway
acquisition, restoration, park
redevelopment, wildlife and human-use
management, and water-quality objectives
and best management practices.
2. Identify potential new parkway accesses
along major waterways, including for an
extended system. Both Cherry Creek Drive
and Platte River Drive could be enhanced
to provide more of a parkway-like
experience.
3. Identify opportunities to acquire and bank
land for large parks along the Platte.
Examples include obsolete industrial or
educational campuses or brownfields that
could be reclaimed, such as the General
Chemical site.
Areas with significant natural landforms,
like the Bluffs, might suggest interesting
sites for parks, in keeping with city
tradition. Large park sites should include a
variety of experiences, landscapes, and
opportunities for interpretation.
4. Identify opportunities to expand parkland
and natural open space along the West
Side gulches.
5. Implement the Cherry Creek Master Plans
recommendations for parks, natural areas,
and connections. Identify opportunities to
acquire and bank land for new parks along
Cherry Creek.
6. Refine criteria for parcel acquisition to
evaluate whether parcels contribute to
urban waterway goals and visions, (see
sidebar for parcel acquisition criteria)
7. Develop a recreation management plan
for urban waterways that addresses
appropriate uses, significance as habitat,
and water quality.
n^nrihlBa hr 1 g- Pub Aluf ---1--Pima fuMr
76


JT -
dUAPree 5
MOUNTAIMS TO CLAIMS:
a city in a park extends throughout the region
A revitalized
natural open-space
system stretches
from the mountain
parks west of Denver
to the prairies in the
east, a result of
extensive
cooperation among
governments
throughout the
region. Trails along
waterways and
gulches connect the
entire system. Natural
and cultural areas
and facilities are
preserved, restored,
and celebrated.
This chapter presents
a discussion and
recommendations
for a regional
approach that
encompasses
Denvers mountain
parks and prairie
landscapes.


Arizona fescue at Commons Park
Looking north over Red Rocks, present ^
FRONT RANGE CONNECTIONS
Denvers urban natural areas are an important
part of our parks and recreation system, but
they also form the center of a regional system
that extends from mountains to plains.
Denvers parks and natural areas embrace
many kinds of landscapes and sites, from
Summit Lake atop Mount Evans to remnant
sand hills at the former Stapleton Airport.
Prairies and mountain parks are the
bookends of Denvers park system,
embracing five ecosystems across 100 miles.
These mostly natural landscapes also contain
rich cultural features, such as the historic
buildings and sites in the mountain parks. This
dramatic range of resources extends the City in
a Park well beyond city limits.
As the Front Range population nears 3 million,
Denvers role as the hub in a regional system of
trails, natural areas, and mountain parks
becomes more complex and important. The
Game Plan poses three broad ideas to link
resources into a regional system: regional
connections, a regional approach to natural
areas and wildlife, and a contemporary vision
for Denver mountain parks.
A REGIONAL CONNECTIONS
Green streets guide people from their front
door to the neighborhood park. Regional trails,
often paralleling waterways in a way that
protects wildlife habitat, can connect people to
the rest of the Front Range. The potential exists
for hundreds of miles of regional trails. If
developed as a regional parkway, even E-470
could become as a recreational amenity.
Regional Connection Recommendations
1. Strengthen regional planning and
preservation efforts in the following ways:
A Refine criteria for protection and use of
regional open space.
A Develop management guidelines to
minimize the impacts of public access.
78
regional context:


SAME PLAN
0
s-
Regional trails


^ Wildlife can mean small wildlife,
such as this Monarch butterfly
A Identify priority corridors and areas
needing protection or preservation,
including:
the Cherry Creek Corridor
First, Second, Third Creeks
Westerly Creek
Eastern drainage ways connecting
Aurora Reservoir with Rocky Mountain
Arsenal
Additional open-space lands that
connect mountain open spaces,
creating a cohesive system and
opportunities for regional trails (See
Mountain Park Recreation Management
Plan in Appendix for details).
2. Develop a comprehensive regional trail
system.
A Complete the Clear Creek segment
connection through Northwest Denver.
A Identify potential regional trail corridors
that could be developed collaboratively
with Jefferson, Douglas, Adams, Boulder,
and Arapaho counties.
A Create a prairie hiking/cycling loop, linking
the eastern edge of Highline Canal to
Aurora Reservoir and the Plains
Conservation Center, eventually
connecting to Sand Creek Greenway.
A Work with Jefferson County to complete
Bear Creek Trail, linking Jefferson County
Open Space parks (Bear Creek, Mt. Falcon,
Lair O the Bear) to Denver Mountain Parks
(Little, O Fallon) and west to Echo Lake.
< REGIONAL NATURAL SYSTEMS AND WILDLIFE
mm
Denver residents want more bits of
wilderness close to home, expanding the
current remnants of the original Denver
the existing 2,500+ acres of high plains, rivers,
creeks, willows and sage, and prairie meadows
within the city. Like people in other cities,
Denverites are beginning to define public
parks differently, no longer regarding
remnant natural areas as left-behind, cast off
lands, but as important enriching places for
people and wildlife.
As Denver becomes a City in a Park, the
traditional dark green of formal spaces with
street trees and bluegrass lawns should extend
to include the sage greens of the high plains.
Thriving restored native areas benefit our parks
and opens spaces and are:
80
regional context


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our
future
A valued by people of Denver as wildlife
habitat, for wildlife viewing, and as a quiet
place for retreat.
A help conserve precious resources,
requiring less water, for example.
A support long-term environmental and
human health (native landscapes require
little or no pesticides or herbicides, and
help clean pollutants from storm water
runoff).
A promote a richer variety of urban wildlife,
including birds and butterflies.
A give people an opportunity to experience
the regions original high plains and
foothills landscapes.
A help support a sustainable park and
recreation system through cost savings.
A increase adjacent land values.
In the 2001 Game Plan Survey, 46 percent of
respondents rated the citys provision of
habitat areas for wildlife as fair or poor. Yet
when asked how important it was for the city
to acquire land for more conservation areas
and wildlife habitat, more respondents (53
percent) chose this over 12 other choices.
(Improving overall maintenance of existing
parks and facilities in the city and in the
mountains headed the list, with close to 90
percent of all respondents considering that a
major or moderate priority.)
Almost eight out of 10 people (80 percent of
respondents) considered acquiring natural
areas either a major or moderate priority. And
when asked to develop priorities for DPRs
budget, survey respondents said a top priority
was acquiring land for conservation areas.
The Front Ranges trails and other natural
resources continue past city limits. Flood
control, water-quality protection, and water
supplies are all managed at a watershed level,
and Denver communities are connected by
drainage ways and constructed ditches.
Noxious weeds, diseases of forest trees, and
wildfires recognize no boundaries. The
metropolitan areas natural resources function
as a nonpolitical, regional system. Urban
natural areas, mountain parks, drainage
systems (and the amenities associated with
them, such as trails) consequently are a logical
place to begin regional planning.
Future growth projections suggest that
residents increasingly will use and value these
connected urban natural areas. Surveys
conducted in 2001 in Denver Mountain Parks
and Jefferson County Open Space Parks
indicate that the heavily used mountain parks
within Jefferson County serve the whole
metropolitan area, and may be as close as
many people get to the mountains in the
future.
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from mountains to plains
81
CHAPTER


DBS xeriscaping, featuring yarrow ^
^ Park lakes attract significant wildlife
Recommendations for Regional Natural
Systems and Wildlife
1. Support DPRs Natural Areas Program and
metro wide efforts to develop a regional
model for planning, funding, and
managing the Front Ranges natural areas
and trails.
A Strengthen DPRs organizational capacity,
and develop staff and public respect for
natural areas and wildlife through the
following actions:
A Elevate the new Natural Resource Unit to
senior staff level.
A Add staff to the Natural Areas Program.
A Build partnerships with other city agencies
to leverage resources, create programs,
and monitor successes.
A Provide on-going staff training in
management and benefits of natural areas.
A Provide opportunities for the public and
city staff to develop an understanding and
appreciation for open-space natural areas
and wildlife in their natural habitats.
A Promote youth programs and access to
natural areas.
A Create guidelines for citywide and DPR
decisions that reinforce the value of natural
preserves, wildlife habitat, and
environmental quality.
A Require the city naturalist to approve plans
for new parks and private developments
that have natural areas.
2. Implement the strategic plan for the
Natural Areas Program encompassing all
natural open-space lands.
A Complete a master plan for natural areas as
an ecological whole, including mountain
parks and naturalized areas within
traditional parks.
A Identify potential natural areas and buffers,
and initiate a phased program of land
acquisition, easements, and partnerships.
A Establish a relationship with a land trust to
assist in acquiring quickly land threatened
by development.
A Support efforts of DPR and other regional
jurisdictions and agencies to identify
potential buffer and expansion areas in the
mountains.
A Establish natural areas in new
developments, such as Lowry, Stapleton,
and Northeast Denver.
A Restore degraded sites and monitor on-
going impacts.
A Bring public parklands in Denver County
into compliance with the Colorado
Noxious Weed Act.
A Develop conservation areas in each
quadrant of the city.
A Create management guidelines for each
classification of natural area to minimize
impacts of recreation and public access.
82
regional context:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
3. Provide a richer environment for wildlife.
^ Improve the balance and variety of
ecosystems for healthy wildlife
populations.
4 Inventory and monitor wildlife within the
city and the mountain parks.
4 Chart increases in quantity and diversity.
4 Develop a hierarchy of areas that provides
a range of human access and interaction
with wildlife.
4 Work with Colorado Division of Wildlife
(CDW) to manage wildlife in Denver parks
and open spaces.
4. Strengthen inter-jurisdictional
relationships and joint ventures.
4 Develop stronger partnerships and
encourage more regional cooperation by
working with the Denver Regional Council
of Governments (DRCOG), Urban Drainage
and Flood Control District (UDFCD), CDW,
the Colorado Lottery and Great Outdoors
Colorado (GOCO), public land-
management agencies, land trusts, other
municipalities, and regional agencies.
4 Support efforts to develop a regional
mechanism for planning, funding, and
managing regional natural open space.
4 Pursue grants and funding ventures for
inter-jurisdictional projects.
4 Work toward reducing regional hazards
such as wildfires, noxious weeds, and other
that have mandated standards.
4 Pursue acquisition and easement
opportunities for expansions that benefit
Denver and other jurisdictions, such as
along the Cherry Creek Corridor.
4 Support regional efforts to reduce light
pollution and darken Denvers skies.
< A NEW VISION FOR MOUNTAIN PARKS
One of Denver parks systems unique
elements is our mountain parks and scenic
drives in Jefferson, Douglas, Clear Creek, and
Summit counties. Denver also owns Winter
Park Ski Area in Grand County. In addition to
spectacular scenery, the system features many
historic sites, such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre
and Trading Post, and Chief Flosa Lodge and
Campground, and PahaskaTeepee.
Many striking stone structures, designed by the
National Park Service as well as by prominent
Denver architects, are located throughout the
parks. In the 1970s, Denver built a museum on
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Before: existing degraded ^ ^
natural open space in SE Denver
a
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^ After: photo illustration shouuing JJ*
possible restoration with native plants ^
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from mountains to plains
83
CHAPTER


Jefferson County Open Space
Total acreage 30,264
Total budget $ 3,1 77,720
Per acre $ 105
Denver Mountain Parks
Total acreage 1 4,000
O&M budget $760,000
Per acre $ 54
City of Boulder Open Space
and Mountain Parks
Total acreage 37,000
O&M Budget $ 3,582,262
Per acre $ 96
Note: Field maintenance only,
not capital or administration.
0Fallon Park today
Lookout Mountain to interpret the Buffalo Bill
legacy.
In the early 1900s, business and civic leaders
envisioned creating the loop of parks and
scenic drives in Jefferson County as a mountain
retreat for the people of Denver. In 1914, the
renowned landscape architecture firm of
Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., completed a plan
for an extensive system of looped roads and
parks. Inaccessible parcels were to be
preserved for their views or for watershed or
wildlife protection.
Of the original 40,000 acres the Olmsted firm
identified for acquisition, the City and County
of Denver purchased 8,100 acres in Jefferson
County. Decades later, Jefferson County
purchased another 3,200 acres for its open
space.1
The Mountain Parks system was well designed,
constructed, and maintained until the 1950s,
when the loss of its dedicated mill levy sent the
system into a spiral of deferred capital
maintenance and decline. Funding for
Mountain Parks remains a critical issue.
Neighboring mountain-open-space systems
have dedicated funding sources that ensure a
higher level of care, as shown in the Open
Space sidebar box on this page. In 2001-2002,
the financial future of Winter Park also became
the topic of scrutiny. Denver assured its future
with a new public/private partnership.
The Mountain Parks staff of 10 has worked
hard and creatively to maintain a high level of
daily maintenance for this extensive system,
which includes two bison and elk herds.
Flowever, long-deferred capital repairs like
upgrades for roads, buildings, and utility
systems have outpaced the budget, creating a
crisis for some of the systems larger structures.
A 2001 architectural assessment revealed $1.5
million needed in immediate repairs to
prevent serious code violations or public
danger, and another $2.5 million to restore the
system to its original state. This situation has
compromised the ability of concessionaires to
provide high-quality services and realize
profits. It also suggests the degree of
degradation to the integrity of these historic
resources.
The systems natural resources also have been
stressed by eight decades of hard use and
inadequate funding. Some recreation areas
along creeks, for example, are so compacted
that no understory exists, and the trees are
threatened. Adequate funding is needed to
protect the health of these natural resources.
Without adequate funding, fire danger,
84
regional context


noxious weeds, and diseased timber can
threaten adjacent lands.
The Game Plan process posed hard questions
about the future of Mountain Parks. Given
financial need, degraded conditions, growth,
and changing leisure patterns of Denver
residents, what is the role of our mountain
parks today and in the future? Are they still vital
to the parks and recreation system and our
quality of life? Do Denver residents value and
use them? How can the city balance the need
to restore and protect natural, cultural, and
historic resources with increasing public
demand?
To study these issues and provide
recommendations, at least for the majority of
the system located in Jefferson County, DPR
and Jefferson County recently completed a
joint Mountain Park Recreation Management
Plan.2 Research, coupled with the extensive
feedback from the Game Plan public process,
indicates a strong reaffirmation of the
importance of preserving natural open space
and the mountain parks for Denver and the
metropolitan area.
The 2001 Game Plan Survey showed 71
percent of Denverites visited one of the
traditional mountain parks (excluding Red
Rocks) at least once during the past year. One
GAME PLAN crea
in five residents (20 percent) visited more than
10 times. Another 92 percent identified
mountain parks as contributing to the quality
of Denvers park and recreation system, with
66 percent saying it was a major contribution.
At the June 2001 open houses, citizens ranked
Denvers regional mountain parks, natural
areas, and trails a close second priority to
green neighborhoods. Denverites also said
they lacked the time or ability to get to the
parks, the parks lacked good restrooms and
drinking water, and parks needed an increase
in capital maintenance.
The summer-intercept surveys of Jefferson
County and Denver park visitors showed that
people were using parks mainly for hiking and
passive enjoyment. Cultural features continue
to draw thousands of local and regional visitors
as well as tourists.
The overall objective for the Denver mountain
parks is to keep and restore the historic system
of scenic drives and parks. At the same time,
DPR needs to support regional efforts and
partnerships to provide funding, planning, and
the ability to acquire future open space.
Putat koala
The Lariat Loop Heritage
Alliance
The Lariat Loop is a combination of
tuio historic routes: the Lariat Trail
Scenic Mountain Drive ascending
Lookout Mountain, and the Bear
Creek Canyon Scenic Mountain Drive. 3
The Lariat Loop Mountain Qateuiay -
f>
uias recognized by the Colorado o
Heritage Area Partnership and *
officially designated as Colorados
sixth heritage area in 2000. The tT
Alliance partnership interprets this 3
unique historic area. For information, 3
check Luujuj.lariatloop.org. p
from mountains to plains
85
CHAPTER


^ Denvers bison herds: Genesee Mountain,
Daniels Park and a proposed herd at DIA
Evergreen Lake Marina ^
Recommendations for Denver
Mountain Parks
1. Strengthen DPRs organizational
capacity by:
^ assigning staff with skill in dealing with
complex regional planning issues.
^ incorporating mountain parks into a new
Natural Resource Unit (see Chapter 6) to
manage the range of natural areas
cohesively
2. Build better relationships with the staff,
policy makers, and residents of other
counties and recreation districts impacted
by DPR, and develop strategies for long-
range natural resource protection,
recreation planning, land acquisitions,
easements, and other regional issues by:
4 developing work teams with each
jurisdiction.
4 strengthening working relationships by
completing management guidelines for
each site, criteria for responding to
requests, and a prompt staff response
system.
^ as a matter of policy, including people who
are not Denver County residents in the
public processes affecting the Denver parks
in their communities.
^ implementing cost efficiencies wherever
possible in operations and planning.
^ working together to distinguish the
different characters of parks and park
systems, to maintain historic integrity and
provide an array of visitor experiences.
3. Protect significant cultural resources and
enhance the Olmsted Legacy by:
^ continuing to inventory and assess cultural
resources.
^ rehabilitating, restoring, and protecting
significant cultural resources through site
guidelines, preventative capital repair
programs and maintenance schedules,
^ strong concessionaire partnerships, and
additional historic landmark designations.
^ protecting the scenic mountain drives
through special road classifications, design
guidelines, and acquired easements.
4 increasing awareness of the metro wide
community regarding the distinction,
value, and history of Denvers mountain
parks and other mountain parks.
4. Improve recreational experiences by:
^ minimizing use conflicts through
evaluations to determine appropriate uses,
provision of additional facilities, more
hiking trails, closure of sensitive areas,
compliance with State of Colorado
standards, and temporary closures of
parking lots and sites.
4 completing master site and management
plans for all major mountain sites.
4 creating more hiking-only trails and picnic
areas.
^ providing clean, high-quality restrooms and
drinking water.
86
regional context:


A supplying more information and
interpretation through rangers and
materials such as brochures and signs.
A providing greater security through rangers,
volunteer programs, and increased site
visibility.
A evaluating gaps in recreation services, such
as the need for more outdoor education
opportunities for youth, stronger trail links
for road-bike use, and facilities to
accommodate new uses.
A creating a site for dogs off leash.
5. Ensure economic sustainability for the
system (see Chapter 9 for more details) by:
A improving concessionaire relationships
and contracts to ensure high-quality visitor
experiences, a mutually beneficial business
partnership, and protection of significant
natural and cultural features.
A working collaboratively with other
government agencies towards more cost-
effective operations.
A pursuing regional planning and funding
models for the Front Ranges entire natural
open space system.
For more information on strategies specific to
Denver Mountain Parks and Jefferson County
Open Space Parks, please check
www.denvergov.org or the Mountain Park
Recreation Plan in the Game Plan Appendix.
GAME PLAN creating
FOOTNOTES
1 The remainder of Denver Mountain Park
acreage is in parks located in Douglas,
Clear Creek, and Grand Counties.
2 The plan was primarily funded by a
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
Smart Growth Grant. An interpretive plan
for the Lariat Loop was produced
col laboratively at the same time.
a strategy for our future
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from mountains to plains
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CHAPTER


2i
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dt-iACT&e 6
SuSrAIMABIUrY:
caring for natural and designed resources
The future of
Denvers park and
recreation system
rests in the Citys
ability to protect and
care for its physical
resources. In this
chapter, two areas of
sustainability are
discussed the
conservation natural
resources such as
water, soil, and air,
wildlife, and native
vegetation; and the
protection of designed
resources such as
historic parks and
fountains.
DPR could be a
national leader in
sustainable park
practices. Chapter 9
addresses the
economic strategies
necessary to financial
sustainability.


83% of the people surveyed
in June 2002 felt that water
conservation should be a
moderate or major priority.
A ENSURING OUR LEGACY SURVIVES FOR THE FUTURE
As in the citys comprehensive plan, a key
priority for the Game Plan is protection and
wise management of existing and future
resources. Throughout the Game Plan public
process, Denver residents encouraged the city
to take a more aggressive and innovative role
in natural resource protection.
In the 2001 Game Plan Survey, nearly half (48
percent) of respondents rated the citys
management of natural resources as fair or
poor; and 83 percent thought that water
conservation should be a moderate or major
priority. And, most survey respondents and
open-house participants expressed a strong
desire for the city to acquire, restore, and
protect more natural areas.
Throughout the public process, Denver
participants also indicated how deeply they
care about the Denver parks design legacy and
special places. The public and DPR staff
expressed concerns at numerous forums that
the city needs the staffing, financial resources,
and a greater sense of stewardship to protect
these places. DPR needs new practices for the
City in the Park to be built of high quality,
survive with integrity, and function as part of a
complex region wide system of green
infrastructure.
The views, meadows, lakes and trees of
Washington Park were carefully designed ^
A SUSTAINABLE NATURAL RESOURCES
DPR is one of the citys largest departments. As
steward for nearly 20,000 acres of public land,
including urban forests, 29 recreation centers,
cultural facilities, and seven golf courses, DPR
has the responsibility and perspective to
achieve the goal of environmental
sustainability outlined in the citys
comprehensive plan. As we build our City in a
Park, DPR can weave public lands into
productive green infrastructure, helping to
achieve these goals through innovative design
and management.
90
sustainability


As a major consumer of resources, DPR can be
a model for conservation, demonstrating best-
management practices for air and water
quality, water conservation, storm water
management, and green-building
technologies.
Natural areas must be restored and protected.
At the same time, our parks and other public
lands and facilities must remain beautiful and
functional places for people to enjoy. Such
efforts will require major resources.
For example, the most effective and
comprehensive way to reduce dramatically
DPRs annual consumption of 2 billion gallons
is to retrofit the departments miles of irrigation
lines and heads. Some of these are more than
40 years old and are made of hazardous
materials. An estimated $57.5 million is
needed for an entire retrofit.
Although Denvers current and projected
drought conditions exacerbate the need for
dramatic water reduction, Denvers existence
as a growing city perched on the arid high
plain always will demand water conservation.
Beyond the financial investment, Denver needs
DPR to take a leadership role in protecting our
natural resources for our long-term
environmental, human, and financial health,
and to provide a public model for change.
GAME PLAN ere
Goal for Conservation of Natural
Resources
Denver parks, open spaces, and facilities will
be a sustainable system in which
environmental, economic, and human
resources are managed wisely. DPR will take a
leadership role in conserving and enhancing
Denvers natural resources through work
practices and through an open space system
designed to functions as green infrastructure.
Wise water management will be a priority.
Recommendations
1. Create performance standards and
best-management practices for water
conservation. To move Denver Parks and
Recreation, a major water consumer, into a
key leadership role in the City and to
dramatically conserve water, DPR should:
A Develop a rigorous water-management
program with other agencies that
incorporates citywide
drought-management plans and
best-management practices and
anticipates long-term drought.
A Retrofit outdated irrigation systems and
install automated irrigation control and
monitoring to save money and resources.
A Establish water-reduction goals,
accountability, and incentives.
A Install low-water-use landscapes.
A Train field staff in best-management
practices for soil amendments, plant
^ Cheesman Park being watered
and recently completed Pavilion, early l 900s jjj
cr
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CHAPTER


Volunteers planting uietland plants at City Park ^
School children touring Bluff Lake preserve^
selection and maintenance, irrigation
design and management, and weed
control.
A Convert bluegrass areas to alternative
grasses and native plants, where
appropriate. Designate turf areas for
summer dormancy.
A Expand the use of nonpotable or recycled
water for irrigation.
A Convert plumbing features in facilities to
reduce water consumption.
A Educate the public about water
conservation and the environmental
advantages of converting bluegrass lawns
to more natural landscapes.
2. Take a leadership role in changing the
way people think and communicate. To
encourage an ethic of environmental
awareness and educate people about
sustainable environmental practices, DPR
should:
A Establish working teams and partnerships
with other agencies, such as CPD, Public
Works, the Water Quality Group, the
Department of Environmental Health,
Denver Water, Wastewater, and Vector
Control, to create shared performance
standards, training, and technical
assistance, to jointly fund and monitor new
programs.
A Actively participate in the Citys on-going
storm water drainage plan and water
quality study.
A Create and support a Natural Resources
Unit.
A Require continual training for DPR staff
responsible for implementing best
management practices.
A Provide staff to expand volunteerism, youth
programs, and partnerships.
A Educate the public and staff about the
benefits of environmental conservation,
and publicize successes.
A Initiate a program of environmental
awareness and conservation in the
recreation centers and programs.
A Use the DPR website, newsletters, and
other communications venues to reinforce
DPRs commitment.
3. Plan and build with best sustainable
practices. To transform parks and open
space into green infrastructure, DPR must
change planning and construction
practices. Planning principles must
integrate natural and built systems and
include design standards for both. The
planning process should:
A Address the entire system (not just the site),
considering elements and conditions such
as urban waterways, stormwater, tree
canopy, natural areas, and parklands.
A Work closely with other agencies,
developing all potential public lands as
green infrastructure, including storm water
control and quality, and wildlife habitat.
92
sustainability:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
4 Incorporate sustainable planting designs
that conserve water, create wildlife habitat,
and are low-maintenance.
4 Plan parks and green connections with
transit in mind. Continue developing green
connections according to Blueprint
Denver. Encourage bicycle and pedestrian
access for DPR employees and residents
throughout the city.
4 Encourage the reuse of brownfields and
industrial lands for parks and natural areas.
Employ innovative design solutions for
contaminated lands.
4 Reduce immediate and long-term
infrastructure costs by using natural
technologies, such as naturalized creeks for
stormwater control and life-cycle cost
analysis.
4 Require DPR Natural Resource review of
plans for new parks and drainage
4 Require DPR Natural Resource review of
plans for private developments.
Design standards should:
4 Increase the diversity of woody and
herbaceous plant species to improve
wildlife habitat and increase sustainability.
4 Experiment with adaptable, low-water, and
native plants.
4 Implement Forestrys tree canopy goals of
18 percent in residential areas and 10
percent in the Central Business District and
light-industrial districts.
4 Increase naturalized areas and reduce
bluegrass in parks and golf courses, where
compatible with recreation activities.
4 Encourage surface drainage systems and
the reuse of stormwater for irrigation. For
example, use permeable paving to allow
stormwater to soak into the ground and to
recharge aquifers.
4 Protect, restore, or create wetlands in new
developments and when naturalizing
parkland and golf courses. Develop zoning
and plan review processes for natural areas.
Develop zoning for wildlife corridors.
4 Require the use of non-point source
strategies, such as wetlands, to reduce
pollution from new or refurbished golf
courses and parks.
4 Incorporate green architecture when
possible in new construction and
remodels. The Department of Health (DEH)
should review the design of all significant
construction projects. Assure that each
new building is registered with the U.S.
Green Building Council and achieves at
least a silver rating in the councils
Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design program (LEEDS).
A Consult Utilities and DEH early in the
design process about using renewable
energy sources.
4. Change the way we manage. Parks,
open space, and facilities must be
managed, both in terms of daily operations
and long-term improvements, with criteria
Westerly Creek, designed to handle storm loads
Coats are effective in eliminating noxious uieeds
a.
caring for natural and designed resources
93
CHAPTER


An electric car in City Park, circa 1 900
DPR Pilot Rangers ^
for conservation and natural resource
quality. DPR must set and follow stringent
standards for resource management and
establish best-management practices for
achieving them by doing the following:
A Create incentives for researching the
environmental and cost-savings benefits of
new technologies.
A Create incentives for staff to conserve
water.
A Establish a system of staff accountability.
A Start a ranger program.
A Encourage flexible work schedules,
telecommuting, and alternative commuter
transportation.
A Provide a phased schedule of staffing and
capital resources to achieve these goals.
A Develop recreational management plans
for natural areas and waterways.
A Implement comprehensive landscape
health and weed/pest management
programs.
A Meet requirements to control noxious
weeds through integrated management
that minimizes use of pesticides and
herbicides.
A Establish a comprehensive lake and
waterway management program with the
citys Water Quality Group.
A Enforce emissions standards for
equipment. Enforce mandatory limits for
single-stroke engines that conform with
voluntary requirements for high-ozone
days.
A Adopt mowing/spraying routines that
minimize pollution.
A Adopt sustainable operations and
maintenance (O&M) plans and provide
continual mandatory staff training with
other city agencies.
A Refine efficient maintenance practices
(minimizing truck sizes and access).
A Manage recreational uses of fuel-powered
watercraft to minimize pollution.
A Work closely with Solid Waste Recycling to
institute recycling programs throughout the
parks and recreation centers.
A Establish and monitor a five-year pruning
cycle for trees.
94
sustainability:


GAME PLAN
creating a strategy for our future
k 7TS**

A SUSTAINABLE DESIGNED ENVIRONMENT
Denver has a rich legacy of design, in its civic
spaces, buildings, and artwork. The historic
parks and parkways and their carefully
designed meadows, lakes, woods, classic
structures, scenic drives, and artwork are
treasures that define our neighborhoods and
mountain parks. And that legacy is reflected as
well in the innovative, high quality parks and
facilities being built.
Many of Denvers historic parks are listed in the
National Register of Historic Places or offered
protection as local Denver landmarks. And
hopefully public places being designed today
are of the timeless quality to warrant
permanence and future preservation
The integrity of Denvers designed places (and
especially older, historic ones) is not assured.
Lack of funds, increasing growth and traffic,
and misinformed maintenance decisions in
some cases have eroded the beauty of
landmark structures and the integrity of historic
sites.
Protection requires identifying and preserving
the historic elements that create the character
of a place while responding to changing times
and uses. This is a complex process that
sometimes requires urgent action because
critical features, such as views, meadows, and
even details such as the material of a sidewalk
are subtle and may be overlooked.
Protection also means incorporating changing
uses and maintenance procedures without
ruining the original design. A sustainable
design legacy also means doing things right
today designing and caring for high-quality
spaces and structures that will endure into the
future.
Goal for Protection of Designed
Resources
DPR will preserve the integrity of its design
legacy, the built and historic resources,
including buildings, parkways, landscape
designs, and sculptures. Maintenance, repair,
restoration, and adaptation to new uses will be
carried out according to stringent standards for
historic preservation and design quality.
Recommendations
1. Establish a historic preservation ethic
for Denvers park design legacy through
education and public outreach:
Contemporary runes in Cuernavaca Park ^
^ The vieuis from Cheesman Pavilion,
like other high points in parks, are protected
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caring for natural and designed resources
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CHAPTER



^ The design is even apparent in this photo
of Civic Center Park under construction
Historic Chief Hosa Lodge on Qenessee ^
Mountain noui hosts meetings and uieddings
A Create internal advocacy and direction
through a historic preservation policy
statement and a historic parks advisory
committee.
A Strengthen partnerships with design and
preservation communities and agencies,
including the Denver Planning Office,
Denver Landmark Commission (DLC),
Historic Denver, the Colorado Historical
Society, the American Institute of
Architects, the American Society of
Landscape Architects, and the Denver
Public Library.
A Develop a comprehensive historic
preservation plan, including:
guidelines for inventories, evaluation of
conditions, design, and preservation
options,
a comprehensive inventory and
framework,
identification of historic themes for
Denver Parks,
identification of potential historic park
resources system wide,
identification of threatened resources
and priorities for preservation, and
standards, criteria, and guidelines for all
parks.
A Use a variety of materials and venues for
public education.
A Train staff and public officials about historic
resource issues and management through
continual workshops and presentations.
2. Protect historic structures and design
features through comprehensive
management and regulatory practices,
including those for identification,
documentation, maintenance, and
funding:
A Implement a mandatory review process for
changes affecting significant built and
historic resources, including public land in
the Right of Way managed by Public Works,
A Work closely with Public Works, CPDA, and
other agencies on design and engineering
standards that do not negatively impact
public space
A Complete master plans and management
guidelines for all major parks and parkways,
and structures
A Enforce stricter regulatory protection of
historic and potentially historic resources.
A Strengthen regulatory protection with a
better relationship with the CPDA and DLC
through regular meetings and cooperative
projects.
A Complete guidelines developed with the
Planning Office and DLC for the review and
protection of historic landscapes, and a
strategy to achieve city, state, and national
landmark designation for historic
resources.
A Include comprehensive new zoning
categories and uses for parks as the city
implements Blueprint Denver, (such as a
green-street ordinance to expand the
parkway and boulevard system citywide
96
sustainability


Full Text

PAGE 1

ExecutivesummaryThe master planfor Denver Parks and Recreation system, the DPR Game Plan, contains two final documents: an Executive Summary poster in English and Spanish and this Final Report (available also at www.denvergov.org or on cd). The Final Report is divided into ten chapters.

PAGE 2

exec utive Chapter 1The Game Plan and Its Vision for City in a P ark.Ž This chapter briefly describes the Game Plan, the master plan for Denvers parks and recreation future. Created through a two-year public process, the Game Plan outlines new directions for our parks and recreation system, based on values and priorities identified by Denvers citizens. It explains how the Game Plan is a 50-year vision and strategic framework plan to transform Denver into a City in a Park.Ž Chapter 2Context for the City in a P ark Plan Denvers park design legacy continues to evolve. Denvers neighborhoods and demographics also have changed considerably over the past 20 years. Patterns of leisure, too, are evolving. As a result, Denvers parks and recreation programs must balance new uses, new users, and new demands while extending and protecting resources. This chapter discusses trends and conditions that set the context for the plan. Chapters 3-5The City in the ParkŽ Physical Plan. The proposed physical plan to create a City in a Pa rk is organized into three sections, according to a scale that moves from home and neighborhood to Denvers park and open space role in the region. Each section is covered in a chapter:Chapter 3: Green Neighborhoods and BeyondChapter 4: The Connected CityChapter 5: From Mountains to Plains Each chapter maps out the design ideas, planning and process principles, supporting analyses, measurable indicators, standards or benchmarks, and cost estimates. As a master plan, the Game Plan makes few specific recommendations by park. Rather, it provides an overall assessment of the city and a framework for making decisions, based upon analysis, data, values, and economic strategy, about allocating and expanding resources. Chapters 6-9The City in a ParkŽ Policy and Action Strategies. Specific policies and strategies are proposed to move the department and city toward implementing the values at the heart of the Game Plan These policies and strategies are based on the four values underlying the plain, each contained in a chapter. Each chapter provides background information,W ashington Park vi

PAGE 3

goals, and specific strategies to accomplish the goals.Chapter 6: Sustainability: Caring for Natural and Designed ResourcesChapter 7: Equity: Distribution of ResourcesChapter 8: Engagement: Partnering with the PublicChapter 9: Sound Economics: Financing Maintenance and Expansion Chapter 10Although each chapter includes specific goals and strategies, Chapter 10 summarizes the first steps necessary to move the Game Plan forward. As a framework plan that sets direction, the Game Plan should not be inflexible nor should it micromanage staff work plans. Rather than outlining five or ten year action steps, the Game Plan charges the City staff and community advisory boards to continue working with the public and to craft yearly and longer-term budgets and work plans that support the plan goals. AppendixThe Appendices include further details that support the plan:Appendix A: Glossary of TermsAppendix B: Comprehensive Plan 2000 Objectives Supported by the Game PlanAppendix C: Priority Denver Public School Learning Landscapes/Community SpacesAppendix D: Green Streets at Full ScaleAppendix E: Drought PlanAppendix F: References Special needs bicycle GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureEXECUTIVE summary viisummary

PAGE 5

The Game Plan Process:creating a visionDenvers history of parks and recreationis rich with political far-sightedness, civic pride, gifted design, and community generosity. The Game Plan, a strategic master plan for Denvers parks and recreation future, builds on this legacy. It provides a framework of values to guide planning and development decisions over the next 50 years. Chapter 1

PAGE 6

theGamePlanprocess:Denvers parks and recreation facilities are unrivaled in the Rocky Mountain West. They embrace nearly 3,000 acres of traditionalŽ parks and parkways and 2,500 urban natural areas in the city alone, with an additional 14 ,000 acres of spectacular mountain parks.1Its 29 recreation centers, seven municipal golf courses, and nationally recognized cultural attractions, such as the Denver Zoo, the Denver Botanic Gardens, Historic Four Mile House, and the Buffalo Bill Museum, serve millions of visitors annually. The systems 134-year history spans from the first park, a single block that two savvy developers donated to the city in 1868 to create Curtis Park, to nearly 20,000 acres of urban parks and mountain parkland in 2002. Our parks capture all that is the essence of Colorado, from sand-hill prairie along First Creek in far northeast Denver to fragile tundra at the peak of Mt. Evans. They span nearly 100 miles, 8,700 feet in elevation change, and five ecosystems. But Denver also is a highly urban park system. In fact, the city owes much of its urban form and character to the tree-lined streets, parkways, boulevards, and parks that were designed in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Parks give each Denver neighborhood a social heart, an identity and, often, a name. P arks are about recreation „ people r e-creatingŽ themselves away from work and home. Denver is a city of people who like to play and enjoy the outdoors. In survey after survey, Denver residents credit parks, open space, and recreational opportunities for our high quality of life, a close second only to our sunny skies and great weather. Change is the constant in park and recreation trends and the pace has quickened. People now skate, run, and jog past people strolling. The few street-corner jungle gyms of our early history have evolved into our 29 recreation centers and incredible citywide recreation programs. City Park by moonlight When youre in big congested cities and theres not a lot of front or backyard, the neighborhood park is your front yard. The most important park is not the Grand Canyon, its the local park.Ž Mayor Wellington E. Webb2 A FIRST-RATE PARK LEGACY

PAGE 7

Denver planners, leaders, and residents shaped this incredible legacy deliberately, and always with an eye toward building on the past. Denver now faces considerable change „ new leisure and work trends, demographic shifts, and increasing population and density „ with no adopted strategic plan for its parks, recreation, and open space. The last city-wide parks plan (now out of date) was completed in 1986 and never adopted. DPR and Denver residents wanted to fill this critical void with a plan for the future to protect and extend the existing legacy. That community mandate was reflected in the Denver Comprehensive Plan 2000, the planning and development guide for all city departments and agencies, which called for DPR to create a master plan as the departments top priority. As a supplement to the Denver Comprehensive Plan 2000, the Game Plan will guide DPRs budget, capital development, and policy decisions, and provide a planning framework for collaborations with other city agencies, organizations, and businesses. The Public Process: A Continuing DialogueThousands of Denver citizens participated in the Game Plan process. Working with a citizen advisory committee (CAC) and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, DPR engaged the public in a 16-month process to develop this plan. The public process entailed extensive opportunities for community input from 14 public forums, formal and informal surveys, and six focus groups. Thousands of individual comments were received and considered in making recommendations. Bilingual and alternate materials were available for most public forums: F ebruary/March 2001 quadrant meetingsNine June 2001 open houses held in parks across the cityT wo April 2002 open houses and a public hearingSix focus groups engaging youth and nonEnglish speaking communitiesT wo meetings in Jefferson County for communities surrounding mountain parks Game Plan open house, June 2001 A A t t a a G G l l a a n n c c e eDenver 2000 Population: 554,636Size: 64,176 acres (without Denver International Airport)Urban parks: 3,000 (irrigated) acres, plus 343 plannedUrban natural areas: 2,500 acres, plus 900 at Stapleton and LowryMunicipal golf courses: 7 (942 acres)Largest city parks: City Park … 314, Sloans Lake … 290, W ashington Park … 195Mountain parks: 14,000 acresP arkways: 100 milesGreenways and trails: 135 milesR ecreation centers: 29After school sites: 27P ools: 19Skate parks: 1Employees: 1,400-1,600 seasonal and full timeAnnual budget: ~ $56 million (total capital and operating) GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 1 „ The Game Plan process: creating a vision 3creatingavision THE MANDATE FOR THE GAME PLAN

PAGE 8

theGamePlanprocess:The 2001 Game Plan Survey yielding 1,500 responsesInformal recreation-center user surveysA focus group with current and potential nonprofit partnersMore than 200 individual presentations to organizations across the cityCity Council briefingsStaff retreats, workshops, and presentationsInteractive Game Plan web site at www.denvergov.org/gameplan Those community patterns „ of use, of values expressed, of ideas „ are woven throughout the Game Plan The 2001 Game Plan Survey a statistically valid seven-page instrument, yielded 1,500 responses and provided extensive information on park and recreation use, values, and priorities. The survey reveals that residents greatly value all parts of Denvers parks and recreation system and consistently support mountain parks and urban natural areas. Compared to other cities, Denvers parks are well-used. More than 90 percent of Denver residents surveyed had visited a park or recreation facility in the previous year, significantly higher than a national average nearer 65 percent. And, overall, residents are very pleased with Denvers parks and recreation programs. Ye t residents surveyed are also less satisfied with resources committed to park maintenance, and are inclined to feel that distribution of resources within the city is not entirely fair. Denver residents want the city to balance adequate care of existing facilities with thoughtful expansion for the future. And a majority of residents were willing to pay at least $4/month for either additional amenities that they especially value or for increased maintenance. Finally, some recommendations for DPR policies were consistent from source to source. Priorities for DPR programs should be to serve youth and seniors. Adults programs consistently rated last. DPR should strengthen its relationship with the community through better communications, accountability, and community involvement. And DPR should increase its environmental stewardship through all aspects of the department, especially in water conservation. As the Game Plan moves forward into implementation, this public dialogue will continue with community oversight to measure the plans progress and development of a community voice in all aspects of the parks and recreation system. Crofton Elementary students design a park Denver can be made one of the ordinary cities of the country, or she can be made the Paris of America.Ž Mayor Robert Speer, 19074

PAGE 9

The Game Plan is a value-driven strategic framework, divided into two broad parts. First, it offers a 50-year physical vision of Denver as a City in a Park: ideas for the future, ideas for today. Second, it recommends short and longterm policy, management, and community actions to implement the vision. It presents a mandate for new, more responsive city policies and funding strategies. As a framework plan, the Game Plan offers the big picture but fewer specific recommendations for individual parks, recreation facilities and programs, or DPR divisions. It provides information and criteria that will help the city make decisions and respond to future requests and trends. It also clarifies values that the people of Denver expressed as important for their parks and recreation system. These four values, which are inherent in our park legacy and are articulated in the Denver Comprehensive Plan 2000, direct DPR to work towards:a sustainable environment,equity in facilities and services,engagement of the community, andsound economics. All Game Plan recommendations, in fact, are made with these values in mind. They are the determining criteria for allocating resources, for DPR management and accountability, for continuing our partnership with the public, and for protecting Denvers open spaces for the future. These values determine the priorities for physical ideas for A City in a Park, and are summarized as follows:Sustainable EnvironmentsThe Game Plan s first priority is to protect the park systems physical resources. Discussions about vision, new trends, and expansions are meaningless if policies and funding are inadequate to keep even the current physical resources „ natural ones such as open space and adequate clean water, or built ones such as irrigation systems and historic structures „ in good condition. The issue is one of sustainability „ of designing, building, and maintaining our resources responsibly so we will be able to appreciate them well into the future. That means building, adapting, and managing the park and recreation system to survive in and R ed Rocks, circa 1890 Congress Park scooter Priorities for DPR programs should be youth and seniors. Adults consistently rated last.Ž GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 1 „ The Game Plan process: creating a vision 5creatingavision THE VALUES FRAMING THE PLAN

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theGamePlanprocess:contribute to a drought-prone, water conscious City. Denvers parks and recreation system has the potential to be a national model in protecting natural and built resources. The Game Plan provides direction that will strengthen DPRs leadership in protecting our resources through new strategies and policies for environmental responsibility, preservation of historic places and structures, and high standards of design, construction, maintenance, and programming.EquityHow the city expands our parks and programs and allocates resources will be based on equity, meaning comparable distribution, access, and quality across the city. It does not imply equally dividing the annul budget pie or providing identical amenities for everyone; parks, parkways, natural areas, and recreation centers should vary across the city, reflecting geography as well as the needs, character, and history of neighborhoods. However, access to open space and facilities „ including parks, trails, natural areas, treecanopy cover, recreation facilities, playgrounds, ballfields, waterways, amenities like flowerbeds, and recreation centers „ should be distributed equitably across the city. Equity also means applying equally high standards of quality construction, programs, and maintenance across the city. And, from sidewalks to cultural events, equity means that public places and programs are physically accessible to all populations. Based upon an analysis of park and recreation services across the city, the Game Plan provides data for equitable and informed discussions and funding decisions. It offers strategies to balance the needs of underserved established neighborhoods with the needs of new or emerging neighborhoods. EngagementHighly successful parks and recreation departments anticipate, respond to, involve, and respect their users. Engagement means that Denver residents are encouraged to participate in every aspect of the park and recreation system, including programming, park design, and maintenance. It means that DPR policy and vigorous community outreach invite all voices in the process, especially youth. In turn, Denverites are encouraged to take an active stewardship role as volunteers and advocates. DPR resources are also strengthened and leveraged through innovative partnerships with other agencies and organizations dedicated to openCity Park tennis lessons P ark fesitval, circa 1960 6

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spaces and recreation. A policy of engagement also results in a park and recreation system that richly reflects Denver, cultural differences and evolving recreation trends. And, finally, engagement means that Denvers parks and recreation facilities and programs could be serving the community in a much broader sense, for our public places to come alive with programs and opportunities for Denver residents to learn, to create, to thrive economically. Parks and recreation centers are places for job training, environmental education, or community festival „ economic and social catalysts for a neighborhood.Sound EconomicsEnsuring a sustainable parks and recreation system requires adequate funding. The Game Plan emphasizes the need for creative sources for both operating and capital dollars. Our ability to develop new parks and programs depends upon our ability to maintain our current system while securing the funds for improvements and acquisitions. This requires realistic and sustainable economic practices and dependable revenues. It also takes a skilled staff to develop and manage high-quality programs and facilities. The Game Plan s financial proposals are based on analysis of existing infrastructure, identification of neighborhoods in need,Ž and financial patterns over time. The recommendations vary from increasing public funding to compensate for chronic capital underfunding to improving our business relationships with service providers. Edging Commons Park Hands on DenverŽ volunteer GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 1 „ The Game Plan process: creating a vision 7creatingavision

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theGamePlanprocess:What new ideas or emphases could enhance our extensive and beloved park and recreation system? What needs to be protected? Changed? What does a 21st-century City in a P ark look like? It signifies a change in how we define our parks and recreation programs as well as how we design, build, and manage them. As a City in a Park, the City and County of Denver becomes a new type of park „ the city itself is a large park, with streets, buildings, and people as integral elements of a rich and varied landscape. It begins at our front doors and extends to the mountain and prairie parks. And it looks at the public realm in the broadest of terms, in its entirety. The City in a Park vision is built upon five broad themes. The first three reinforce current planning directions in Denver: building new parks in new places; celebrating the Colorado landscape in the city; and responding to 21st century needs and trends. The final two themes chart new territory for DPR and Denver, weaving together land and the work of various city departments with new ideas about places: transforming open space into green infrastructure and connecting the public realm. A brief overview of each theme follows, with details in later chapters. photos: Northside Park, utility poleBuilding new parks in new placesExcept in developing areas, such as Stapleton and Lowry, and future areas of changeŽ (outlined in Blueprint Denver Denvers land use and transportation plan adopted in 2002), where population growth will be channeled, Denver is a city of established neighborhoods and parks. How do we accommodate new types of uses and add park land to bring underserved neighborhoods up to par in these established areas? Blueprint Denver projects 132,000 new residents by 2020. The majority of these new residents will live in areas of change, which will be converted from outdated land uses to new mixed uses and open spaces. This will mean looking at old places in new ways. For example, over the past 20 years, Denver has transformed brownfields,Ž (abandoned, Contemporary playground at Lowry 8 A CITY IN A PARK: FROM VALUES TO PHYSICAL VISION

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industrial, or contaminated lands) into new development. One example is the former railyards along the South Platte River in the Central Platte Valley, now the setting for dramatic new places such as Commons Park. Existing and new facilities such as public schools could do double-duty, providing school and community recreation spaces and facilities. Fully built neighborhoods may need to identify and adapt places such as utility corridors or privately owned campuses to develop new parks. Celebrating the Colorado landscape in the cityDenvers mountain parks have offered residents a scenic retreat for 90 years. Today, however, Denver residents also want that taste of wildnessŽ within urban parks and open spaces to celebrate our high plains and riparian landscapes. Not only do Denverites want these places, a sustainable park system in the arid west must incorporate the plants and landscapes able to survive in and offer relief from drought. Denver parks can have more natural areas with native plantings, water, and wildlife habitat, while continuing to provide spaces for specific recreation purposes or that are laid out and planted in a more formal style. The potential to reveal and restore the Colorado landscape exists throughout the system, especially in new parks being developed. New parks are beginning to extend beyond Denvers 19th-century grid of formal parks and parkways planted with bluegrass lawns and non-native street trees. This original green gridŽ of parks and parkways provides a welcome respite within an arid climate, but does little to let people experience the native landscape that gives the Denver region its character and Colorado wildlife their home. Newer Denver parks are incorporating the Colorado landscape by celebrating elements and features such as native grasses and the natural ebb and flow of rivers. Responding to 21st century needs and trendsShade structures over playgrounds? Public food courtŽ playgrounds? Twenty-four-hour recreation centers? Like any large complex organization with a limited capital budget, DPR can be slow to catch up, let alone anticipate, new directions. And parks and facilities require an intensive investment in fixed capital. F or example, Denver recently opened a $1 million skate park, the countrys largest, but continues to try to find ways to meet the needs of other residents who desire places to in-line GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 1 „ The Game Plan process: creating a vision 9creatingavisionF ood court as playground Natural areas along the Platte River in fall

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theGamePlanprocess:skate, ride horses, and exercise dogs. The Game Plan provides a process to help the city stay in tune with the people it serves and to be ready for the changes in needs and trends that will characterize recreation in the 21st century.T ransforming open space into green infrastructureŽThis is a new way for Denver to integrate public open space with other basic city infrastructure, such as storm water drainage and air and water-quality controls, to transform our park system into an environmental system, into green infrastructureŽ. The idea is to develop and manage Denver as a city in an ecological park, in which park lands and facilities conserve natural resources such as water and energy and protect the quality of our air, water, soils, landscapes, and wildlife habitats. Although all plants and turf consume water, trees contribute a great deal back in return. For example, trees can dramatically improve air quality by removing pollutants and can increase infiltration of ground water. Open spaces can also store and help clean vast amounts of storm water. As the city retrofits older parks and builds new ones, each piece in the system can contribute to protecting and enhancing the citys natural resources. Connecting the public realmThe City in a Park vision weaves Denvers open spaces together into a whole. It begins at each residents front door, with thousands of new street trees and sidewalks connecting neighborhoods and creating safe front yardŽ green spaces available to everyone. It extends beyond the edge of the city to a regional web of trails, waterways, and wildlife habitats. In between, the city is connected by public spaces, including downtown civic space, parks and plazas, community gardens, Learning Landscapes in every Denver public school, and public recreation centers. This comprehensive regional perspective reflects the spirit of Denvers bold early plans, such as the1914 Olmsted Plan for the mountain parks and the Sopris-Lee plan in 1 868 that proposed Sloan Lake and City Park, then located outside of city limits. The Game Plan emphasizes new connections between existing sites in the system and proposes solutions for how we get people from their homes across rivers, roads, and tracks to parks, schools, and downtown. Storm water carefully channelled and cleaned 17th Avenue Parkway today 10

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Denver Parks in Development Existing Denver Parks Public Golf Courses Parks in Other MunicipalitiesLEGEND CHERRY CREEK CL EAR CREEK PLAT TE RIVERILIFF HAMPDENHIG HLINE CANALHIGHLINE CANAL16TH STREETBROADWAY BLVD.BROADWAY BLVD.TENNESSEE 6TH AVE. QUINCY PLATTE RIVERFEDERAL BLVD.17TH AVE. MONTVIEW BLVD. MLK BLVD.COLORADO BLVD. MONACO BLVD. COLORADO BLVD.. UNIVERSITY BLVD. FEDERAL BLVD.8TH AVE. 7TH AVE. SPEER BLVD..ANDREWS DR.. GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 1 „ The Game Plan process: creating a vision 11creatingavisionOverall System

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theGamePlanprocess:Expanding our VisionThe physical vision of Denver as a City in a Park stretches our current definition of parks and recreation in three broad ways. First, it expands the range of public spaces that function as parks, providing residents with maximum choice and opportunities for access, as well as a rich menu of experiences that respond to neighborhood needs as well as emerging leisure trends. Second, it broadens the definition of parks and public spaces across a range of scales, from the front yard to neighborhood to community to region „ and connects this system physically to a degree not yet experienced or imagined. And, finally, it weaves environmental goals into the design and management of all public spaces. The City in a Park vision also honors the values expressed by the people of Denver: sustainability, equity, engagement, and sound economics. Those values could translate into the following ten broad goals for the Game Plan Chapter 2 discusses the context „ the existing conditions, history, and data analysis for achieving the following ten goals:1.More parks and recreation for all citywide.The Game Plan proposes adding more than 700 acres of parkland and distributing them equitably between growing areas and existing neighborhoods. These additions may be made by recycling industrial land, sharing open spaces and ballfields with schools, businesses, and institutions, and even sharing utility corridors. W ithin a half-mile of every home are new community gardens, natural areas, walking trails, playgrounds, informal play areas, or interpretive historical and cultural areas. Older parks are refurbished, expanded, and enhanced with new natural areas, public art, and trails. Recreation centers are built and refurbished with higher standards for programs and square footage per user.2.Greener neighborhoods with lots of new shade trees .The Game Plan vastly increases the citys tree canopy from the current 6 percent citywide to 10 percent in commercial areas and 18 percent in residential neighborhoods. Congress Park art benches Chess players at Davis Center 12 SUMMARY

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Shading and beautifying city streets enhances neighborhood identity and pride, creates pleasant passageways between neighborhoods and city parks, and improves air quality. Trees remain a top priority even in the event of continued drought.3.. while using less water .The 2002 drought dramatically illustrated the vulnerability of our water supplies. Without sacrificing the historic beauty of our parks or our recreational opportunities, we can reduce water needs (currently 2 billion gallons annually) through more efficient management, better irrigation systems, and by preserving or restoring natural areas that thrive without irrigation.4.. and conserving other natural resources.The Game Plan also proposes green,Ž or environmentally friendly, practices for design, renovation, construction, and maintenance of all buildings and landscapes. These measures will conserve water, energy, and other natural resources, reduce pollution, and protect wildlife habitat.5.Improved access: You can get there from here.Getting to a park or recreation center can be difficult or even dangerous. The Game Plan seeks to improve pedestrian, bicycle, public transit, and other routes for people of all ages and abilities. To achieve this, Denver needs more sidewalks and trails, as well as safer crossings at arterial roads, interstates, and railroad tracks that separate neighborhoods from parks and trails. Existing trail systems will be vastly improved to weave together the entire region.6.Predict the recreation future (What next? Disc golf on in-line skates?)Thirty years ago, we could not have forecasted todays passions for cycling, skateboarding, inline skating, disc golf, and dog-exercise parks. Recognizing that recreation needs evolve, and require both space and special facilities, the Game Plan outlines a process for DPR to keep up with trends, resolve conflicts, and provide new recreation opportunities.7. Bring a taste of natureŽ close to home.The Game Plan reclaims and protects more natural lands, including conservation areas and healthy waterways that offer access for every resident of every neighborhood. These natural areas will be woven into a regional system that extends from mountain parks to sandhill prairie. Natural areas save water, provide wildlife habitat, and create more diverse parks and recreation experiences. New parklands may include the sage and golden hues of the natural prairie as well as the deeper green of irrigated lawns and ballfields. Fal conCity Park picnicers, late 1800s GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 1 „ The Game Plan process: creating a vision 13creatingavision

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8.A sumptuous past: Protect Denvers historic parks, parkways, and structures.Denvers oldest parks and parkways are treasures recognized through local and federal historic designation. The Game Plan preserves this legacy through comprehensive training, strict design review, restoration and repair efforts that use durable and historically accurate materials, and preventative maintenance.9.Save another historic treasure: Revitalize the Mountain Parks.Denvers mountain park system includes 62 historic parks with classic structures and scenic drives. They encompass 14,000 acres of natural and historic treasures in three counties. The Game Plan protects and enhances these resources by: making connections that weave mountain parks into a regional system; reducing fire risk; balancing conflicting forms of recreation; and devising new funding sources and management techniques.10.The Game Plan means business: Change the way DPR works, focusing on sound economics and creative partnerships.The Game Plan recommends both incremental and sweeping changes to improve management and to secure funding. It proposes new funding sources, partnerships, and strategies to increase DPRs capital budget and efficiency. F or example, improvements may result from partnerships being initiated with more than 50 schools and from joint ventures with private landowners. Some programs and activities help pay their own way through fees for residents who can afford to pay. Building upon a long and effective history of involvement, residents become even greater stewards and volunteers, participating in park and recreation programming, fundraising, and maintenance.FOOTNOTE1 Another 334 acres of neighborhood and community parks are on the drawing boards and an additional 1100 acres of natural areas at Stapleton and Lowry will be managed by the City.Demand for group picnic areas keeps growing Northside Park sculpture and visitor In connection with the Civic Center and its system of radiating boulevards, the mountain parks will form a climax of beauty and an opportunity for pleasure unequalled.Ž 1913 Municipal Facts14

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Responding to Change:the context for the Game PlanDenvers parks and recreationfacilities have always responded to their times, reflecting cultural expectations and perceptions about the relationship between wild natureŽ and the city, and accommodating evolving recreational preferences. This chapter reviews the significant forces which have influenced our modern-day parks system, and then discusses changes in population, leisure trends, infrastructure condition, and expectations for accountability, which have shaped the Game Plan The chapter concludes with a discussion of the analysis that underlies Game Plan responses to these trends, and that supports future resource allocation and investment decisions. Chapter 2

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respondingtochange:Nature Tamed: Parks from the City Beautiful EraThe 19th-century idea of a pastoral retreat is evident in Denvers first and oldest parks.Early landscape architects, including Reinhard Schuetze and his successor, S. R. DeBoer, labored during the late 19th century to carefully design the informal-looking meadows, lakes, winding paths, and small forestsŽ of our older parks to provide a refuge from the dusty, arid, emerging city. At the turn of the 20th century, Denver Mayor Robert Speer, who had been exposed to the City Beautiful idea at the 1893 Worlds Columbian Exposition in Chicago, introduced the City Beautiful movement to Denver, then a city of dirt streets. In 1906, Speer hired the prominent landscape architect George Kessler and planner Charles Mulford Robinson, who recommended a citywide system of boulevards and parks.Their plan produced some of Denvers grandest civic spaces, such as the Civic Center, the formal parkways, and Cheesman Pavilion.Our park legacy was honored in 1986 when 32 urban parks and parkways were designated as National Historic Landmarks. These historic park designs shared a vision of nature tamed as a refuge for residents living in an industrial and polluted city.In arid Colorado, this meant replacing the original landscape „ the natural grasses and trees of the high plains „ with images of parks borrowed from lusher climates. What resulted was a welcome but artificial green layer laid over the citys formal grid.This green gridŽ gives Denver neighborhoods their character and the city its overall urban form. These dark green lawns and formal flower beds, however, also use large amounts of water and require expensive and sometimes environmentally unsound maintenance procedures. In the first two decades of the 20th-century, Denvers leaders extended this system of connected parks into the foothills and mountains by ultimately acquiring nearly 14 ,000 acres primarily in Jefferson County.1Historic path along Highline Canal 16 DENVERS PARK LEGACY: AN EVOLVING SYSTEM

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Denver built its mountain parks system of scenic roads weaving together parcels of mountain land based on a plan by the nationally renowned Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm of Brookline, Mass. In the 1930s, the mountain parks added wonderful stone structures, meticulously designed by the National Park Service and local architects and built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.Celebrating the Regional Landscape: P arks from the 1930s to the presentThe growing importance of recreation, the automobile, and changing attitudes about the environment influenced the next six decades. In the early 19th century, a visit to the large parks on Denvers edges still required time and transportation, excluding many poorer workers in central Denver.As part of a national city playgroundŽ movement, Denver built cornerlot playgrounds throughout the central city. And during the decades immediately before and after World War II, Denvers park system expanded into all city neighborhoods through a series of smaller neighborhood and community parks. S. R. DeBoers 1929 comprehensive plan ushered in an era that acknowledged both the automobile and the regional role and character of Denvers parks.His landscape design ethic celebrated Rocky Mountain landforms and plants, even when artificially placed in a traditional park, like the DeBoer Box Canyon in City Park.In the 1930s, DeBoer also had the foresight to conceive of the rebirth of the South Platte River, then Denvers industrial wasteland. It took another 30 years for civic leaders to begin to develop a system of river parks and trails along the South Platte, whose renewal became the centerpiece of the 1990s park system expansions.The South Plattes rebirth captures the environmental ethic and public appreciation for natural areas that has grown since the 1960s. Ideas about park design have evolved still further.Numerous new, innovative parks now line the South Platte and its tributaries, including Northside Park, which transformed an old wastewater treatment plant, Commons P ark, which celebrates Denvers urban skyline and the South Platte Rivers native habitat, and Bluff Lake, Denvers first conservation area. Over the past 30 years, Denver has added significant modern-style parks, such as Lawrence Halprins downtown Skyline Park and the highly symbolic and contemplative Babi-Yar P ark designed by Halprin and Saturu Nishita. Mountain Parks brochure D D e e n n v v e e r r P P a a r r k k D D e e s s i i g g n n L L e e g g a a c c y yT ree lined streets and sidewalksP ublic parks on high groundCapturing mountain viewsCelebrating waterConnecting public lands with special streetsConnecting civic buildings and park landConnecting the city to the mountains GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 2 „ responding to change: the context for the Game Plan 17contextforthegameplan

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respondingtochange:Evolution of public recreationP arks a century ago teemed with people bicycling, boating, playing tennis, riding horses, and socializing.A band concert on July 4, 1910 at City Park, called the Peoples Park,Ž attracted more than 100,000.People caught drinking or speeding (driving over 8 m.p.h.) were jailedŽ in the basement of the Pavilion. Activities in the parks have changed continually over time; people no longer camp, swim, or race horses and cars in the parks.Bicycling continues to be a passion, joined today by people running and in-line skating. Not until the 1960s did the city build and staff its public recreation centers.Built originally to provide a safe refuge for youth during a tumultuous social period for cities, Denvers recreation centers offer programs for all ages and special needs.Recreation programs now extend beyond these walls to care for children after school and to offer special trips and opportunities such as mountain challenge courses. Denvers parks and recreation system will continue to evolve.The challenge facing the Game Plan is to ensure that a number of forces which have the capacity to significantly alter the system, are addressed in a positive, proactive manner. Since 1986, when the most recent parks master plan was completed „ though never adopted „ Denver has changed in some important ways.Four major areas of change are discussed: population trends, recreation preferences, aging infrastructure, and heightened expectations.P opulation TrendsDuring the past two decades the citys population has increased by nearly one-fifth, though in real terms, population is just now approaching the previous peak achieved during the boom yearsŽ of the 1970s.Some neighborhoods have become more densely populated and ethnically diverse, and many are among the least-well-endowed with parks and open space.Who uses the citys parks and how they use them also has changed. Since 1970, the areas that have experienced the largest population increases (over 25Denvers skate park, 2001 18 FORCES SHAPING THE GAME PLAN

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 2 „ responding to change: the context for the Game Plan 19contextforthegameplanpercent in real terms) include Montbello, East Colfax, Fort Logan, Harvey Park South, College View/South Platte, Washington Park/Virginia V ale, Hampden, and Hampden South (Map: P opulation Increases).Areas with more modest growth (11 to 25 percent) include the W est Side neighborhoods of Westwood, Villa P ark, and Barnum. According to the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) and Blueprint Denver the largest areas of future growth, based on new homes planned, will be in central Denver, portions of Southeast Denver, the new Lowry and Stapleton communities, and the far Northeast neighborhoods. In the past decade, Denver also became a more urban city.This is especially evident with P opulation Growth by neighborhood from 1990…2000

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respondingtochange:20 high-rise, loft, and townhome redevelopment downtown and in Cherry Creek.But density does not always result from an increase in housing stock.Many older West Side and Northeast neighborhoods have experienced increasing population density because households are larger, not because new homes have been built. The Density Map shows that the densest areas, with more than 15 people per acre, are parts of the West Side, Lincoln Park, Capitol and North Capitol Hill, Congress and Cheesman Parks, and East Colfax.The range extends to an upper bound of 46.7 people per acre in North Capitol Hill, compared to a citywide average of just under six people per acre.2Because more land is occupied by development in Expected Population Growth from 2000Â…2020 Davis recreation center swimmer

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 2 „ responding to change: the context for the Game Plan 21contextforthegameplanhigher-density areas, parks, playing fields, and natural areas become much more valuable to residents.Residents of higher-density areas also will need conveniently located neighborhood parks, both traditional and new. Even if population does not increase much in real terms, a shift in population distribution or density can have significant impacts if occurring in areas of the city that have limited park resources.Increased population or density in these neighborhoods can translate into new demands on existing resources, more competition for parks and trails, and more wear and tear.Data suggest that between 1970 and 2000, park acreage in the neighborhoods that gained the most people averaged only 5.6 acres per 1,000 people, compared to an average of 10 .1 acres for the city as a whole.P opulation Density by Neighborhood

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22 Denvers demographics have also shifted.In the past 10 years, two age groups „ people under age 25 and between the ages of 45 and 54 „ have comprised close to half of the citys population.Residents age 24 and younger now constitute nearly a third of the citys population, while Baby Boomers account for about 13 percent of the total.These shifts are important, as recreation and leisure trends tend to vary by age. The city is also more ethnically diverse. Non-Hispanic whites (Caucasians or AnglosŽ) comprised two thirds of the citys population in 1990 and now comprise just over half.The Denver Public Schools population is now only 21 percent Caucasian.To the extent that different groups have different recreational preferences „ and the 2001 Game Plan General Survey suggests that they do „ this P opulation Growth of Children Senior centers serve thousands respondingtochange:

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growing diversity means that our system must become more flexible to accommodate the needs of all residents. In response to population trends, the citys parks and recreation system is seeing both increased levels of use and more varied types of uses compared to 10 years ago.By 2020, the citys population is projected to increase further by 132,000 people „ nearly a 25 percent gain.This will place still more demands on the citys parks and recreation resources, especially in areas of change, identified in Blueprint Denver where the city hopes to channel growth and develop more transit.New, different, or upgraded amenities may be needed in these areas.Changing leisure and recreation trendsIn Denver, as nationwide, recreation and leisure trends are becoming more complex, influenced by social and demographic forces. Activities such as tennis and football have declined while new activities have emerged. F or example:The fastest growing leisure activity is walking and fitness walking, enjoyed primarily by Baby Boomers.This generation is much more active than their parents at the same age, but prefers lowimpact activities or activities that can include young children.Among youth, the most popular activities include anything on wheels, such as in-line skating and skateboarding, all-terrain inline skating, and mountain boarding.Organized league activities for youth soccer and baseball are still very popular, having largely replaced the spontaneous  pickupŽ games that were the norm 30 years ago.New hybridŽ sports such as disc golf have emerged that combine elements of several activities in new ways.More cities are investing in year-round facilities such as indoor soccer arenas, ice rinks, indoor playgrounds, indoor pools with summer use, and covered playgrounds offering protection against the sun.Even pets are getting into the act.Some 35 percent of Colorado households own a dog.Parks systems across the U.S. have created off-leash areas where people can play with their pets.An Aging Physical System, Real Financial Constraints, and Environmental RealitiesDenvers parks infrastructure is aging.The majority of parks and recreation centers were constructed prior to the 1970s and major mechanical and related systems are failing. The irrigation system alone constitutes a significant capital repair expense, andMestizo Curtis Pool vendor GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 2 „ responding to change: the context for the Game Plan 23contextforthegameplan

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respondingtochange:estimates for its replacement with a new, more efficient system, approach $50 million.The financial commitment required to maintain this aging system and growing backlog of capital repairs is a drain on resources and dramatically reduces the citys ability to provide innovative programs and facilities. DPR's most recent capital repair and maintenance estimates show that the city faces a yearly $6 million deficit to catch up with deferred repairs and then keep the system in good shape. It faces another $10 million yearly shortfall to cover the currently identified capital upgrades, improvements, and expansions. The result over time is a physical infrastructure that continues to slip deeper into disrepair, moving moderate projects into a more critical state. The Game Plan projects themselves will require additional funding beyond these identified needs. And, the environmental realities for DPR and Denver vary in their intensity but never lose their presence: periodic drought from Denvers lack of precipitation and dependence upon a limited and fickle water source; a long-standing fight against polluted air; water quality problems in lakes and streams from non-point source pollution; and flooding.DPR has a role in contributing to these issues and a tremendous potential to help solve them.Heightened Public Expectations for AccountabilityBoth the 2001 Game Plan Survey and a survey conducted during the same time period by the citys Budget Management office show that residents value well-maintained and safe amenities and think the city needs to improve delivery of those amenities.This parallels a nationwide trend in which the public is more sensitive to public spending, and expects greater accountability from parks and recreation, public works, and other city departments. Achieving the City in a Park vision will require DPR to be accountable to Denver residents and to respond to the needs of its customers. The plan does that by translating the guiding values and goals articulated in the previous chapter into a system and process that facilitates measurement and monitoring of progress toward this vision.The Game Plan identifies indicators that capture the essence of A City in a Park, and sets qualitative or quantitative performance goals as long-range objectives to track progress. Benchmarks which reflect the condition or level of service existing in the year 2000, are also set as a means to gauge short term progress. To provide an illustration, street tree canopy coverŽ is one indicator, with 18 percentBicyling, circa 1900 Bicycling today, more popular and accessible than ever 24

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coverage citywide established as a long-range performance goal.In 2000, Denver had a tree canopy cover of 6 percent, which will be used as a benchmark against which to gauge yearto-year progress. Indicators and performance goals are based on four information sources:Information from residents about what they value most in our park system;Comparisons of Denvers performance to similar cities;Comparisons to national standards advocated by the National Recreation and P arks Association (NRPA), a professional organization of parks administrators; andProfessional expertise within DPR. While values ultimately define what residents want to see in their parks and recreation system, actual numeric goals are informed by the experience of similar cities nationwide.In 2000, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) surveyed 25 cities including Denver to gather information on per-capita park acreage, amenities, and expenditures and provides an important context for Game Plan recommendations.More information is available in Chapter 3: Generous Park Acreage. The Game Plan s approach of focusing more on customer needs and measuring performance in reaching goals is a major departure for DPR.Congruent with the performance measurement framework established by the Denver Comprehensive Plan 2000 and Blueprint Denver such an approach is also consistent with that adopted by private industry in the 1980s and 1990s to improve competitiveness „ and by parks systems in Indianapolis, New York City, Raleigh, and Ft. Lauderdale. The City in a Park vision described in following chapters offers a range of physical recommendations at three scales: neighborhood scale and just beyond; citywide scale, which addresses connections, civic space, and Denvers urban waterways; and from mountains to plains, which addresses the citys regional open space and trails and the mountain parks system.Policy recommendations are directed at the sustainability of the natural and built environment; equity in amenities; moreDavis Center remodeled in 2000 The Game Plan identifies indicators that capture the essence of A City in a Park, and sets qualitative or quantitative performance goals as long-range objectives to track progress.Ž GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 2 „ responding to change: the context for the Game Plan 25contextforthegameplan AC HIEVING THE CITY IN A PARK VISION: THE DETAILS

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resident and partner engagement in planning and implementation; and a sound economic foundation for the system.As a framework plan, the recommendations deliberately were not prioritized, with the assumption that City staff, working with the DPR Advisory Committee, will create yearly work plans and priorities based upon budget and other city projects. These recommendations respond to the underlying goals and values of the plan, and to the trends outlined above.They are also shaped by the proposed performance measurement framework and by a great deal of analysis to determine where there are gaps between the City in a Park vision and current achievements.PrioritiesTo determine priorities for action at the neighborhood level, the Game Plan identifies areas of the city that are well below desired performance goals.By comparing resources to current and projected demands for services, the Game Plan seeks to target the citys investments to ensure an equitable distribution of resources.At the citywide and regional scale, progress against more qualitative benchmarks is assessed.At the policy level, this gap analysisŽ employs both qualitative and qualitative measures and goals.And, to be realistic, early actions are proposed that are lower in investment but have a high payoff. This gap analysisŽ provides a context for making decisions about investment or reinvestment in parks and recreation amenities, or in new policy initiatives.The Game Plan does not recommend investment only in needy or growing neighborhoods, or in initiatives that will be quick successes,Ž but rather provides tools and resources to help create priorities and monitor progress.FOOTNOTES1 Denver also has park land in Douglas County, Clear Creek County, and Grand County (Winter Park Ski Area). 2 Density is calculated based on number of people per acre, rather than number of housing units per acre.This acknowledges that an areas population density can increase if more people are occupying the same housing stock, as well as from construction of new homes. W aterplay 26

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Green neighborhoods:a city in a park begins at homeTo realize this vision of A City in a Park,the DPR Game Plan starts with the places  closest to the heartŽ: neighborhood streets and public spaces, schoolyards, and places to gather. Game Plan proposals involve making every city neighborhood greener „ and then extend outward to the broader community fabric of recreation centers, playing fields, and community level amenities. And in a water wise, arid city, that greenŽ varies from the deep green of the right tree in the right placeŽ to the sage green of native plants. Chapter 3

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greenneighborhoods:Denver 2010: A cool canopy of drought resistant street trees shades each neighborhood and cleanses the air. A network of public spaces that residents can walk to creates a vibrant urban landscape supporting a wide variety of activities, from bird watching to community gardening. Schoolyards, recreation center grounds, and other gathering places have been transformed through cooperative efforts. New park-like spaces are created through redevelopment agreements with private developers, and foundŽ spaces, from vacant lots to rooftop gardens, become oases in the city. Restored natural open space offers new opportunities for residents to experience wildlife. Beyond the neighborhood, recreation centers citywide provide an array of services most desired by residents, while new or refurbished centers offer the latest programming and equipment. Neighbors gather at transit stop plazas while waiting for a bus. Cooperative agreements with schools and colleges provide opportunities to use playing fields and other green space. The features and elements described above „ street trees, smaller park like spaces, and natural open space „ are the smallest scale building blocks of A City in a Park. These small scale improvements seek to leverage existing „ often underutilized „ land resources to provide a great deal of value to residents for a comparatively small investment. They also provide immediate opportunities for DPR to partner with other public agencies and private redevelopment entities to improve Denverites quality of life. And the greenŽ of these spaces is now an array of greens: from the sage green of high plains plants to the green of an urban plaza paving stone. S TREE TREE CANOPY COVER: GREEN GRIDŽ AND GREEN LUNGSŽVision for Stree Tree Canopy CoverA City in a Park is a shaded city, where street trees play an important role in defining urban form, provide environmental and economic benefits, and enhance our quality of life. An appropriate sized canopy of drought resistant trees in an arid city like Denver is the mainstay of a green open space. P ick-up at Mestizo Curtis Park 28 BUILDING BLOCKS FOR GREENER NEIGHBORHOODS

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V aluesDenvers green gridŽ of street trees connects the city and defines its character and form. Early Denver residents planted the first street trees in 1867. Adding shade and greenery to the prairie and urban environments, street trees have become one of the parks systems most valued elements. Modern day residents increasingly value this urban forest,Ž especially as our climate becomes more extreme. A majority of residents attending Game Plan open houses said they would pay more taxes for street tree improvements. And, especially important during this time of drought, trees (and shrubs) are considered the landscape priority for water. In a less visible manner, a healthy street-tree canopy also functions as the citys green lungs,Ž transforming climate and removing air and waterborne pollutants. Significant environmental benefits are realized, including:Improved air quality by removing pollutants;Energy conservation from reduced demand for air-conditioning; andIncreased infiltration of storm water into the ground, reducing the need for flood infrastructure and maintenance/operations expenses.Reduced the amount of volatile organic compounds that a hot, parked car releases into the air. While residents may be less aware of these potential benefits, they offer a compelling incentive for city agencies to invest in augmenting our urban forest. Of the various plant materials „ sod, flowers, shrubs, and trees „ it is the dramatic impact of long-lived trees that help carry us through a drought and become the priority water user.P erformance indicatorsAlthough a 2001 American Forest report suggests that a tree canopy cover of 25% offers substantial environmental and economic benefits, Denvers Forestry staff recommends a goal of 15-18% in residential areas and 10 percent in commercial areas and the Central Business District (CBD) as more appropriate for our arid climate. Game Plan Street Tree Pe rformance GoalProvide a tree-canopy cover of 15-18 percent in urban residential areas and 10 percent in the central business district by 2025.South Platte River and Speer viaduct, circa 1900 GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 3 „ Green neighborhoods: a city in a park begins at home 29acityina parkbeginsathome

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greenneighborhoods:30 How does the city measure up?Counting residential, commercial, and industrial areas, Denvers street tree canopy averaged 6 percent in 2001, as measured by an American Forests study of five cities along the Front Range. Wide variations exist by geographic area and neighborhood. Along 7th A venue Parkway, for example, large mature trees create about 40 percent cover. Elsewhere the urban forest has deteriorated. Residents are very aware of this uneven coverage; one-third of residents surveyed rated DPRs maintenance of the urban forest as only fair or poor. A visual analysis of the citys most recent aerial survey indicates that one third of Denvers neighborhoods may have tree cover below the citywide average, as illustrated in the Tree Canopy cover map. Another one-third ofT ree Canopy Cover Denvers street trees

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neighborhoods meets the city average but is below the recommended 18 percent standard. Since this assessment is drawn from an aerial survey, it is difficult to judge just how many new trees are needed. Conservative estimates suggest at least 50,000 new trees are needed (when appropriate to plant) plus annual replacement of 2,000 unhealthy, dead or dying trees from the current inventory.Recommendations for Trees1. Complete a comprehensive physical assessment and inventory of tree cover to identify areas that do not meet the performance goal and to guide future investments in these areas. 2.Use the inventory to develop an action plan and budget for canopy replacement and restoration. Begin with neighborhoods most in need that also are organized and actively support the effort. 3.Monitor and report progress to residents using methods described in Chapter 8. 4.Update and reissue the citys streetscape design manual. 5.Ensure that DPR, Planning (CPDA), and Public Works (PW) provide common planning and enforcement standards and jointly adopt final guidelines. 6.Incorporate all planning into a city-wide drought plan for all plant materials A BIT OF BREATHING SPACEŽ: AC CESSIBLE PUBLIC OPEN SPACE IN EVERY NEIGHBORHOODVisionA City in a Park provides a network of breathing space:Ž safe, accessible, and flexible open spaces located within a half-mile of every home.V aluesAs Denver becomes more urban, residents increasingly value green breathing spaceŽ that they can walk to within their immediate neighborhoods. These breathing spacesŽ encompass a wide range of places with varied landscape character, from natural open space to neighborhood parks or rooftop gardens, to more urban squares and plazas. What they hold in common is their ability to support gathering, recreation and relaxation among families, friends and neighbors. These public open spaces also enhance property values and provide visual relief from surrounding development. Expanding or enhancing these varied neighborhood spaces was rated as one of the top two DPR priorities by over two thirds of city residents responding to the Game Plan survey. GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 3 „ Green neighborhoods: a city in a park begins at home 31acityina parkbeginsathomeCommons Park: turf and grasses

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greenneighborhoods:They also described a wide range of amenities that could be included in these spaces, such as:Community gardens,Public art,Interpretation of neighborhood history or cultural heritage,Playgrounds and learning landscapes for children,PickupŽ soccer, Frisbee, and other games,Natural open space with opportunities for wildlife, andShort-loop walking trails. These also were the amenities for which residents were most willing to pay increased taxes. It is important to note that access to these public neighborhood spaces is much more important to Denver residents than the acreage contained within them. Residents want these spaces to be walkable : they should ideally be no more than a 10-minute walk from home, via sidewalks, paths, or other safe pedestrian thoroughfares that do not require them to cross a busy arterial street or active rail line.P erformance indicatorsMost U.S. cities establish acreage standards for small neighborhood parks; but only a few, such as Minneapolis and Seattle, also consider access as an important performance measure. The most typical goal is to provide a neighborhood park within one-half mile from home. No cities seem to incorporate the notion of safety. In addition, community gardens, plazas, courtyards, and other nontraditional public spaces typically are not counted as fulfilling the goal. But because these are the kinds of amenities Denverites value, the Game Plan incorporates these types of public spaces in the performance goal. Game Plan Public Open-Space P erformance GoalProvide at least one-half acre of public open space within one-half mile of every residents home that can be reached without crossing a major barrier. The Game Plan takes this goal one step further in also identifying basic amenities that should be incorporated in these neighborhood scale open spaces. Some elements are more appropriate to a space that is mostly green, and others more appropriate to an urban, hardscaped facility. Nonetheless, they constitute basic creature comfortsŽ intendedUrban Farm at Stapleton 32

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to make gathering and recreating an enjoyable experience. Game Plan Public Open Space Design Elements:Introduce a comprehensive basic program for breathing space in neighborhoods that includes: a loop walking trail; shade, seating, and a drinking fountain; an open play area; a picnic area; plantings; and a focal element, such as public art, a gazebo, or a plaza. This basic program should be modified to suit the type of space under consideration. Given neighborhood need and available space, breathing spaces also might include multi-use courts, community gardens, a playground, more extensive gardens and plantings, and natural open space. It is essential that these optionalŽ elements reflect neighborhood needs and involve neighborhood residents in their planning.How does the city measure up?Overall, Denver is doing a strong job of providing accessible breathing spaces,Ž which is illustrated in the Walkable Parks map. As measured in the benchmark year of 2000, some 90 percent of residents enjoyed safe access to neighborhood parks, and all neighborhoods have walkable access to schoolyards and other spaces that could be improved to better serve residents. Areas that presently pose challenges for safe access include Westwood/Mar Lee near Mississippi; portions of the I-25 corridor between University and Hampden; Windsor; portions of Park Hill/Congress Park; and the Northwest neighborhoods next to Federal Boulevard. These are also areas with average population increases of 15 to 25 from 1980 to 2000. As Denver continues to grow areas with future access issues may include downtown neighborhoods, West Colfax, Morrison Road, South Federal Boulevard, portions of Globeville and Elyria-Swansea, the Platte River spine, Un iversity Park, and Hampden. Like other older U.S. cities whose land area is mostly built out, Denvers opportunities for expanding its public open spaces will require transformation of redevelopment sites; partnerships with educational institutions and campuses for shared use of their facilities; and leveraging of spaces such as carriage lots and rooftops that otherwise would be overlooked. Hidden spaces are potential opne space GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 3 „ Green neighborhoods: a city in a park begins at home 33acityina parkbeginsathome

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greenneighborhoods:34 Blueprint Denver s Small Area and Corridor Plans also offer an opportunity to link new park and public space creation to redevelopment. The Game Plan envisions every schoolyard renovated to be both a Learning Landscape and a neighborhood park or green breathing space. The Highest Priority School Projects map shows the potential for open space and breathing space that could be provided on elementary and middle school grounds alone. Ur ban school grounds typically provide two to eight acres of open space depending on the grades served. Managed and maintained under shared-use agreements, these sites could provide a total of 400-500 additional acres of public open space citywide. Building on the current Learning Landscape program, DPR and Denver Public Schools haveW alkable Parks

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 3 „ Green neighborhoods: a city in a park begins at home 35acityina parkbeginsathomeidentified the next 50 schools for renovation that could increase open space in neighborhoods identified as in most needŽ of parkland. These are also areas where sustained population growth has occurred since 1980. These school lands alone could provide an estimated 250 acres of additional public open space in these neighborhoods. See Appendix for a full list. Another opportunity to create more breathing space in the city involves encouraging redevelopment at the neighborhood or site scale. Redevelopment in the areas of change identified in Blueprint Denver should be accompanied by a commitment from private developers to provide public space for all neighborhood residents, not just residents of new or redeveloped housing.Highest Priority Schools ParksŽ

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greenneighborhoods:Through the citys Pedestrian Master Plan process, DPR has begun working with CPDA and PW to remove barriers to parks and open space. Where arterial streets are viewed as safety hazards, the city is considering installing pedestrian-activated stoplights and trafficcalming devices such as bulb-outs. Gradeseparated crossings, such as those at underpasses and pedestrian bridges, should be considered for more significant barriers, such as waterways, interstate highways, and active rail lines.Recommendations for Breathing Spaces1. Bring neighborhoods that lack adequate breathing spaceŽ up to par within 10 years. 2.Plan for projected growth as a concurrent priority. 3.Encourage partnerships with city agencies, DPS and private redevelopment entities to leverage existing City owned land and transform underutilized lands into public amenities. 4.Remove or mitigate barriers to access (real or perceived) to neighborhood facilities. Support Blueprint Denver recommendations to make arterial streets safer and more pedestrian-friendly and to provide grade-separated crossings in especially dangerous areas. 5.Encourage the creation of a variety of public spaces so residents have choices. Community gardens, urban plazas, and other public spaces where people can gather are possible alternatives to formal parks. 6.Ensure that community spaces are safe through good design, more neighborhood  eyes on the parkŽ, ranger programs. EQUITABLE AND GENEROUS ST ANDARDS FOR PARK ACREAGEVisionA City in a Park enhances Denvers reputation as a city with generous park resources by adding acreage adequate to accommodate growth, while also distributing parks and open space more equitably throughout the city.V aluesCommunity surveys show that residents highly value and frequently use the citys parks. Seventy eight percent of residents have visited a city park at least once in the past year, while 42 percent of residents visited at least 10 times in the past year. Another 36 percent reported visiting between one and nine times. Fully 85 percent of residents surveyed think parks make a major or moderate contribution to the citys quality of life. About 75 percent of residentsMillenium Bridge, an urban park over train tracks 36

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 3 „ Green neighborhoods: a city in a park begins at home 37acityina parkbeginsathomeare satisfied with the availability of these amenities throughout the city. Denvers park resources are also generous compared with communities of similar size. The expansive quantity of park acreage available in the city undoubtedly contributes to its use and value. Safeguarding this land bank and maintaining this level of amenity as the city grows are among the Game Plan s key challenges. Though Denvers parks resources overall are above average, some areas of the city lack acreage relative to their population. And, over the next two decades, areas that now have adequate parkland may find they have too little space as growth takes place. The Game Plan provides an approach to addressing these distribution issues so that all residents have equitable access to public open space.P erformance indicatorsThe National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) recommends a standard of 10 acres of parkland for every 1,000 people. This is also the approximate average public open space acreage provided by cities comparable to Denver in population and density, as shown in the City Comparison table. Where those parksCity Comparison City Area (Acres) Population (2000 Census) Total Public Open Space within City (Acres) Public Open Space Acres per 1,000 Residents Golf Courses Golf Course Acreage (GCA) Total Public Open Space within City (Acres) (w/o GCA) Parks & Open Space Acres per 1,000 Residents (w/o GCA)Cincinnati49,408331,2857,39122.3711216,27018.1 Cleveland49,280478,4032,8876.027132,1744.4 Denver98,112554,591612511794251809.3 Detroit88,768951,2705,8906.26N/AN/AN/A Minneapolis35,156382,6185,69414.9611004,59412.8 Pittsburgh35,584334,5632,7358.21572,6787.7 Seattle53,696563,3746,19411.044255,76911.0 St. Louis39,616348,1893,3859.732993,0868.8 AVERAGE493,0364,97710.16864,3778.9 T reatment plant to park: the before and after of Northside Park

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greenneighborhoods:are located and what they offer in terms of amenities, of course, are equally important. Given that three quarters of Denver residents are satisfied with the current level of park acreage in the city, this seems to be a reasonable standard to maintain as the city moves forward into the future. Game Plan Proposed Park Acreage Performance GoalProvide 8 to 10 acres of parkland for every 1,000 residents, assuming 8 acres as a lower boundŽ and 10 acres as most desirable.How does the city measure up?When all public open space within city boundaries is included, Denver provides 11 acres for every 1,000 people, which exceeds the proposed performance goal. But because golf courses require a fee for use and cannot be used for other activities such as hiking, Denvers current level of amenities was also calculated excluding golf course acreage. These calculations show that Denver provides 9.3 acres of parkland per 1,000 people, still slightly above comparable cities average of 8.9 acres per 1,000 residents. F or Denver to increase acreage provided to 10 acres/1,000 residents, exclusive of golf courses, the city would need to add another 700 acres of public parkland and multi-purpose open space. Based on Blueprint Denver s growth projections, 1,000 to 1,300 additional acres would need to be added by 2025 to maintain the current level of service. Projects planned for Lowry, Green Valley Ranch, Stapleton, and elsewhere, totaling 1, 449 acres, meet a significant portion of this need, but do not address the issue of equity in distribution of parkland throughout the city. Consequently, the call for an additional 700 acres holds true into the future, even with the additional parkland currently on the drawing boards. The Park Acreage map illustrates a number of neighborhoods in the city that fall below the established performance range for acreage. Areas at only 50 percent of goal or below include parts of the West Side (West Colfax, Villa Park, Westwood, Harvey Park, Harvey Park South); parts of Northwest Denver (Highland, W est Highland, Sunnyside); Park Hill; East Colfax; the South Valley; and parts of Southeast Denver (University Hills, Virginia Village, Cory Merrill, and Southmoor Park).38 Schools become neighborhood parks: Bromwell Elementary

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 3 „ Green neighborhoods: a city in a park begins at home 39acityina parkbeginsathomeMany of these areas „ specifically the central and south West Side, Park Hill and Northeast Pa rk Hill, East Colfax, portions of Southeast and Montbello „ are also among the citys highestdensity neighborhoods, and there are limited facilities outside the citys boundaries to accommodate the needs of these neighborhood residents Blueprint Denvers Areas of Change map considers projected growth through 2025, for the areas of change identified in Blueprint Denver. While many of these areas now have adequate parkland compared to the recommended goal, future growth could change that. The downtown neighborhoods, for example, could require 40 new acres of parkland to keep up with projected growth. Neighborhoods already below standard „Pa rk Acreage F or Denver to increase acreage provided to 10 acres/1,000 residents, exclusive of golf courses, the city would need to add an additional 700 acres of public parkland and multi-purpose open space.

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greenneighborhoods:40 Elyria-Swansea and West Colfax, for example „ could face new pressures from projected growth. These areas may not be served by new parkland at Stapleton and Lowry. Opportunities to acquire new parkland are limited by the existing developed land area within the city. The city should pursue creative strategies to add large parkland parcels, such as reclaiming abandoned industrial lands (called brownfieldsŽ), ensuring that redevelopment in designated areas of change provides for public parkland, and forging partnerships with schools and colleges for shared use of green spaces. The citys larger secondary-school campuses and universities represent a potential shared resource. Strong partnerships with DPS, private colleges and schools, and other institutionsBlueprint Denvers Areas of Change CO LFA X PENA I-25S H E R ID A NCOLORADOY O R KFEDERAL TOWER38THB R O A D W A YY A L EH A M P D E NJ E W E L LH A V A N AU N I V E R S I T Y48TH6 T HEVANSPEO RIAA L A M E D AL E E T S D A L ECO LFA XC H A M B E R SM IS S IS S IP P II 2 5M O N A C O6THI 7 0 I 7 0 GATEWAY STAPLETON BRIGHTON BOULEVARD NORTHEAST DOWNTOWN WEST 38TH A VENUE WEST COLFAX/ WEST TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT DOWNTOWN JEFFERSON PARK/ HIGHLANDS NORTH I NDUSTRIAL ALAMEDA TOWN CENTER MORRISON ROAD SOUTH FEDERAL BOULEVARD SOUTH BROA DWAY GATES TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT CHERRY CREEK SOUTHEAST TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENTS HAMPDEN LOWRY EAST COLFAX (EAST OF COLORADO BLVD.) EAST COLFAX (WEST OF COLORADO BLVD.) Map Symbology City/County Boundary Areas of Change Areas of Stability Arterials

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 3 „ Green neighborhoods: a city in a park begins at home 41acityina parkbeginsathomeshould be developed to seek shared-use agreements and identify long-lead acquisition and redevelopment opportunities. Campuses could be acquired if their owners vacate. The Potential Campuses map shows potential opportunities to acquire new parkland, leveraging these shared-use agreements with area secondary schools and other institutions. Approximately 400 acres of parkland might be provided in the areas that have the most significant deficits in park acreage, and another 350 acres in areas that have less severe deficits or projected deficits based on Blueprint Denvers growth scenario. A total of 750 additional acres might be acquired through these partnerships. As areas of the city redevelop, opportunities will exist to provide public open space for areaPo tential Campuses

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greenneighborhoods:residents. It is essential that appropriate direction and incentives be provided to ensure that public open space is provided at a level commensurate with the service goal proposed above. Additionally, where large-scale redevelopment will be taking place, incentives should be offered to enable developers to bundleŽ public space parcels together to create larger park like spaces to meet needs for active recreation and community gathering.Recommendations for Equitable and Generous Park Land1. Bring areas of the city that are significantly below the desired acreage goal up to par within 10 years. 2.Plan for growth while addressing the uneven distribution of parkland. 3.Work with CPDA to ensure that redevelopment, especially within areas of change, provides neighborhood parkland at the recommended level of service. 4.Provide direction and incentives for developers to earmark sufficient open space to meet the performance goal. For large-scale redevelopment sites, the city should offer incentives to enable developers to bundleŽ public space parcels to create larger park like spaces for active recreation and community gathering. 5.Strengthen partnerships with DPS, private colleges and schools, and other institutions to seek shared-use agreements and identify long-lead acquisition and redevelopment opportunities. 6.Strengthen partnerships with non-profits, such as Groundwork Denver, Earthforce, Denver Urban Gardens, that are working to increase types and availability of open space 7. Strengthen relationships with potential funding partners, such as Great Outdoors Colorado and foundations. NATURAL OPEN SPACEVisionA City in a Park provides accessible natural open space at the neighborhood scale and beyond, creating opportunities for residents to observe wildlife from a safe distance, while sheltering urban wildlife and allowing movement along migration routes.V aluesNearly 90 percent of respondents to the Game Plan survey agreed that natural open space makes a major or moderate contribution to the citys quality of life. Three quarters say that acquiring additional natural open space is a major or moderate priority, and this was one of42 Crofton students ideal schoolyard

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the three items residents valued most as part of future expansion of the system. Residents view natural open space close to homeŽ as particularly desirable. But residents add that DPR could do a much better job of providing natural areas. Only 46 percent rated DPRs performance as excellent or good. Since its inception in 1995, the citys Natural Areas program has pioneered sustainable methods for restoration and management of urban open space, especially along waterways, but also within parks. The programs focus on restoration and sustainable landscape management can create natural open space, even in small spaces within the most urban neighborhoods. F or example, aboveground channels that support wildlife habitat can be used to convey storm water runoff in place of conventional underground pipes. Planting native trees, grasses, and wildflowers within parks also creates wildlife habitat.P erformance indicatorsF ew other cities have goals for natural open space distinct from their parks systems, although Minneapolis and Oakland/East Bay identify significant natural open spaceŽ as an important amenity. Because opportunities for natural open space are to some degree dependent on the location of natural resources, performance goals that quantify acreage or sites are less meaningful than a statement of intent. It is clear, however, that more traditional parkland could be naturalized, replacing sod with more native and water conserving materials, to conserve water. The Game Plan therefore proposes the following performance goals for natural open space: Game Plan Natural Areas Pe rformance GoalsProvide significant natural area acreage in each quadrant of the city.Provide opportunities for natural open space close to various neighborhoods with appropriate natural resources.Encourage more natural open space in the design of new parks and the retrofitting of established parks. GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 3 „ Green neighborhoods: a city in a park begins at home 43acityina parkbeginsathomeR efuges from the city, within the city: Platte River Corridor and Heron Pond

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greenneighborhoods:How does the city measure up?Close to half of Denver residents „ 46 percent „ live within convenient walking distance to a natural open space area or greenway corridor. The city also provides large natural areas in each quadrant of the city, including Bluff Lake, parts of Bear Creek Park, and along the citys major drainage ways and gulches. Numerous parks, including Hentzel Park, Bible Park, and Babi Yar Park, have added natural areas without altering the character or function of core spaces.Recommendations for Natural Areas1. Amend the Natural Areas Strategic Plan to describe lands that could be designated as extensions of critical habitat areas or wildlife corridors. 2.Use the Natural Areas Strategic Plan to guide future acquisitions or designations. 3.Selectively transform portions of lands covered in the Strategic Plan to bring neighborhoods with limited access up to par. 4.Ensure that all new city parklands contain natural areas. 5.Work with golf courses to convert edges and other nonplayable areas to more native, water-wise landscapes. Note: Also see Chapter 5 (From Mountains to Plains) for some complementary recommendations. Y ucca plants in Lakewood Dry Gulch 44

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Beyond the neighborhood, the park system extends citywide to offer larger open spaces and facilities that serve many neighborhoods, such as playing fields, recreation centers, public pools, and golf courses. These facilities offer opportunities for team sports and pick-up games, as well as programs and services that enhance Denverites health, well-being, and quality of life. PLAYING FIELDSVisionA City in a Park provides playing fields for youth and adults to engage in organized and spontaneous team sports and active recreational activities.V aluesNearly half (49 percent) of city residents used playing fields in the past year, with one in five (20 percent) classified as frequent users (10 or more times in the past year), according to the Game Plan survey. Three out of four residents (75 percent) surveyed think places for active sports make a major or moderate contribution to the citys quality of life. Three out of four also are satisfied with the availability of playing fields. Some areas of the city, however, do not have adequate playing fields close to homes, and areas of change may have inadequate fields in the future.P erformance indicatorsNRPA recommends one baseball field for every 5,000 people and one soccer or multi use field for every 5,000 people. Game Plan Playing Field Pe rformance GoalsProvide one baseball or softball field for every 5,000 residents.Provide one soccer or multi use field for every 5,000 residents.How does the city measure up?As shown in the Softball/Baseball Fields and Soccer/Football/Multiuse Fields maps, the city provides 118 baseball or softball fields thatEarly Denver soccer team GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 3 „ Green neighborhoods: a city in a park begins at home 45acityina parkbeginsathome BU ILD I NG BL OC KS FOR CITYWIDE RECREATION

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greenneighborhoods:46 require permits for play „ approximately 1.4 fields for every 5,000 people, exceeding the NRPA guidelines. The city also provides a total of 135 permitted multi-use fields, meeting NRPA guidelines. Differences exist across the city, however, and some sports enthusiasts have indicated they need more fields for their games. The Southwest neighborhoods exceed the goal for baseball/softball facilities, but achieve only 60 percent of the recommended goal for multipurpose fields.. An estimated 11 additional multi use or soccer fields are required to achieve the recommended level of service. Soccer enthusiasts citywide have also argued that additional fields are needed to support the current volume of play. The city maintains 71 permitted playing fields, and an estimated 30Softball/Baseball Fields Futu re Larry Walker

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 3 „ Green neighborhoods: a city in a park begins at home 47acityina parkbeginsathometo 40 fields supporting regulation play might be necessary to satisfy the demand from adult and youth leagues. To continue the current level of service as the city grows, approximately 20 additional baseball and 34 additional soccer fields are expected to be needed by 2025. Projects planned for Lowry, Green Valley Ranch, and Stapleton will provide enough fields, but will not address the issue of equitable distribution. Opportunities to acquire new playing fields face the same challenges as those constraining acquisition of new parkland. Perhaps the best opportunity to expand playing field acreage is to forge partnerships with schools and college campuses for shared use of existing playing fields, and to work with potential regionalSoccer/Football/Multiuse Fields

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greenneighborhoods:partners to develop facilities that can serve a much larger market. Other opportunities may also exist in significant redevelopment parcels „ such as those that may be developed along the Platte River in the southwest area of the city „ to create larger playing field complexes serving broader segments of the city.Playing Field Recommendations1. Fo rge partnerships with schools and college campuses for shared use of playing fields. 2.Work with regional partners to develop facilities that can serve a much larger market. Sufficient land for larger playingfield complexes might exist in large redevelopment parcels, such as along the Platte River in the Southwest Denver. 3.Forge partnerships with leagues and other non-profits to leverage resources for fields and programs. 4.Use artificial turf alternatives to sod where possible for water conservation. 5.Improve the quality of current fields, such as drainage. Provide field down time. PUBLIC RECREATION PROGRAMSVisionPublic Recreation programs make a difference in the lives of people, visibly contributing to the physical, mental, and social health of Denverites. Programs and scheduling are responsive to the needs of all Denverites, but especially of youth and seniors. Recreation centers are the social hub for neighborhoods, hosting an array of activities and anticipating social leisure needs. Expanded recreation outside the center walls „ the after school programs, special needs, or partnerships with other providers „ such as the James P. Beckwourth Mt. Club or YMCA „ extends the reach of public recreation to new and emerging audiences. And new programs that provide recreational, cultural, and education opportunities throughout parks and trails broaden the very definition of recreation programs.V aluesThe Game Plan focused primarily on facility issues, rather than programming or fees for recreation. DPR continues to use and adapt a 1 995 Recreation Management Plan for administrative and program goals and the Game Plan offers primarily capital and policy Jackie Robinson Field at Lowry R elaxing at Congress Park Pool 48

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recommendations. Even so, the Game Plan process (public comments, informal recreation center user surveys, and interviews with recreation center directors) produced some strong recommendations for DPRs recreation services. The 2001 Game Plan Survey measured overall perceptions of Denverites regarding recreation programming and facilities; a special, informal survey was conducted of recreation users. Although both surveys showed overall satisfaction with Denvers programs, many people also expressed that there is room for improvement. In the Game Plan Survey 49% of the Denverites said that DPR does a goodŽ job of providing indoor recreation and fitness services while 22% gave the city an excellentŽ rating. In general forums, most Denver residents supported the special programs, such as cultural festivals and races that are held in parks (if the park is not totally used for these events, shutting out more casual use). They also consistently requested that more cultural, educational, and interpretive recreational programs be offered in the parks, making the parks come alive.Ž Recreation center staff, as well as the public, called for some administrative changes to strengthen communication and marketing, customer service, consistency across the system, and programs more responsive to the community.Recommendations for Public Recreation Programming1. Provide clear, consistent policies, fees, and programs across the city throughout recreation centers 2.Strengthen marketing of programs through diverse materials, media, and community outreach 3.Reach Denvers non-English speaking residents through bi-lingual materials, cultural programs, and more bi-lingual speaking staff. 4.Reach more people and create efficiencies through innovative partnerships with other recreation providers, such as the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Denver Public Schools, or the James P. Beckwourth Mt. Club, etc. 5.Regularly assess community needs through feedback such as community forums, surveys, etc. (See Chapter 8 for community engagement) 6.Improve customer service through regular staff training, accountability, and incentives. 7. Increase DPRs ability to provide more programs outside the wallsŽ „ Genesee Ropes Course GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 3 „ Green neighborhoods: a city in a park begins at home 49acityina parkbeginsathome

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greenneighborhoods:strengthening existing programs such as community recreation, outdoor recreation, special needs, and service based learning and expanding recreation programs to park based educational, cultural, and social programs. RECREATION FACILITIESVisionA City in a Park provides accessible and affordable basic recreation services „ those amenities and facilities most valued by residents „ within high-quality facilities that are cost-effective to operate. Programs and facilities are available regardless of ability to pay, although those who can afford to do pay.V aluesThe citys recreation centers and associated infrastructure have served residents for almost 40 years. Among the systems strengths are users who are very satisfied with programs and facilities; substantial agreement on serving a broad client base, especially youth and seniors; and experienced staff who know their communities. To meet 21st-century challenges, however, DPR needs to address numerous facility constraints, including aging and small facilities that are not cost-efficient to operate, facilities whose configurations make it difficult for staff to deliver desired programs, and an uneven distribution of facilities that leaves some areas without services.P erformance indicatorsIn Denver and nationwide, surveys of recreation center users and the general public suggest that a public recreation program should provide five basic services and associated physical facilities:A gymnasium (86 percent of surveyed residents rank as very important or important),A dedicated weight room and cardiovascular fitness area (81 percent),Dedicated aerobic dance space (79 percent),An indoor lap pool (76 percent), andFlexible multipurpose space that is adaptable to a variety of activities. According to national guidelines, communities of more than 25,000 should also provide 2.4 square feet of facility space per person, the amount needed to deliver all of these basic services while being cost-efficient for staff to operate and maintain. Safe pedestrian and transit access also are important, especially in meeting the needs of youth and seniors.Converted 20th Street Gym Community and Outdoor Recreation. 50

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Game Plan Recreation Program and Facilities Performance GoalsCity recreation centers should provide the foundation services at the following levels: aerobic dance: one per center cardio/weight room: one per center indoor pool: one for every 15,000 residents gymnasium: one for every 12,000 residents.Recreation centers should average 2.4 square feet per person, although this standard cannot be met in every city center given site and facility constraints. Between 10 and 25 percent of recreation center space should be flexible multi-purpose or support space.At least 75 percent of Denver residents must have safe pedestrian or transit access to a recreation center.How does the city measure up?Denver maintains 29 recreation centers with a total of 472,132 square feet of facility space. The average center size is 16,280 square feet. Fifty-two percent of centers offer less than 1 5,000 square feet. Most centers were built in the 1960s and 1970s to serve their immediate neighborhoods and have continued to respond to neighborhood needs and preferences. This community base is a great strength of the system. At the same time, some facilities, especially smaller recreation centers, have aged in place without major expansions or upgrades, and have not be able to keep up with changes in recreation and leisure trends. Many centers are too small or poorly configured to deliver a full range of services. Equipment is well-lovedŽ or worn out. Some neighborhoods are not served at all. In others, safe access is an issue. DPR studied major arterial streets and transit routes to identify barriers and opportunities for access to recreation centers. These routes define 24 recreation service areas where residents have suitable access. Using these measures, approximately three out of four (76 percent) of the citys residents have safe walkable routes or transit access to a center, which meets the desired goal. GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 3 „ Green neighborhoods: a city in a park begins at home 51acityina parkbeginsathome

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R ecreation center leagues 52 Major areas lacking public recreation center coverage or walkable access, such as Southeast Denver, Southwest Denver and East-central Denver,1are illustrated in the Recreation Center Service Areas map. Even though it meets the access goal, the city has difficulty meeting the desired squarefootage standard. If all neighborhoods are counted, including those that have no center, the city provides .7 square feet per person, compared to the desired standard of 2.4 square feet. Excluding unserved areas, the city provides 1.7 square feet per person, or 70 percent of the goal. Areas most challenged include Sun Valley, Highland/West Highland, Marston, University Hills, Virginia Village, and East Colfax.Recreation Center Service Areas greenneighborhoods:

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Davis Recreation Center staff GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 3 „ Green neighborhoods: a city in a park begins at home 53acityina parkbeginsathomeThe Areas of Recreation Facility Need map considers overall facilities and resources, combining goals for square footage and basic amenities. City neighborhoods are divided into four groups that:meet or exceed goals;provide adequate square footage but need modifications to provide desired services;lack adequate square footage and desired services; orhave no recreation resources. W ithin this framework, areas that fall short include Southwest and Southeast Denver and the East-central city. These areas either have no facility, or their facility lacks both square footage and dedicated space for the four core activities.Areas of Recreation Facility Need

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greenneighborhoods:Growth will add still more pressure. Within the major downtown neighborhoods, five recreation centers offer significant access and meet the goal of 2.4 square feet per person. Wi th a projected population increase of 40,000, however, downtown neighborhoods could support two more centers. Other areas where growth may tax the system are Southeast, University Hills, and South Broadway.Recommendations for Recreation Centers1. Analyze current centers, sites, and neighborhoods on the basis of equity criteria „ basic standards, demand, existing conditions, site availability, alternative providers, access and possible partnerships. 2.Create a long-range plan for specific sites that addresses inequities and expanding services to meet minimum standards by 2003. 3.Ensure this plan also addresses projected growth, especially in areas now unserved or underserved. 4.Create priorities for capital investments to address equity issues and meet the needs of youth and seniors. 5.To help set priorities, develop a facilitiesresource allocation model based on demand for programs and supply of facilities. 6.Focus major capital expansions on highdemand neighborhoods that are unserved. C OMMUNITY SCALE RECREATION AMENITIESVisionA City in a Park has special recreation facilities and amenities logically located across the city to serve growing sport needs, from in-line hockey and dogs playing off leash to indoor soccer. It also has DPR working closely with private providers and other municipalities to ensure that emerging sports have a home when the demand warrants it.V aluesDenvers parks and recreation facilities are a land bank, with DPR constantly looking for ways (the appropriate places and funding) to accommodate new community level activities. Thats difficult in a park system that is primarily built and in a city that has a highly competitive demand for capital funds. Although Game Plan priorities clearly are to upgrade neighborhoods that lack core park and recreation resources, such as trees or neighborhood parks, DPR needs to continue building the specialized community level amenities in demand when financiallyT ennis lesson at Wash Park 54

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possible. These larger, community amenities, too, often lend themselves to a public/private partnership or inter-jurisdictional partnership. Through out the Game Plan public process and over the past few years, a number of substantially sized user advocacy groups and emerging youth leagues requested that DPR respond to the needs of in-line skaters and hockey players, dogs exercising off-leash, and disc golf. When asked in the Game Plan Survey 2001 what they thought of dogs off leash, a large majority (77%) supported both the option of fenced and unfenced dog off leash areas. Most Denverites also support enforcing the leash law in all other park areas. Other requests with a less broad-based advocacy include indoor soccer facilities, ice rink, equestrian trails, bicycle track, dirt bike areas, and model airplane fields. And, since recreation trends evolve making it impossible to predict what people will be doing in the future, perhaps most important is a DPR process and policy that welcomes and responds to new needs.P erformance MeasurementsF or what could be a one of a kind placeŽ or reuse of existing facilities for a new sport, quantitative performance measurements make little sense. What can be more easily measured are DPRs policies and on-going efforts: to keep a data base of current uses in facilities, to have a flexible and open approach to partnerships and possible accommodation of sports in multi-use areas, and to keep abreast of recreation and community assessment. T wo, less capital intensive, uses were identified as meeting these criteria and are to be implemented immediately: dog off leash areas and disc golf. Game Plan Community Scale Recreation Amenity Performance GoalsImmediately implement plans for dog off leash areas and disc golf.Produce yearly recreation trend report for the department.Conduct regular community needs assessments.}How does the city measure up?In terms of facilities, Denver is the one of the few cities in the metropolitan area to not accommodate dog owners exercising their pets off-leash or disc golf players, two of the largest advocacy groups. Private providers offerFt. Collins off-leash dog area Sloans Lake Dragon Boaters GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 3 „ Green neighborhoods: a city in a park begins at home 55acityina parkbeginsathome

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greenneighborhoods:facilities for indoor ice rinks, indoor inline skating, and other indoor sports (tennis, racquet ball, etc.) but no public indoor facilities exist. DPR currently is working on working on Phase II of its Skate Park, adjacent to Commons P ark and the largest skate park in the country. But no smaller facilities exist. P eople may no longer trot their horses in Cheesman Park, but the Urban Farm, located on Sand Creek in east Denver, provides equestrian and farm activities and Sand Creek Tr ail will accommodate equestrians.Community Scale Recreation Amenities Recommendations1. Create a set of criteria and guidelines for deciding appropriate uses and changes in existing urban and mountain parks. 2.Create specific criteria and a city-wide management plan for dog off leash areas, with one area per quadrant of the city. Pilot one area by 2003. 3.Pilot test one disc golf area in a currently underutilized, existing park 4.Study the use patterns in current, potentially underutilized facilities such as tennis courts, horseshoe pits, etc. for their reuse or removal. 5.Work closely with both Stapleton and Lowry redevelopment agencies for potential locations for the special facilities. 6.Analyze existing parks for potential sites for new facilities, such small skate park facilities. 7. Pursue potential public/private partnerships for special large scale facilities. DENVER MUNICIPAL GOLF C OURSESVisionMore and more urban kids (including a fair share of girls) learn at a young age to play golf at Denvers close to home, high quality municipal courses. The courses themselves are models of green infrastructureŽ „ storing and cleaning water on site in wetlands, reducing the need for pesticides and fertilizers, and conserving water as they become courses that offer both an oasis in the city while celebrating the Colorado high plains.V aluesDenver has 942 acres spread over seven municipal golf courses, providing over 400,000 rounds of golf in 2001. Fees at the end of 2002, averaged $22 a round, the lowest in the metropolitan area.2One course even is in Skate Park 56

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Evergreen and an eighth course is planned for Stapleton. As an enterprise fund, the municipal golf courses are a departure from the rest of the park system, with all operating and capital needs to be covered by revenues generated. The demand for public, moderately priced golf facilities has grown steadily since the first course, Overland Park golf Club was organized in 1892. The courses themselves function as a park land bank, visual open space, and wildlife refuge as well as a playing course. The issues facing municipal golf courses are similar to other components in the DPR system. Like the concessionaires and non-profit partners who manage other city-owned resources (such as historic mountain park structures), golf course managers must run solid businesses that ensure that the physical resource is well cared for, provide a public service, and generate a profit. Difficulties arise when deferred and basic capital repairs are expected to be covered by operating revenues. If the physical resource begins in excellent shape, Denvers municipal golf courses are financially sustainable. That is less true environmentally. As the major water, fertilizer, and pesticide consumer in the park system, Denvers municipal golf courses have dramatic untapped potential to lead in the conservation and improvement of natural resources, especially water. Golf is a competitive business, with current lush courses that dependent upon generous irrigation. Photo: historic golfers As public sentiment, management, and design of Denvers parks shift towards sage greenŽ and water conserving measures, Denvers golf courses (both municipal and private) will need to adapt, too. As an enterprise fund dependent upon satisfied golfers and revenues, responding to drought and conserving natural resources will require a complex, city-wide plan and a package of innovative funding to make major physical changes to courses to municipal courses.Golf Recommendations1. Ensure the continued quality and on-going repair of the citys golf courses through appropriate and adequate city capital contributions and well-monitored concessionaire contracts. (See Chapter 9 also for concessionaire recommendations) 2.Strengthen Denver Golfs service based learning and golf programs through partnerships with Recreation Division, DPS and other organizations. Denver Golf reaches hundreds of Denver youth through its Junior Golf and Girls in Golf programs. Its First T eeŽ program (the first in the state to receive national designation) uses the game of golf to teach inner city youth life skills. Kids learn to play and repair clubs the same day! GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 3 „ Green neighborhoods: a city in a park begins at home 57acityina parkbeginsathome

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3.Implement a comprehensive natural resource program for all of Denvers municipal golf courses, specifically to:Integrate municipal golf courses into the metropolitan drought plan that addresses economic and business implications, marketing and public response, as well as natural resource conservation.Help educate the public and golfers about landscape alternatives, drought realities, and natural resource conservation.Implement, over time, course renovations and management techniques that increase water conservation, on-site wetlands and retention of storm water, and decreased fertilizer use.Ensure that the new golf course at Stapleton is a bioregional model,Ž using best management practices for golf course design and water conservation and incorporating the native high plains landscape.FOOTNOTES1 In the Southeast, the YMCA or Jewish Community Center operate other full-service recreation facilities that could address some of these needs. 2 Other municipalities have slightly higher fees. Private golf course fees can vary from $35 to $120 for a game. When Willis Golf Course was built in 1902, the course had sand greens, cut weeds, and no turf. Even the weeds were so sparse that golfers could move a ball two club lengths without penalty to reach the nearest spot of green. 58

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A connected city:links between civic space and neighborhoodsAs Denver becomes a City in a Park,stronger connections are crucial. This chapter discussesThis chapter discusses recommendations for improving the physical links that connect a City in a Park„ between our civic spaces and neighborhoods; among public spaces in downtown Denver; and via urban waterways to greenways and open space. Chapter 4

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aco nnectedcity:A City in a Park creates new links between neighborhoods and a strong urban core. With improved connections between Civic Center and the 16th Street Mall, and between the Auraria Campus and the Denver Center for the P erforming Arts, Downtown truly becomes the citys civic heart.Ž Green streets offer shady, pedestrian-friendly connections among neighborhood parks, schools, recreation centers, waterways, and downtown. Off-street trails and connections fill in gaps in the current trails system. Along Cherry Creek, the Platte, Sand Creek, and the West Side gulches, new parks and trail links provide recreation and access. Restored natural open space becomes a haven for urban wildlife. People are able to cross road, rails, and rivers to cross the city on bike and by foot.VisionA City in a Park features a vital Downtown, with attractive, pedestrian-friendly, complementary connections to public and private open spaces.V aluesDowntown means many things to Denver residents„a special outing on the 16th Street Mall, a sporting event at the Pepsi Center, a stroll along the river through Confluence Park, visits to the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and a schoolchilds first visit to the State Capitol Building. Increasingly, it also means home to residents who have revitalized Downtown and Lower Downtown into bustling urban neighborhoods. All of this activity is occurring within approximately one square mile area„ bounded by I-25 to the west, Colfax to the south, Logan to the east, and Park Avenue to the north„that embraces both Cherry Creek and the Platte.19th century pedestrian bridge Good places tend to be all of a piece„and the reason can almost always be traced to a human being.Ž W illiam H. Whyte60 C ONNECTING ALL OUR PARKS AND OPEN SPACES DENVERS DOWNTOWN: A VITAL CIVIC HEART

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 4 „ A connected city: links between civic space and neighborhoods 61linksbetweencivicspaceandneighborhoodsThe 1986 Downtown Area Plan established a compelling vision of economic vitality, cultural leadership, design excellence, and places for people to live and play that still guides development. Included within that vision are ideas for revitalizing downtown, such as:a focused center and urban core,varied public open spaces, from streets to parks to cultural attractions,a place where people live, anda place of easy movement, with strong pedestrian and auto connections between destinations. Game Plan public open houses underscored support for these ideas and others presented in the 1986 plan. Though much work remains to be done, many of the plans ideas have been realized, such as opening access toDowntown Denver Civic Center event

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aco nnectedcity:Cherry Creek and constructing Commons Park. Others, like extending the 16th Street Mall and revitalizing Skyline Park, are in progress.P erformance indicatorsThe 1986 Plan still provides the strongest guidance in setting qualitative performance expectations for the citys urban core. Game Plan Downtown Core Pe rformance Goals:Develop downtown as connected system of public open space, with strong physical links between activity nodes.Provide a wide range of public spaces that vary in character and scale, from grand traditional parks to urban hardscaped plazas.Provide varied programming for these downtown spaces to attract activity and use.Provide strong, accessible pedestrian connections between downtown public spaces and provide links to transit facilities.Provide for parks and recreation amenities at the service levels described above, to meet the growing needs of downtown residents.How does the City measure up? Significant steps toward these goals have been taken during the past decade, with the completion of Commons Park and the revitalization of the 16th Mall. These actions have done much to strengthen the physical form of downtown as an east-west urban spine connecting grand and formal city parks. Wo rk remains to be done, however, in developing strong north-south green connections that would link the city core to major civic institutions south of Cherry Creek, such as the Auraria Campus, and to the cultural attractions in Five Points to the north. To address the need for north-south connections, the Game Plan has proposed a long range connection between Auraria Campus and the Denver Center for the P erforming Arts, creating a land bridgeŽ over Speer Boulevard that could provide both a connection and XX additional acres of downtown green space. While technically feasible, such a land bridge would likely need to be undertaken in concert with new, moderate density development to share costs. 16th Stree Mall is a public/private urban park 16th Street Mall extension to Millenium Bridge 62

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 4 „ A connected city: links between civic space and neighborhoods 63linksbetweencivicspaceandneighborhoodsP edestrian connections between downtown and surrounding neighborhoods are also in need of strengthening. Figure X shows areas in which such connections could potentially prove beneficial, given the volumes of pedestrian traffic between destinations. One significant area is the connection between the Denver Art Museum and Public Library (and emerging Golden Triangle neighborhood to the south), and Civic Center. Bannock Street would provide a logical connection point across Broadway; a variety of traffic calming and physical improvements should be investigated in concert with the Pedestrian Master Plan undertaken by Public Works. Finally, the emergence of downtown neighborhoods will have a huge effect on parks and recreation. About 4,200 people live in Denvers downtown core, including the Central Business District and Lower Downtown and are served well by open space. By 2025,Proposed land bridge over Speer Boulevard, connecting Auraria campus to Downtown

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aco nnectedcity:Blueprint Denver estimates that the permanent downtown residential population will grow to 40,000 people. At current service standards as described in Chapter 3, this implies a need for an additional 30 to 40 acres of parkland and open space downtown. These acres should ideally encompass the same wide variety of public spaces as described in the green neighborhoods section of Chapter 3: playgrounds and tot lots may be needed near residential areas to accommodate young families; urban squares may be provided in the highest density areas to accommodate gathering; and larger patches of green like the Auraria land bridgeŽ may accommodate larger civic festivals. As Union Station is transformed into a multimodal transit hub, the thousands of people passing through would use plaza space connecting them to downtown. Finally, business consortia such as Denver Civic Ve ntures, the Downtown Denver Partnership, and educational institutions must have a strong voice in the future development of downtown core proposals as presented in the Game Plan Representatives of these organizations should be important contributors to strategic and physical plans that may follow from the Plan, and should be necessary partners in implementation.Recommendations for Denvers Downtown1.Develop a strategic master plan for downtown neighborhoods using the projected 2020 population figures. Address connections as well as projected needs for public open space. 2.Strengthen pedestrian connections between Civic Center and 16th Street Mall. 3.Improve the pedestrian connection across Colfax Avenue at Bannock with an at-grade or grade-separated crossing. 4.Connect Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) to Auraria Campus with an atgrade connection across Speer. This continuous park space will unite the campus with Downtown and create a large gathering space to augment Civic Center P ark. Nearby parking at the Auraria Campus and easy shuttle service to the Mile High and Pepsi Center lots, as well as current and proposed light rail, make this venue attractive. 5.Within the framework of the 1986 plan, identify opportunities for new and enhanced open spaces. 6.Improve connections from the west edge of the Golden Triangle to Civic Center 7. Encourage a vibrant street life downtown through a market district, festivals, street activities.Pr oposed improvements to Bannock, linkingCivic Center to the City & County Building 64

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VisionA City in a Park envisions continuous, safe, and accessible sidewalks and other pedestrian connections among Denver neighborhoods for people of all ages and abilities, using a range of transportation options.V aluesThe citys infrastructure is designed to convey people and goods. These roadways, rail lines, waterways, and ditches also can create barriers between neighborhoods and local park and recreation facilities. Our parks and trails are great, but we cant get thereŽ was a common refrain at public open houses. Some Northwest Denver neighborhoods are blessed with an abundance of parks, but busy arterial streets such as Federal Boulevard create perceived barriers to access. In areas like Globeville, parents say that rail lines and truck routes prevent their children from visiting parks and recreation facilities on foot, without an adult accompanying them to ensure that they cross safely. With many parents working long hours, children rarely may get to use the parks. Many children also believe that access to neighborhood parks is dangerous. Almost 40 percent of Denver residents said that improving connections and access were priorities. Citizens most often mentioned these elements as missed opportunities or must dosŽ within expansion plans.P erformance indicators:The Game Plan has adopted the following qualitative performance goals: Game Plan Green Connections Pe rformance Goals:Provide continuous, safe connections on at least one side of each designated street, connecting parks to schools, recreation centers, and neighborhood centers.Improve the safety of pedestrian crossings at arterials and other heavily trafficked streets with pedestrian-activated stop lights and traffic-calming measures. GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 4 „ A connected city: links between civic space and neighborhoods 65linksbetweencivicspaceandneighborhoods A SYSTEM OF ON STREET GREEN CONNECTIONS

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aco nnectedcity:Ensure universal access.Provide continuous sidewalks that conform to city standards (from 5 to 10 feet in residential neighborhoods; at least 10 feet in  main streetŽ mixed-use retail areas).Install a detached sidewalk with tree lawn where feasible; tree lawns should be at least 8 feet wide .Provide dedicated bike lanes where feasible.How does the City measure up?The citys parkway system (map on opposite page) provides a model for a broader system of green connections. By design, most parkways are relatively pedestrian friendly, with wide tree lawns separating sidewalks from the street, as shown in the tree lawnŽ photo. But as the map shows, the parkway system is limited to certain geographic areas of the city. W ith retrofitting, many residential streets could complement the parkway system and begin to knit the city together with visual and pedestrian access. The green streetsŽ sketch shows opportunities for strengthening and expanding green connections by linking schools and parks to proposed breathing spaces and other neighborhood amenities1. These proposed green streets would be different from other city streets in three ways:The width and continuity of tree lawns, as well as the tree species that are planted;The width and continuity of sidewalks; andThe spacing of street trees and possibly tree species. This differentiation would allow the green streets to be identified as a system, providing both visual and physical links to important civic spaces. Current streetscape standards offer a foundation for creating this system of green connections. The Game Plan adopts these standards, but acknowledges that existing conditions in some neighborhoods may make these standards difficult to achieve without incurring significant expense, or without significant acquisition of new rights-of-way. F or example, post-World War II neighborhoods often lack or feature sidewalks that do not meet city standards. Other neighborhoods exhibit wide variations in sidewalk sections from block to block. These areas will be more challenging and expensive to retrofit. More detailed study and adaptation of these standards should be completed through aGreen StreetŽ: trees from home to park to school Denvers tree-lined sidewalks 66

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 4 „ A connected city: links between civic space and neighborhoods 67linksbetweencivicspaceandneighborhoodsExisting Parkways

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aco nnectedcity:citywide Pedestrian Master Plan, as directed by Blueprint Denver The Game Plan endorses Blueprint Denver recommendations for improving crossings at major arterial streets viewed by residents as safety hazards. Some improvements the city should consider are pedestrian-activated traffic lights or traffic-calmingŽ devices. The neighborhood planning process can help identify areas of greatest concern.Recommendations for On Street Green Connections1.Continue to work with Public Works to develop the Pedestrian Master Plan, intended to document conditions, refine guidelines, create standards and prototypes for retrofitting neighborhoods, as well as a schedule and cost estimates for improvements. 2.Revise the citys streetscape design manual on the basis of the Pedestrian Master Plan. Reissue as a joint document adopted by DPR, CPD and Public Works. 3.Address impacts of curb cuts and driveway aprons on tree lawns and sidewalks, and revise guidelines for these features so as to facilitate continuity in green space and promote pedestrian safety. 4.Create priorities for improvements, beginning with neighborhoods most in need. 5.Ensure that Green Streets meet the T ransportation Standards and Policy document.VisionOff-street trails provide access to regional and citywide trails and paths that connect neighborhoods to each other and the city to the region.V aluesCitizens frustrations about poor connections are nearly universal in Denver. Residents at public forums requested more recreational trails like the Highline Canal and Cherry Creek T rail to connect parks and create longer cycling or walking loops. Others mentioned the value of bridging barriers like the Platte, I-25, or Cherry Creek.Union Depot as multi-modal transit hubEast section of Proposed Greenstreets Map 68 CITYWIDE AND REGIONAL TRAIL CONNECTIONS

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 4 „ A connected city: links between civic space and neighborhoods 69linksbetweencivicspaceandneighborhoodsProposed Greenstreets For larger Section Maps, see the Appendix.

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aco nnectedcity:Opportunities for creating major new off street connectors within the city are, again, limited by development. Missing links, however, can be mended and safe access from each neighborhood to these major trails, can be facilitated.P erformance indicatorsThe Game Plan has established the following qualitative performance goals for off street connections: Game Plan Off-street Connections P erformance GoalsProvide safe access to off street trails, ideally no more than one half mile to a mile from major residential nodes.Complete missing linksŽ in the off street trails system to improve connections.Ensure that links are strengthened to major regional and metro wide trails systems.How does the city measure up?The Urban Trail map illustrates the current system of off-street trails, encompassing 51 miles of primarily paved pathways that form a web through the city. An important regional link, the High Line Canal Trail, spans another 110 miles. Other major links include the Sand Creek Greenway from Aurora through Denver to Commerce City, and the Clear Creek and Bear Creek trails. W ithin this generally strong network, the Bicycle Master Plan noted gaps such as missing or unsafe segments through Denver, and the Clear Creek and Bear Creek trails to Northwest and Southwest Denver, which should connect to the mountain parks. Drainageways to the west with unsafe sections include: Weir Gulch, Sanderson Gulch, Lakewood Dry Gulch, the W estwood Trail, far Southwest and Southeast Denver through Goldsmith Gulch, and connections between the developing Lowry and Stapleton areas. The Game Plan also proposes major street level and grade-separated crossings along I-25, Cherry Creek, and the Platte. These may connect neighborhoods and proposed transitoriented developments to urban waterways and parks. Some connections may themselves function as parks, similar to Seattles Freeway P ark, built on a large platform over I-5. Bridges and other crossingŽ structures can feature distinctive designs.Northwest and Northeast sections of Pr oposed Greenstreets Map 70

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Recommendations for Off-Street Trail Connections1.Improve off-street connections through drainageways and gulches, possibly including the following:Clear Creek trail linking Denver to mountain parkland,Lakewood Gulch off-street trail connection to Martinez Park,off-street connections for the Weir Gulch corridor, andSanderson Gulch connection between Lipan Street and the Platte River Trail. 2.In heavily used areas, consider separate paths for cyclists and pedestrians. 3.Plan for future trends, especially those aimed at mitigating accessibility issues. For example, identify areas where assisted devices such as electric bikes may be appropriate. 4.Study utility easements for potential trail connections, for example at Westwood P ark to the Westwood Trail and the extension of the Westwood Trail east of F ederal Boulevard to Zuni. 5.Define a range of trail types for different conditions, from 10-foot-wide hard-surface paths for heavily traveled urban areas, to narrower, soft-surface paths for more natural settings. 6.Improve linkages of far Southwest neighborhoods by acquiring privately owned rights-of-way identified in the Bicycle Master Plan. 7. Extend Wagon Trail with a connection around Marston Lake. 8.Link far Southeast neighborhoods through Hutchinson Park East and Goldsmith Gulch. 9.Improve links between Lowry and Stapleton with better on-street bicycle routes on Syracuse and Yosemite streets and by developing Westerly Creek Trail. 10.Preserve rights-of-way along the First Creek and Second Creek drainage corridors, and construct these trails through the Gateway area. 11.Improve the Platte River pedestrian and bicycle crossings in the following locations:link potential Evans transit-oriented development (TOD) across the Platte at Evans or Iliff. Iliff would provide a continuous connection, from Harvard Gulch through Rosedale Parks to Grant Frontier Park, to potential new communityscale parks on the west edge of the Platte.link Valverde to Baker neighborhoods and the north edge of the proposed Gates transit-oriented development.provide continuous connections through W eir Gulch. Southwest and Southeast sections of Pr oposed Greenstreets Map GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 4 „ A connected city: links between civic space and neighborhoods 71linksbetweencivicspaceandneighborhoods

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21st century off-streetŽ trails, such as the Platte River and Cherry Creek, have 1,000s of users daily 72 link 13th Avenue and Lakewood Dry Gulch across the Platte for an eventual greenstreet connection to Lincoln Park.link the 16th Street Mall extension across the Platte and I-25 via the Millenium Bridge and two other bridges planned.link the citys west and east sides immediately south of Cuernavaca Park.U rban Trailsaco nnectedcity:

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VisionW ith Downtown as the citys heart, a City in a P ark envisions Denvers urban waterways as a circulatory system, with corridors for wildlife and people that link the city to the region. W aterways also function as natural treatment systems to cleanse polluted stormwater runoff, while providing access to recreation.V aluesThrough the Game Plan survey and open houses, city residents voiced their desire for diverse recreational experiences, passive as well as active, along Denvers waterways. Many voiced support for new opportunities to recreate in the water, including canoeing and kayaking. Residents are also seeking green connections to the waters edge, safe crossings over waterways, new parkway connections next to the water, especially along the Platte at South Platte River Drive, and more opportunities to learn about water quality, native landscapes, and wildlife. Both natural areas and active parks supporting recreation are desired.P erformance indicatorsThe Game Plan has established the following qualitative performance goals for off street connections: Game Plan Urban Waterway P erformance GoalsEnsure safe access to our urban waterways from major residential nodes.Expand natural open space along the Platte, Cherry Creek and the gulches, improving habitat for urban wildlife.Increase the number and range of parks along the waterways, including some larger parks that can support active recreation.Ensure safe pedestrian and bicycle connections across these waterways, to link major recreational areas with activity nodes and transit stops.Boating at Confluence Park GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 4 „ A connected city: links between civic space and neighborhoods 73linksbetweencivicspaceandneighborhoods HEALTHY AND ACCESSIBLE URBAN WATERWAYS

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74 CHERRYCREEKCL EARCREEKPLATTERIVERHIGHLIN ECANALH IGHL IN ECANA LPLATTERIVE R Parks in Other Muncipalities Denver Parks Denver Parks Under Development WaterwaysLEGENDParks Along Urban Waterways Parks Along Urban Waterwaysaco nnectedcity:

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 4 „ A connected city: links between civic space and neighborhoods 75linksbetweencivicspaceandneighborhoodsImprove water quality and aquatic habitat.Increase opportunities for on-water recreation.Ensure continuity of trail connections along major waterway trunk routes and branches.How does the city measure up?The Game Plans vision for urban waterways embraces many individual master plans for specific waterway segments, including the Platte, Cherry Creek, Westerly Creek, Sand Creek, and Sanderson and Lakewood Dry Gulch. To ensure these plans reinforce each other, DPRs main recommendations are synthesized below and form the context for aSouth Platte Park of the Future

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larger waterways framework plan that DPR should develop following the Game Plan .Recommendations for Urban Waterways1.Create a framework plan for urban waterways that synthesizes recommendations from the individual master plans into guidelines for waterway acquisition, restoration, park redevelopment, wildlife and human-use management, and water-quality objectives and best management practices. 2.Identify potential new parkway accesses along major waterways, including for an extended system. Both Cherry Creek Drive and Platte River Drive could be enhanced to provide more of a parkway-like experience. 3.Identify opportunities to acquire and bank land for large parks along the Platte. Examples include obsolete industrial or educational campuses or brownfields that could be reclaimed, such as the General Chemical site. Areas with significant natural landforms, like the Bluffs, might suggest interesting sites for parks, in keeping with city tradition. Large park sites should include a variety of experiences, landscapes, and opportunities for interpretation. 4.Identify opportunities to expand parkland and natural open space along the West Side gulches. 5.Implement the Cherry Creek Master Plans recommendations for parks, natural areas, and connections. Identify opportunities to acquire and bank land for new parks along Cherry Creek. 6.Refine criteria for parcel acquisition to evaluate whether parcels contribute to urban waterway goals and visions. (see sidebar for parcel acquisition criteria) 7. Develop a recreation management plan for urban waterways that addresses appropriate uses, significance as habitat, and water quality. P P r r e e l l i i m m i i n n a a r r y y A A s s s s e e s s s s m m e e n n t t C C r r i i t t e e r r i i a a f f o o r r P P a a r r c c e e l l A A c c q q u u i i s s i i t t i i o o n nOpportunity for direct visual or physical link to a waterwayOpportunity to create a large parcel (30-400 acres) that can support a community parkLinkages to proposed transit, light r ail stops, Transit Oriented DevelopmentP otential to serve priority neighborhoods in needBrownfield site or low valueadded from current use76

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mountains to plains:a city in a park extends throughout the regionA revitalized natural open-space system stretchesfrom the mountain parks west of Denver to the prairies in the east, a result of extensive cooperation among governments throughout the region. Trails along waterways and gulches connect the entire system. Natural and cultural areas and facilities are preserved, restored, and celebrated. This chapter presents a discussion and recommendations for a regional approach that encompasses Denvers mountain parks and prairie landscapes. Chapter 5

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regionalcontext:Denvers urban natural areas are an important part of our parks and recreation system, but they also form the center of a regional system that extends from mountains to plains. Denvers parks and natural areas embrace many kinds of landscapes and sites, from Summit Lake atop Mount Evans to remnant sand hills at the former Stapleton Airport. Prairies and mountain parks are the bookendsŽ of Denvers park system, embracing five ecosystems across 100 miles. These mostly natural landscapes also contain rich cultural features, such as the historic buildings and sites in the mountain parks. This dramatic range of resources extends the City in a Park well beyond city limits. As the Front Range population nears 3 million, Denvers role as the hub in a regional system of trails, natural areas, and mountain parks becomes more complex and important. The Game Plan poses three broad ideas to link resources into a regional system: regional connections, a regional approach to natural areas and wildlife, and a contemporary vision for Denver mountain parks. Green streets guide people from their front door to the neighborhood park. Regional trails, often paralleling waterways in a way that protects wildlife habitat, can connect people to the rest of the Front Range. The potential exists for hundreds of miles of regional trails. If developed as a regional parkway, even E-470 could become as a recreational amenity.Regional Connection Recommendations1.Strengthen regional planning and preservation efforts in the following ways:Refine criteria for protection and use of regional open space.Develop management guidelines to minimize the impacts of public access. Arizona fescue at Commons Park Looking north over Red Rocks, present 78 FRONT RANGE CONNECTIONS REGIONAL CONNECTIONS

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 5 „ R egional context: from mountains to plains 79frommountainstoplainsRegional trails

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regionalcontext:Identify priority corridors and areas needing protection or preservation, including:the Cherry Creek CorridorFirst, Second, Third CreeksW esterly CreekEastern drainage ways connecting Aurora Reservoir with Rocky Mountain ArsenalAdditional open-space lands that connect mountain open spaces, creating a cohesive system and opportunities for regional trails (See Mountain Park Recreation Management Plan in Appendix for details). 2.Develop a comprehensive regional trail system.Complete the Clear Creek segment connection through Northwest Denver.Identify potential regional trail corridors that could be developed collaboratively with Jefferson, Douglas, Adams, Boulder, and Arapaho counties.Create a prairie hiking/cycling loop, linking the eastern edge of Highline Canal to Aurora Reservoir and the Plains Conservation Center, eventually connecting to Sand Creek Greenway.Wo rk with Jefferson County to complete Bear Creek Trail, linking Jefferson County Open Space parks (Bear Creek, Mt. Falcon, Lair O the Bear) to Denver Mountain Parks (Little, O Fallon) and west to Echo Lake. Denver residents want more bits of wildernessŽ close to home, expanding the current remnants of the originalŽ Denver „ the existing 2,500+ acres of high plains, rivers, creeks, willows and sage, and prairie meadows within the city. Like people in other cities, Denverites are beginning to define public  parksŽ differently, no longer regarding remnant natural areas as left-behind, cast off lands, but as important enriching places for people and wildlife. As Denver becomes a City in a Park, the traditional dark green of formal spaces with street trees and bluegrass lawns should extend to include the sage greens of the high plains. Thriving restored native areas benefit our parks and opens spaces and are: W ildlife can mean small wildlife, such as this Monarch butterfly 80 REGIONAL NATURAL SYSTEMS AND WILDLIFE

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valued by people of Denver as wildlife habitat, for wildlife viewing, and as a quiet place for retreat.help conserve precious resources, requiring less water, for example.support long-term environmental and human health (native landscapes require little or no pesticides or herbicides, and help clean pollutants from storm water runoff).promote a richer variety of urban wildlife, including birds and butterflies.give people an opportunity to experience the regions original high plains and foothills landscapes.help support a sustainable park and recreation system through cost savings.increase adjacent land values. In the 2001 Game Plan Survey 46 percent of respondents rated the citys provision of habitat areas for wildlife as fair or poor. Yet when asked how important it was for the city to acquire land for more conservation areas and wildlife habitat, more respondents (53 percent) chose this over 12 other choices. (Improving overall maintenance of existing parks and facilities in the city and in the mountains headed the list, with close to 90 percent of all respondents considering that a major or moderate priority.) Almost eight out of 10 people (80 percent of respondents) considered acquiring natural areas either a major or moderate priority. And when asked to develop priorities for DPRs budget, survey respondents said a top priority was acquiring land for conservation areas. The Front Ranges trails and other natural resources continue past city limits. Flood control, water-quality protection, and water supplies are all managed at a watershed level, and Denver communities are connected by drainage ways and constructed ditches. Noxious weeds, diseases of forest trees, and wildfires recognize no boundaries. The metropolitan areas natural resources function as a nonpolitical, regional system. Urban natural areas, mountain parks, drainage systems (and the amenities associated with them, such as trails) consequently are a logical place to begin regional planning. Future growth projections suggest that residents increasingly will use and value these connected urban natural areas. Surveys conducted in 2001 in Denver Mountain Parks and Jefferson County Open Space Parks indicate that the heavily used mountain parks within Jefferson County serve the whole metropolitan area, and may be as close as many people get to the mountains in the future.Early picnic along Bear Creek Sand Creek natural riparian area GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 5 „ R egional context: from mountains to plains 81frommountainstoplains

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regionalcontext:Recommendations for Regional Natural Systems and Wildlife1.Support DPRs Natural Areas Program and metro wide efforts to develop a regional model for planning, funding, and managing the Front Ranges natural areas and trails.Strengthen DPRs organizational capacity, and develop staff and public respect for natural areas and wildlife through the following actions:Elevate the new Natural Resource Unit to senior staff level.Add staff to the Natural Areas Program.Build partnerships with other city agencies to leverage resources, create programs, and monitor successes.Provide on-going staff training in management and benefits of natural areas.Provide opportunities for the public and city staff to develop an understanding and appreciation for open-space natural areas and wildlife in their natural habitats.Promote youth programs and access to natural areas.Create guidelines for citywide and DPR decisions that reinforce the value of natural preserves, wildlife habitat, and environmental quality.Require the city naturalist to approve plans for new parks and private developments that have natural areas. 2.Implement the strategic plan for the Natural Areas Program encompassing all natural open-space lands.Complete a master plan for natural areas as an ecological whole, including mountain parks and naturalized areas within traditional parks.Identify potential natural areas and buffers, and initiate a phased program of land acquisition, easements, and partnerships.Establish a relationship with a land trust to assist in acquiring quickly land threatened by development.Support efforts of DPR and other regional jurisdictions and agencies to identify potential buffer and expansion areas in the mountains.Establish natural areas in new developments, such as Lowry, Stapleton, and Northeast Denver.Restore degraded sites and monitor ongoing impacts.Bring public parklands in Denver County into compliance with the Colorado Noxious Weed Act.Develop conservation areas in each quadrant of the city.Create management guidelines for each classification of natural area to minimize impacts of recreation and public access.DBG xeriscaping, featuring yarrow P ark lakes attract significant wildlife 82

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3.Provide a richer environment for wildlife.Improve the balance and variety of ecosystems for healthy wildlife populations.Inventory and monitor wildlife within the city and the mountain parks.Chart increases in quantity and diversity.Develop a hierarchy of areas that provides a range of human access and interaction with wildlife.W ork with Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDW) to manage wildlife in Denver parks and open spaces. 4.Strengthen inter-jurisdictional relationships and joint ventures.Develop stronger partnerships and encourage more regional cooperation by working with the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD), CDW, the Colorado Lottery, and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), public landmanagement agencies, land trusts, other municipalities, and regional agencies.Support efforts to develop a regional mechanism for planning, funding, and managing regional natural open space.Pursue grants and funding ventures for inter-jurisdictional projects.W ork toward reducing regional hazards such as wildfires, noxious weeds, and other that have mandated standards.Pursue acquisition and easement opportunities for expansions that benefit Denver and other jurisdictions, such as along the Cherry Creek Corridor.Support regional efforts to reduce light pollution and darken Denvers skies. One of Denver parks systems unique elements is our mountain parks and scenic drives in Jefferson, Douglas, Clear Creek, and Summit counties. Denver also owns Winter P ark Ski Area in Grand County. In addition to spectacular scenery, the system features many historic sites, such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Trading Post, and Chief Hosa Lodge and Campground, and Pahaska Teepee. Many striking stone structures, designed by the National Park Service as well as by prominent Denver architects, are located throughout the parks. In the 1970s, Denver built a museum onBefore: existing degradednatural open space in SE DenverAfter: photo illustration showing possible restoration with native plants GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 5 „ R egional context: from mountains to plains 83frommountainstoplains A NEW VISION FOR MOUNTAIN PARKS

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regionalcontext:Lookout Mountain to interpret the Buffalo Bill legacy. In the early 1900s, business and civic leaders envisioned creating the loop of parks and scenic drives in Jefferson County as a mountain retreat for the people of Denver. In 1914, the renowned landscape architecture firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., completed a plan for an extensive system of looped roads and parks. Inaccessible parcels were to be preserved for their views or for watershed or wildlife protection. Of the original 40,000 acres the Olmsted firm identified for acquisition, the City and County of Denver purchased 8,100 acres in Jefferson County. Decades later, Jefferson County purchased another 3,200 acres for its open space.1The Mountain Parks system was well designed, constructed, and maintained until the 1950s, when the loss of its dedicated mill levy sent the system into a spiral of deferred capital maintenance and decline. Funding for Mountain Parks remains a critical issue. Neighboring mountain-open-space systems have dedicated funding sources that ensure a higher level of care, as shown in the Open Space sidebar box on this page. In 2001-2002, the financial future of Winter Park also became the topic of scrutiny. Denver assured its future with a new public/private partnership. The Mountain Parks staff of 10 has worked hard and creatively to maintain a high level of daily maintenance for this extensive system, which includes two bison and elk herds. However, long-deferred capital repairs like upgrades for roads, buildings, and utility systems have outpaced the budget, creating a crisis for some of the systems larger structures. A 2001 architectural assessment revealed $1.5 million needed in immediate repairs to prevent serious code violations or public danger, and another $2.5 million to restore the system to its original state. This situation has compromised the ability of concessionaires to provide high-quality services and realize profits. It also suggests the degree of degradation to the integrity of these historic resources. The systems natural resources also have been stressed by eight decades of hard use and inadequate funding. Some recreation areas along creeks, for example, are so compacted that no understory exists, and the trees are threatened. Adequate funding is needed to protect the health of these natural resources. W ithout adequate funding, fire danger, OFallon Park today J J e e f f f f e e r r s s o o n n C C o o u u n n t t y y O O p p e e n n S S p p a a c c e eTo tal acreage30,264 T otal budget$ 3,177,720 P er acre$ 105D D e e n n v v e e r r M M o o u u n n t t a a i i n n P P a a r r k k s sTo tal acreage14,000 O&M budget$ 760,000 P er acre$ 54C C i i t t y y o o f f B B o o u u l l d d e e r r O O p p e e n n S S p p a a c c e e a a n n d d M M o o u u n n t t a a i i n n P P a a r r k k s sTo tal acreage37,000 O&M Budget$ 3,582,262 P er acre$ 96Note: Field maintenance only, not capital or administration.84

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noxious weeds, and diseased timber can threaten adjacent lands. The Game Plan process posed hard questions about the future of Mountain Parks. Given financial need, degraded conditions, growth, and changing leisure patterns of Denver residents, what is the role of our mountain parks today and in the future? Are they still vital to the parks and recreation system and our quality of life? Do Denver residents value and use them? How can the city balance the need to restore and protect natural, cultural, and historic resources with increasing public demand? To study these issues and provide recommendations, at least for the majority of the system located in Jefferson County, DPR and Jefferson County recently completed a joint Mountain Park Recreation Management Plan.2Research, coupled with the extensive feedback from the Game Plan public process, indicates a strong reaffirmation of the importance of preserving natural open space and the mountain parks for Denver and the metropolitan area. The 2001 Game Plan Survey showed 71 percent of Denverites visited one of the traditional mountain parks (excluding Red Rocks) at least once during the past year. One in five residents (20 percent) visited more than 10 times. Another 92 percent identified mountain parks as contributing to the quality of Denvers park and recreation system, with 66 percent saying it was a major contribution. At the June 2001 open houses, citizens ranked Denvers regional mountain parks, natural areas, and trails a close second priority to green neighborhoods. Denverites also said they lacked the time or ability to get to the parks, the parks lacked good restrooms and drinking water, and parks needed an increase in capital maintenance. The summer-intercept surveys of Jefferson County and Denver park visitors showed that people were using parks mainly for hiking and passive enjoyment. Cultural features continue to draw thousands of local and regional visitors as well as tourists. The overall objective for the Denver mountain parks is to keep and restore the historic system of scenic drives and parks. At the same time, DPR needs to support regional efforts and partnerships to provide funding, planning, and the ability to acquire future open space.Historic Park shelter T T h h e e L L a a r r i i a a t t L L o o o o p p H H e e r r i i t t a a g g e e A A l l l l i i a a n n c c e eThe Lariat Loop is a combination of two historic routes: the Lariat Trail Scenic Mountain Drive ascending Lookout Mountain, and the Bear Creek Canyon Scenic Mountain Drive. The Lariat Loop Mountain Gateway was recognized by the Colorado Heritage Area Partnership and officially designated as Colorados sixth heritage area in 2000. The Alliance partnership interprets this unique historic area. For information, check www.lariatloop.org. GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 5 „ R egional context: from mountains to plains 85frommountainstoplains

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regionalcontext:Recommendations for Denver Mountain Parks 1.Strengthen DPRs organizational capacity by:assigning staff with skill in dealing with complex regional planning issues.incorporating mountain parks into a new Natural Resource Unit (see Chapter 6) to manage the range of natural areas cohesively. 2.Build better relationships with the staff, policy makers, and residents of other counties and recreation districts impacted by DPR, and develop strategies for longrange natural resource protection, recreation planning, land acquisitions, easements, and other regional issues by:developing work teams with each jurisdiction.strengthening working relationships by completing management guidelines for each site, criteria for responding to requests, and a prompt staff response system.as a matter of policy, including people who are not Denver County residents in the public processes affecting the Denver parks in their communities.implementing cost efficiencies wherever possible in operations and planning.working together to distinguish the different characters of parks and park systems, to maintain historic integrity and provide an array of visitor experiences. 3.Protect significant cultural resources and enhance the Olmsted Legacy by:continuing to inventory and assess cultural resources.rehabilitating, restoring, and protecting significant cultural resources through site guidelines, preventative capital repair programs and maintenance schedules,strong concessionaire partnerships, and additional historic landmark designations.protecting the scenic mountain drives through special road classifications, design guidelines, and acquired easements.increasing awareness of the metro wide community regarding the distinction, value, and history of Denvers mountain parks and other mountain parks. 4.Improve recreational experiences by:minimizing use conflicts through evaluations to determine appropriate uses, provision of additional facilities, more hiking trails, closure of sensitive areas, compliance with State of Colorado standards, and temporary closures of parking lots and sites.completing master site and management plans for all major mountain sites.creating more hiking-only trails and picnic areas.providing clean, high-quality restrooms and drinking water. Denvers bison herds: Genesee Mountain, Daniels Park and a proposed herd at DIA Evergreen Lake Marina 86

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supplying more information and interpretation through rangers and materials such as brochures and signs.providing greater security through rangers, volunteer programs, and increased site visibility.evaluating gaps in recreation services, such as the need for more outdoor education opportunities for youth, stronger trail links for road-bike use, and facilities to accommodate new uses.creating a site for dogs off leash. 5.Ensure economic sustainability for the system (see Chapter 9 for more details) by:improving concessionaire relationships and contracts to ensure high-quality visitor experiences, a mutually beneficial business partnership, and protection of significant natural and cultural features.working collaboratively with other government agencies towards more costeffective operations.pursuing regional planning and funding models for the Front Ranges entire natural open space system. Fo r more information on strategies specific to Denver Mountain Parks and Jefferson County Open Space Parks, please check www.denvergov.org or the Mountain Park Recreation Plan in the Game Plan Appendix.FOOTNOTES1 The remainder of Denver Mountain Park acreage is in parks located in Douglas, Clear Creek, and Grand Counties. 2 The plan was primarily funded by a Colorado Department of Local Affairs Smart Growth Grant. An interpretive plan for the Lariat LoopŽ was produced collaboratively at the same time. Historic postcard of the Lariat Loop road on Lookout Mountain GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 5 „ R egional context: from mountains to plains 87frommountainstoplains

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88

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sustainability:caring for natural and designed resourcesThe future of Denvers park and recreation systemrests in the Citys ability to protect and care for its physical resources. In this chapter, two areas of sustainability are discussed „ the conservation natural resources such as water, soil, and air, wildlife, and native vegetation; and the protection of designed resources such as historic parks and fountains. DPR could be a national leader in sustainable park practices. Chapter 9 addresses the economic strategies necessary to financial sustainability. Chapter 6

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sustainability:As in the citys comprehensive plan, a key priority for the Game Plan is protection and wise management of existing and future resources. Throughout the Game Plan public process, Denver residents encouraged the city to take a more aggressive and innovative role in natural resource protection. In the 2001 Game Plan Survey nearly half (48 percent) of respondents rated the citys management of natural resources as fair or poor; and 83 percent thought that water conservation should be a moderate or major priority. And, most survey respondents and open-house participants expressed a strong desire for the city to acquire, restore, and protect more natural areas. Throughout the public process, Denver participants also indicated how deeply they care about the Denver parks design legacy and special places. The public and DPR staff expressed concerns at numerous forums that the city needs the staffing, financial resources, and a greater sense of stewardship to protect these places. DPR needs new practices for the City in the Park to be built of high quality, survive with integrity, and function as part of a complex region wide system of green infrastructure. DPR is one of the citys largest departments. As steward for nearly 20,000 acres of public land, including urban forests, 29 recreation centers, cultural facilities, and seven golf courses, DPR has the responsibility and perspective to achieve the goal of environmental sustainability outlined in the citys comprehensive plan. As we build our City in a P ark, DPR can weave public lands into productive green infrastructure, helping to achieve these goals through innovative design and management.The views, meadows, lakes and trees of W ashington Park were carefully designed 83% of the people surveyed in June 2002 felt that water conservation should be a moderate or major priority.Ž90 ENSURING OUR LEGACY SURVIVES FOR THE FUTURE SUSTAINABLE NATURAL RESOURCES

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As a major consumer of resources, DPR can be a model for conservation, demonstrating bestmanagement practices for air and water quality, water conservation, storm water management, and green-building technologies. Natural areas must be restored and protected. At the same time, our parks and other public lands and facilities must remain beautiful and functional places for people to enjoy. Such efforts will require major resources. F or example, the most effective and comprehensive way to reduce dramatically DPRs annual consumption of 2 billion gallons is to retrofit the departments miles of irrigation lines and heads. Some of these are more than 40 years old and are made of hazardous materials. An estimated $57.5 million is needed for an entire retrofit. Although Denvers current and projected drought conditions exacerbate the need for dramatic water reduction, Denvers existence as a growing city perched on the arid high plain always will demand water conservation. Beyond the financial investment, Denver needs DPR to take a leadership role in protecting our natural resources for our long-term environmental, human, and financial health, and to provide a public model for change.Goal for Conservation of Natural ResourcesDenver parks, open spaces, and facilities will be a sustainable system in which environmental, economic, and human resources are managed wisely. DPR will take a leadership role in conserving and enhancing Denvers natural resources through work practices and through an open space system designed to functions as green infrastructureŽ. W ise water management will be a priority.Recommendations1. Create performance standards and best-management practices for water conservation. To move Denver Parks and Recreation, a major water consumer, into a key leadership role in the City and to dramatically conserve water, DPR should:Develop a rigorous water-management program with other agencies that incorporates citywide drought-management plans and best-management practices and anticipates long-term drought.Retrofit outdated irrigation systems and install automated irrigation control and monitoring to save money and resources.Establish water-reduction goals, accountability, and incentives.Install low-water-use landscapes.T rain field staff in best-management practices for soil amendments, plant Cheesman Park being watered and recently completed Pavilion, early 1900s Maintenance staff hand watering GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 6 „ Sustainability: caring for natural and designed resources 91caringfornaturalanddesignedresources

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sustainability:selection and maintenance, irrigation design and management, and weed control.Convert bluegrass areas to alternative grasses and native plants, where appropriate. Designate turf areas for summer dormancy. Expand the use of nonpotable or recycled water for irrigation.Convert plumbing features in facilities to reduce water consumption.Educate the public about water conservation and the environmental advantages of converting bluegrass lawns to more natural landscapes. 2. Take a leadership role in changing the way people think and communicate. To encourage an ethic of environmental awareness and educate people about sustainable environmental practices, DPR should:Establish working teams and partnerships with other agencies, such as CPD, Public W orks, the Water Quality Group, the Department of Environmental Health, Denver Water, Wastewater, and Vector Control, to create shared performance standards, training, and technical assistance, to jointly fund and monitor new programs.Actively participate in the Citys on-going storm water drainage plan and water quality study.Create and support a Natural Resources U nit .Require continual training for DPR staff responsible for implementing best management practices.ŽProvide staff to expand volunteerism, youth programs, and partnerships.Educate the public and staff about the benefits of environmental conservation, and publicize successes. Initiate a program of environmental awareness and conservation in the recreation centers and programs.Use the DPR website, newsletters, and other communications venues to reinforce DPRs commitment. 3. Plan and build with best sustainable practices. To transform parks and open space into green infrastructure, DPR must change planning and construction practices. Planning principles must integrate natural and built systems and include design standards for both. The planning process should:Address the entire system (not just the site), considering elements and conditions such as urban waterways, stormwater, tree canopy, natural areas, and parklands.W ork closely with other agencies, developing all potential public lands as green infrastructure, including storm water control and quality, and wildlife habitat.V olunteers planting wetland plants at City ParkSchool children touring Bluff Lakepreserve 92

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Incorporate sustainable planting designs that conserve water, create wildlife habitat, and are low-maintenance. Plan parks and green connections with transit in mind. Continue developing green connections according to Blueprint Denver Encourage bicycle and pedestrian access for DPR employees and residents throughout the city.Encourage the reuse of brownfields and industrial lands for parks and natural areas. Employ innovative design solutions for contaminated lands.Reduce immediate and long-term infrastructure costs by using natural technologies, such as naturalized creeks for stormwater control and life-cycle cost analysis.Require DPR Natural Resource review of plans for new parks and drainageRequire DPR Natural Resource review of plans for private developments. Design standards should:Increase the diversity of woody and herbaceous plant species to improve wildlife habitat and increase sustainability.Experiment with adaptable, low-water, and native plants.Implement Forestrys tree canopy goals of 18 percent in residential areas and 10 percent in the Central Business District and light-industrial districts.Increase naturalized areas and reduce bluegrass in parks and golf courses, where compatible with recreation activities.Encourage surface drainage systems and the reuse of stormwater for irrigation. For example, use permeable paving to allow stormwater to soak into the ground and to recharge aquifers.Protect, restore, or create wetlands in new developments and when naturalizing parkland and golf courses. Develop zoning and plan review processes for natural areas. Develop zoning for wildlife corridors.Require the use of non-point source strategies, such as wetlands, to reduce pollution from new or refurbished golf courses and parks.Incorporate greenŽ architecture when possible in new construction and remodels. The Department of Health (DEH) should review the design of all significant construction projects. Assure that each new building is registered with the U.S. Green Building Council and achieves at least a silver rating in the councils Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program (LEEDS).Consult Utilities and DEH early in the design process about using renewable energy sources. 4. Change the way we manage. Parks, open space, and facilities must be managed, both in terms of daily operations and long-term improvements, with criteria W esterly Creek, designed to handle storm loads Constructed wetlands can clean and detain water Goats are effective in eliminating noxious weeds GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 6 „ Sustainability: caring for natural and designed resources 93caringfornaturalanddesignedresources

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sustainability:for conservation and natural resource quality. DPR must set and follow stringent standards for resource management and establish best-management practices for achieving them by doing the following:Create incentives for researching the environmental and cost-savings benefits of new technologies. Create incentives for staff to conserve water.Establish a system of staff accountability.Start a ranger program. Encourage flexible work schedules, telecommuting, and alternative commuter transportation.Provide a phased schedule of staffing and capital resources to achieve these goals.Develop recreational management plans for natural areas and waterways.Implement comprehensive landscape health and weed/pest management programs.Meet requirements to control noxious weeds through integrated management that minimizes use of pesticides and herbicides.Establish a comprehensive lake and waterway management program with the citys Water Quality Group.Enforce emissions standards for equipment. Enforce mandatory limits for single-stroke engines that conform with voluntary requirements for high-ozone days.Adopt mowing/spraying routines that minimize pollution.Adopt sustainable operations and maintenance (O&M) plans and provide continual mandatory staff training with other city agencies.Refine efficient maintenance practices (minimizing truck sizes and access).Manage recreational uses of fuel-powered watercraft to minimize pollution.W ork closely with Solid Waste Recycling to institute recycling programs throughout the parks and recreation centers.Establish and monitor a five-year pruning cycle for trees. An electric car in City Park, circa 1900 DPR Pilot Rangers 94

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Denver has a rich legacy of design, in its civic spaces, buildings, and artwork. The historic parks and parkways and their carefully designed meadows, lakes, woods, classic structures, scenic drives, and artwork are treasures that define our neighborhoods and mountain parks. And that legacy is reflected as well in the innovative, high quality parks and facilities being built. Many of Denvers historic parks are listed in the National Register of Historic Places or offered protection as local Denver landmarks. And hopefully public places being designed today are of the timeless quality to warrant permanence and future preservation The integrity of Denvers designed places (and especially older, historic ones) is not assured. Lack of funds, increasing growth and traffic, and misinformed maintenance decisions in some cases have eroded the beauty of landmark structures and the integrity of historic sites. Protection requires identifying and preserving the historic elements that create the character of a place while responding to changing times and uses. This is a complex process that sometimes requires urgent action because critical features, such as views, meadows, and even details such as the material of a sidewalk are subtle and may be overlooked. Protection also means incorporating changing uses and maintenance procedures without ruining the original design. A sustainable design legacy also means doing things right today „ designing and caring for high-quality spaces and structures that will endure into the future. Goal for Protection of Designed ResourcesDPR will preserve the integrity of its design legacy, the built and historic resources, including buildings, parkways, landscape designs, and sculptures. Maintenance, repair, restoration, and adaptation to new uses will be carried out according to stringent standards for historic preservation and design quality.Recommendations1.Establish a historic preservation ethic for Denvers park design legacy through education and public outreach:Contemporary runes in Cuernavaca Park The views from Cheesman Pavilion, like other high points in parks, are protected GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 6 „ Sustainability: caring for natural and designed resources 95caringfornaturalanddesignedresources SUSTAINABLE DESIGNED ENVIRONMENT

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sustainability:Create internal advocacy and direction through a historic preservation policy statement and a historic parks advisory committee.Strengthen partnerships with design and preservation communities and agencies, including the Denver Planning Office, Denver Landmark Commission (DLC), Historic Denver, the Colorado Historical Society, the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the Denver Public Library.Develop a comprehensive historic preservation plan, including:guidelines for inventories, evaluation of conditions, design, and preservation options,a comprehensive inventory and framework,identification of historic themes for Denver Parks,identification of potential historic park resources system wide,identification of threatened resources and priorities for preservation, andstandards, criteria, and guidelines for all parks.Use a variety of materials and venues for public education.T rain staff and public officials about historic resource issues and management through continual workshops and presentations. 2.Protect historic structures and design features through comprehensive management and regulatory practices, including those for identification, documentation, maintenance, and funding: Implement a mandatory review process for changes affecting significant built and historic resources, including public land in the Right of Way managed by Public Works,W ork closely with Public Works, CPDA, and other agencies on design and engineering standards that do not negatively impact public spaceComplete master plans and management guidelines for all major parks and parkways, and structuresEnforce stricter regulatory protection of historic and potentially historic resources.Strengthen regulatory protection with a better relationship with the CPDA and DLC through regular meetings and cooperative projects.Complete guidelines developed with the Planning Office and DLC for the review and protection of historic landscapes, and a strategy to achieve city, state, and national landmark designation for historic resources.Include comprehensive new zoning categories and uses for parks as the city implements Blueprint Denver (such as a green-street ordinance to expand the parkway and boulevard system citywide The design is even apparent in this photo of Civic Center Park under construction Historic Chief Hosa Lodge on GenesseeMountain now hosts meetings and weddings 96

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and a citywide zoning system for parks and open space)Identify and protect significant mountain and downtown views from public parks and open spaces that are impacted by increasing development. Parks located in Blueprint Denver s areas of change whose views are potentially threatened include: Hirshorn Park, Jefferson Park, and Barnum North.Ensure that business agreements (concessionaires, enterprise zones, lease agreements) provide for the protection of historic sites and structures „ their integrity as well as infrastructure 3.Continue our design legacy through high standards for planning, construction, and maintenance.Implement rigorous design standards and review processes,Encourage innovative design through professional education and incentives,Mandate sustainable design and building practices for DPR projectsProvide staff training to ensure consistent in-house review of projects,Use high-quality materials and lifecycle costing, and bidding and purchasing alternatives that ensure high-quality contractors.Establish a preventative maintenance and a lifecycle repair schedule,Establish citywide standards of maintenance and repair, with community oversight, Maintain a library or archives of maintenance and capital repair manuals for completed projects, and accurate as-built drawings, including utilities.Northside Park was designed to reuse old water treatment architecture as park focal points Some parks whose current spectacular views may be threatened by vertical development are Hirshorn, Jefferson, and Barnum North Parks. GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 6 „ Sustainability: caring for natural and designed resources 97caringfornaturalanddesignedresources

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Equitydistribution of resources Every household deserves equitable accessto high quality park and recreation facilities. Although policies and actions for equity are woven throughout the Game Plan this chapter provides a brief overview of how the Game Plan distributes funding, programs, and other resources equitably throughout the city to redress long-standing inequities. Chapter 7

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equity:Equity „ in resources, services, programs, and maintenance „ is a Game Plan priority that imbues every proposed policy and recommendation. Denvers system of parks and recreation facilities has evolved politically and over time. As a result, the quality and size of parks and recreation facilities vary with geography and neighborhood character. This has created real and perceived disparities between neighborhoods. More than 42 percent of residents surveyed in the 2001 Game Plan Survey indicated that DPR does either a fair or poor job in allocating resources fairly to different parts of the city.Ž Some areas, for example, have no public recreation center; others have small or aging centers. Most deferred capital repairs are located in the oldest parks and neighborhoods. This makes maintenance even more difficult because constant capital repairs divert staff resources from daily tasks. A lack of citywide maintenance standards also contributes to this problem. Residents in some neighborhoods face particular challenges to park access from major roads or waterways. Recommendations that address equity are woven throughout the Game Plan Chapter 3 evaluates neighborhoods against a criteria of basic amenities and identifies neighborhoods in need.Ž Chapter 9 discusses economic priorities and financing options to balance new services for expanding areas with the needs of established neighborhoods. And Chapter 10 recommends action steps for the near and distant future. But, the Game Plan also makes the following recommendations and strategies to achieve greater equity in the parks and recreation system:New Martin Luther King, Jr. statue in City Park, unveiled in 2002 100 P ARKS AND FACILITIES FOR EVERYONE

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DPR will address inequities and provide highquality amenities and services fairly across the city through resource allocations and consistently high standards.Recommendations1.Provide more equitable funding.Evaluate and rate yearly budget, periodic bond, and public/private proposals on the basis of Game Plan data, indicators, benchmarks, and funding priorities that address inequities. Establish a new fees and charges system, using value-based program fees, reasonable returns, and programs to ensure accessibility to all (see also financial strategies in Chapter 9). 2.Equity through management practices.Ensure equivalent high levels of design and maintenance across the city through consistent standards and monitoring.Include an on-going process for community involvement and staff accountabilityEnsure consistency in policies, fees, and rules in recreation centers and facilities. 3.Equity through programming.Establish citywide standards of service to assure high standards of recreation programs throughout the city.Involve citizens in all stages of program and service design and review.Provide as many bilingual staff members and materials as possible where needed.Ensure that programs meet the changing and diverse needs of different Denver populations (see also engagement strategies in Chapter 8). DPRs Special Needs boating program at Sloans Lake Dragon Boat spectator at Sloans Lake GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 7 „ Equity: distribution of resources 101distributionofresources GOAL FOR EQUITY

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102 Neighborhoods in Need and Projected Areas of Change

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Engagement:partnering with the publicHow can the Game Plan engage the publicas stewards, volunteers, and participants in decisions regarding design, funding, management, and programs? This chapter proposes a policy to engage businesses, community groups, and other organizations and institutions as partners in efforts to improve the system. And it recommends ways in which parks and recreation facilities and programs can become the catalyst for neighborhood revitalization and cohesiveness. Chapter 8

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engagement:The long-term success of our parks and recreation system depends on developing a solid relationship between DPR and the community. DPR must respond to the changing needs of Denvers diverse residents and communities. In turn, citizens should be active stewards of our parks, open spaces, and recreation facilities. This requires strong, mutually beneficial partnerships, a flourishing volunteer program, continual assessments of community needs, and an inclusive process for decision-making.P artnershipsFo rtunately, Denver residents have a long history of generous involvement, from William McLellan, a blacksmith who almost singlehandedly raised the money to build City Parks elaborate gateway, to the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, who have completed more than 40 construction projects for Denver parks within the past 10 years. DPRs own foundation, The Park People, has raised millions of dollars for park projects since its inception in 1963 and DPRs volunteer division, Hands on Denver, provides thousands of service and learning hours each year. Concessionaires provide services desired by the public and income to help protect our historic structures. And city-owned cultural institutions, such as the Denver Zoo, the Denver Botanic Garden, and the Historic Four Mile House, are flourishing today because of their dedicated Boards and fund-raising efforts. Nourishing these existing partnerships (through increased accountability, responsive decision-making processes, and innovative approaches) and building new ones will be critical for Denver, especially as social needs increase and budgets decline.Engaging the PublicThe Game Plans adoption and success ultimately depends upon residents committed to helping DPR achieve its goals and monitoring this progress. Denver residents are passionate about their parks and recreation facilities and want a on-going dialogue in every aspect of the system, from designing new parks and discussing new recreation programs, toY our Hands on DenverŽ volunteers What are the three characteristics of successful partnerships? passion, patience, and persistence (and) there is nothing more precious than what I call the zealous nut.Ž Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, The Central Park Conservancy 104 C OLLABORATION NEEDED FOR SUCCESS

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evaluating the success of new maintenance standards. DPRs Hands on Denver volunteer program, for example, not only offers people the opportunity to give back to the system through service, but has begun to tap the potential of DPRs physical resource base to be a source for education, interpretation, and community enrichment.P arks as Community CatalystThe 20,000 acres of land and recreation facilities throughout the city could, in fact, become an economic and social catalyst for neighborhoods, the site of place or service based learning for children, or the Saturday morning art in the park class for families. W ith innovative partnerships and approaches, the system could provide neighborhoods with the place for job training, local economic opportunities, and enrichment. Parks are no longer a passive, self-service expanse of green but become the lively neighborhood social heart, complementing the recreation centers outreach. Current models in that direction, such as the DPRs YO! Youth Opportunity Movement, the City Park Alliance, or the South Platte River Commission, could be broadened in scope and extended beyond to every reach of the system. It is especially important to target youth, considered by the public to be DPRs priority user group, in departmental input and opportunities.Responding to NeedsP arks, facilities, and programs need to vary across the city. An aging population, changing demographic groups, new recreation uses, and other shifting trends call for programs and services that reflect the needs of people using DPR facilities. P ark construction should be planned and executed according to the life cycle of neighborhoods, balancing basic equitable amenities with changing social needs. These differences create a rich, diverse citywide system of programs, places, and facilities. Parks and facilities need to be fully accessible and safe for people to seek them out. F or example, residents between the ages of 30 and 39 indicated the greatest use of park and recreation resources, with the elderly using them least, according to the 2001 Game Plan Survey. In overall use, Hispanic and AfricanAmerican respondents valued and used recreation facilities and ballfields significantly more than Caucasians. T T h h e e P P a a r r k k P P e e o o p p l l e eSince 1966 a dedicated group of v olunteers has been Denver Parks and Recreations strongest ally, r aising awareness and money for the restoration of countless treasured Denver park landmarks. The millions of dollars raised by The P ark People, the departments 501(c)(3) foundation, have brought the Cheesman Park Pavillion, W ashington Park Boat House, Civic Center Park, the Dolphin Fountain and other park features in disrepair back to life. Their efforts also have helped to create new special places, such as the City Park Interactive F ountain. Through its signature program, Denver Digs Trees, more then 23,000 street trees have been distributed, helping to replace the aging Denver urban forest. The Park P eople carries on the Denver legacy of generous and passionate care for its parks and recreation system. For information, call 303-722-6262 or their web site: www.theparkpeople.com. GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 8 „ Engagement: partnering with the public 105partneringwiththepublic

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engagement:Close to 66 percent of Caucasians frequently used trails, compared with 39 percent of Hispanics responding. Only 25 percent of Caucasians reported using Denvers public pools, compared to 42 percent of Hispanics. Denvers low-income residents (households with incomes less than $25,000 per year) use park and recreation facilities least often. Opinions and perceptions also varied by group. African-American residents were the least satisfied with the maintenance of park and recreation facilities. They also did not think the city allocated resources equitably. When asked whether the city should provide public areas for dogs to exercise off-leash, the 30 percent of respondents who did not support either of the two options included a greater number of older Denver residents. How can the Game Plan address these needs and preferences? How can DPR forge stronger relationships with the public? It requires careful balancing of needs, on-going assessments, aggressive community outreach, and an ethic that respects a diverse and changing population. A DPR priority will be to meaningfully engage the public, increase stewardship and volunteerism, build partnerships that encourage advocacy and additional financial resources, and respond to diverse community needsRecommendations1.Build DPRs organizational capacity to strengthen existing and garner new programs and resources. To set the stage for success, DPR should develop resources, partnerships, and volunteer projects using the following strategies:Provide professional leadership at top management and appointee levels.Create career-service-level positions to manage each division below the position of manager.Develop professional job descriptions and conduct a competitive search for each position, if divisions continue to be managed by political appointees.Devise a staff-development position to strengthen existing partnerships and pursue other funding sources.Add staff commensurate with Hands on Denver staffing levels to meet the citysR ebuilding the DeBoer waterway in City Park C C S S U U C C o o o o p p e e r r a a t t i i v v e e E E x x t t e e n n s s i i o o n nWhether its getting a Vitamin B fact sheet to figuring out what slug is eating your tree, Denver residents have depended upon one of Parks and Recreations primary partners, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension for helpful home information. CSU Denver Cooperative Extension provides walk-in, phone, and outreach information in four areas: 1) Urban horticulture and natural resources, 2) Family and consumer sciences, 3) F ood Stamp nutrition education, and 4) Urban 4-H and youth development. This partnership enables CSU to be the link between emerging research and technology and the people who can use it. For information, call 720-913-5270 or try the web: www.ext.colostate.edu.106 GOAL FOR ENGAGEMENT

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growing needs for volunteer-supported projects, service-based learning, and, especially, programs for youth.Create a Public Affairs unit to coordinate and build strong relationships with the public: volunteerism; on-going community assessments and research; development; and communications.Hire more Spanish-speaking staff members and encourage bilingualism among staff.Encourage continual staff training in facilitation, community development, and grant writing. 2.Build neighborhoods through DPR parks and programs. DPR should nurture partnerships and build new alliances with diverse agencies, foundations, and organizations to strengthen its base for advocacy, financial support, and volunteer stewardship. It should expand the potential and presence of parks and facilities in neighborhoods, creating opportunities and enrichment:Encourage an ethic of partnerships through DPR policy statements, staffing, staff training and incentives, and public outreach.Use the park and recreation system as a resource base through volunteerism, youth programs and service/place based learning projects.Expand Community Recreation, Outdoor Recreation, Special Needs and recreation beyond wallsŽ to program Denver parks and meet changing user needs. (Example: programming the Skate Park).Develop criteria and a more business-like approach to evaluating potential partnerships, concessionaire agreements, and joint ventures.Establish and meet performance measures, schedules, and expectations for publicprivate partnerships.Ensure donated amenities are well maintained through adequate funding, maintenance guidelines, and accountability measures.Identify potential corporate partnerships and grant sources and tailor to DPRs needs.Establish a working group with Jefferson County to coordinate regional concerns and efforts.Establish a standing committee for DPRs nonprofit and private partners.F ormulate a joint strategic plan with The P ark People to further the goals of the Game Plan.Create a Game Plan Advisory Board to act as the plans advocate and to monitor DPR success in meeting its goals.Increase the visibility of DPR programs and amenities through brochures, newsletters, public relations, and outreach efforts.Provide better staff and policy support for special resources such as the Denver Zoo, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and Historic F our Mile House. D D e e n n v v e e r r Z Z o o o oAfter a modest start in 1896 with one bear named Billy Bryan, the Denver Zoological Gardens has grown into one of the top ten rated zoos in the country. Open 365 days a year in City Park, Denver Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals representing more than 700 species. Highlights include newer exhibits such as Primate Panorama, one of the worlds largest gorilla habitats, Dragons of Komodo indoor dragon e xhibit, and Tropical Discovery. To totally convert the antiquated core of the zoo into a state of the art conservation center, Denver Zoo and P arks and Recreation adopted a tenyear Master Plan in 1998. For information, call 303-376-4800 or the web page www.denverzoo.org. GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 8 „ Engagement: partnering with the public 107partneringwiththepublic

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engagement:Provide better staff and policy support for special institutions and organizations located on city-owned or park land, such as the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Bluff Lake Nature Center, V olunteers for Outdoor Colorado, and The P ark People. 3.Research and respond to changing and diverse trends and needs. DPR should conduct on-going research and community needs assessments. It should also commit to meeting the needs of a diverse population by developing responsive processes and criteria, through the following strategies:Conduct community needs analysis and a general population survey on a regular basisDevelop an open process and accountable timeline for making decisions and responding to the public.Assign research on recreation trends as a staff responsibility and evaluate requests for new uses on the basis of this research.Ensure that facilities and programs are accessible for people with disabilities.Produce materials in English and Spanish.Begin planning and implementing two new uses identified by the Game Plan „ a citywide pilot system of areas for dogs to exercise off-leash and a pilot disc-golf course.Identify potential new and reuse facility sites for more capital-intensive sports, including indoor soccer, in-line skating, and indoor playgrounds. 4.Involve the community in all aspects of parks and recreation work. The success the Game Plan depends on the involvement of Denver residents. To encourage community involvement, DPR should:Create relationships with the public at the neighborhood level and have planning, maintenance, and recreation staff stay in regular contact through articles in neighborhood newspapers, attendance at neighborhood association meetings, and by assigning a DPR community liaison.Expand community advisory committees to include broader neighborhood involvement in park and open-space planning.W ork more closely with community agencies such as the Denver Planning Office Neighborhood Response and the Housing and Neighborhood Services Office.Encourage neighborhood involvement in evaluating maintenance standards in neighborhood parks and in assessing Game Plan success, perhaps through park report cards.Ž D D e e n n v v e e r r B B o o t t a a n n i i c c G G a a r r d d e e n n s sAt the Denver Botanic Gardens, you can listen to jazz on a summer ev ening, participate in a formal tea ceremony, relax by the Monet Gardens, tend your own garden plot, or take a class in botanical drawing! Although only 23 acres tucked in the heart of Denver by Cheesman P ark, the Botanic Gardens displays more than 15,000 plant species from around the globe. Its focus, however, is to connect people with the plants from the Rocky Mountain region and features an awardwinning rock garden and Dryland Mesa grasslands. Special facilities include an on-site horticultural therapy garden and two off-site campuses, Mt. Goliath on Mt. Evans and Chatfield Arboretum. For information, call 720-865-3713 or try their web site: www.botanicgardens.org.108

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Increase education and outreach efforts through events such as recreation center open houses, displays at libraries and other public buildings, and community forums. Although DPR and Denver has a number of strong programs and partners, a great deal of unrealized resources „ both human and financial „ are waiting to be tapped. To do that will take new policies; increased visibility and standing within the department and the community; and the organizational ability and staffing needed to make it happen. Game Plan Criteria for new uses, minimizing conflicts:are passersby and other park users at risk of injury?does the use have unique space requirements or require significant separation from adjacent activities?does the use require special drop-off/loading or parking arrangements?would the use create additional or unusual maintenance burdens?would the use damage existing park landscape, natural/ historic/cultural resources or wildlife habitat areas?is the area protected by some sort of designation?does the use have a significant and organized constituency?do DPR Rules and Regulations currently forbid the activity? GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 8 „ Engagement: partnering with the public 109partneringwiththepublic

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Sound economics:financing maintenance and expansionThe Game Plan needs a long-range financial strategyto achieve its two broad goals of expanding the system while maintaining and improving current resources. That strategy is driven by economic and political realities and the underlying Game Plan values of sustainability and equity. This chapter evaluates financial trends and explores the options for DPR, including new funding sources, partnerships, and increased efficiencies. It also proposes a policy to guide budget prioritizations. Chapter 9

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soundeconomics:The Game Plan is a responsible plan only if grounded in reality. Yet the public has a large mandate for DPR: investment in and protection of existing resources while building for the future. DPR worked with Denvers Budget and Management Office (BMO) and consultants to evaluate and describe current DPR and City operating and capital financial trends. This included life-cycle costs for improving the entire physical infrastructure and maintaining it at a high quality level to produce a sustainable system. Caring for our existing system and maintaining high quality programs clearly are priorities. During the research phase, the team also investigated numerous financial opportunities, such as concessionaires, sponsorships, and partnerships, and evaluated options for financing the Game Plan. Expansion of the system, affecting both operating and capital budgets, is based on addressing long-standing inequities while building parks for the future. This chapter looks at existing and projected revenues for both operating and capital needs, impacts of the Game Plan, and a package of financial recommendations. The funds to staff and operate the park system and its recreation programs are kept quite separate from the capital funds used to rebuild or expand the system. Operating funds are used for three internal divisions within DPR: Administration (overall administration, finance, planning, and human resources), Recreation (recreation centers, pools, city-wide programs for seniors, special needs, and community recreation) and Parks (general parks, preventative maintenance, mountain parks, and special sites). The Parks division receives the largest share of operating funds, close to 56 percent. More than 98 percent of DPRs operations funding for personnel and daily operations comes from the citys general fund. In 2002,Flagstones crumbling 112 GROUNDING THE GAME PLAN IN REALITY OPERATIONS TRENDS

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 9 „ Sound economics: financing maintenance and expansion 113financingmaintenance&expansion$48 million was budgeted for DPR. Sixty-one percent of the General Fund comes from taxes other than property taxes. T ax revenue, other than property tax, can fluctuate significantly with the economy. In addition, the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) limits the revenue growth from taxes that the City is allowed to retain. This limitation to revenue growth is restricted to the increase in local growth and the rate of inflation, and has been consistently about 5%. However, during the last decade, the City remained under their TABOR ceiling, and up until 1997 could retain revenues that were above the percentage of growth that otherwise would have been allowed. Yet, the City still restricted growth of its operating budget to a sustainable level and surpluses were used for one-time expenditures, including capital maintenance and expansion. Therefore, while revenue growth was extraordinary, growth in operating expenses was steady. This steady growth was mirrored in DPR, where over the past decade DPR has kept pace with the overall increase in city funding, holding steady at 6 percent of the citys operating budget. Much of those increases in DPR operation revenues were devotedDPR Internal Allocation of General Fund Revenue … 2002 Total = $48 million Parks and Recr eation Administra t Recr eation Di vision Parks Division General Parks Parks Division Mountain Parks Parks Division Parks and Recreation Main tenance Parks Divisi on Other 32% 2% 12% 43% 1% 10%

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soundeconomics:114 City of Denver General Fund Revenue Sources Â… 2002 Total = $772 million Sales and Use Tax Property Tax Occupational Privilege Tax Other Taxes General Government Intergovernmental Transfers 53% 21% 3% 9% 7% 3% 4% City of Denver General Fund Expenditures Â… 2002 Total = $768 million Gene ral Governmen S afety Other Safety Agen cies Parks and Recreation Cult ural Facilities Public Wo rks Health Transfer to Capital Im provements Fund Other Re se rves a nd Contingencies 26% 12% 5% 4% 38% 6% 1% 2% 6%

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 9 „ Sound economics: financing maintenance and expansion 115financingmaintenance&expansionprimarily to development at Lowry, the South Platte District, and the Natural Areas Program. The difficulty with TABOR is that in poor economic times, when revenues drop, the ceiling also ratchets down to the new lows, limiting expansion during better economic times that follow. Budgets are cut during lean times but unable to grow, then, with economic growth. That is because the goal of TABOR is to shrink government permanently. This philosophy and legal mandate will make it difficult in the future to expand services without addressing TABOR constraints. P art of the equation in establishing optimum operating and capital budgetary levels also is the standard of service. Customer satisfaction is one important indication. Are Denverites satisfied with the current level of operations and programming? According to 2001 Game Plan Survey respondents, most Denverites find this level of park maintenance and programs satisfactory. Seventy-six percent of people surveyed said that DPR does either an excellent or good job of operating clean and well-maintained facilities. Seventy-three percent indicated thatP ercent Increase … 1997-2002 199719981999200020012002 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Safety G eneral Government Public Works Parks and Recreation G eneral Fund O perating Appropriations

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116 soundeconomics:DPR did either an excellent or good job in providing indoor recreation opportunities.1 However, a demand always exists for new programs, uses, and improvements. During the Game Plan open houses, focus groups, and presentations, some Denver residents did express a desire for increased maintenance or expansion of programs, such as more opportunities for volunteerism, environmental education, or increased recreation center hours. For example, the pilot Ranger program, summer 2002, was in response to the expressed desire for increased security and park user education. Even if the operating budget is adequate today, that will change in the future. The cost of operations definitely will grow dramatically with close to 1,500 acres of new parkland at Stapleton, Green Valley Ranch, Lowry, and other new neighborhoods currently planned. In addition, the costs for creating the hundreds of acres of natural areas, included in these new parks, and restoring degraded natural areas elsewhere in the city are higher at the outset because of the intensive labor involved. A shortfall of close to $3 million is anticipated by 2007 to cover this additional acreage. This is before adding the Game Plan recommendations that call for some expanded services and programs. The capital expansions proposed in the plan, too, all have operating increases associated with them. The City (and DPR) Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) cover two major categories: Capital Maintenance and Repair (anticipated capital repairs or scheduled maintenance items over $10,000) and Capital Upgrades and Expansion (major park and facility upgrades and all expansions).2Close to 75% of DPRs capital budget comes from funds dedicated to park improvements: the State Conservation T rust Funds (i.e. Lottery) and Winter Park Funds. The remaining quarter comes from the Citys Capital Improvement Fund (primarily Occupational Privilege Tax revenues). Although DPR faces some competition from other departments and agencies for the latter source, it is still guaranteed a base amount through the  maintenance of effortŽ requirement in the W inter Park Trust Agreemnt. Maintenance at skate park CAPITAL NEEDS TRENDS

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 9 „ Sound economics: financing maintenance and expansion 117financingmaintenance&expansionCapital Repair and MaintenanceThe shortfall for capital rehabilitation and repairs is dramatic due to decades of chronic under funding and an aging infrastructure. In a first cut at a sustainable annual capital maintenance level for DPR, the City has identified approximately $9 million (2002 dollars) a year for Capital Maintenance and Repairs. This is for items such as replacing old irrigation systems, refurbishing swimming pools, or re-surfacing trails. This is a $5-$6 million a year gap over current annual funding for capital repair and maintenance. Many of these items have been deferred for years, affecting DPRs ability to catch up and keep parks and recreation facilities in good repair. Deferred maintenance also jeopardizes the quality of the system, causing ripple effects, such as staff time diverted to capital repair problems, rather than daily maintenance; degradation of the system over time; and impacts on natural resources, such as increased water waste with old irrigation systems.Sources of Department Capital Funding … 2002 $9 million State Conservation Trust Fund $5,000,000 56% Winter Park Fund $2,000,000 22% Capital Improvement Funds $2,000,000 22%

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118 Capital Upgrades and ExpansionDeferring long-standing capital repairs can also result in a project escalating from repair to crisis, to entire replacement. Another $100 million has been identified in the capital needs assessment for Capital Upgrades and Expansion, such as developing new parks, replacing entire playgrounds, major park restorations, restoring a natural area, or acquiring land. 3 Some of these expansions and upgrades need to be addressed with annual funding and others with debt, whichever more appropriately matches the payment for the asset with the users over time. The current average total capital budget for park and recreation upgrades and expansion has been about $6 million annually. If the upgrades and expansions, identified in theAchieving Parity in Neighborhoods of Greatest Need soundeconomics: A 2002 analysis of the capital needs for the park irrigation systems indicated a required minimum of $58 million over 15 years to upgrade the system. The result would be significant water, labor, and capital repair savings.

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 9 „ Sound economics: financing maintenance and expansion 119financingmaintenance&expansion2003 Six-Year Needs Assessment, were all funded with annual revenues, the City would need $16 million (i.e. an additional $10 million) even before adding any Game Plan capital expansion projects.Game Plan Capital Costs and PrioritiesNeighborhood improvements and expansion in currently underserved areas are Game Plan the priorities for public funding. Early estimates for Green Neighborhood projects (trees, sidewalks, 100 acres of additional small parkland) in areas of greatest need are $20 million to $25 million for capital costs and $360,000 in annual operating costs. Projects for neighborhoods of moderate need that are planning for growth add another $80 million to $150 million in capital costs and $500,000 to $1.5 million in annual operatingAchieving Parity in Neighborhoods of Moderate Need and Planning for Growth

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soundeconomics:Game Plan Expansion Estimates Green Neighborhoods Units Costs Potential Partners 1. Street trees50,000 total plus 2,000/year replacement $6-7 millionPark People, foundations, private developers, EPA 2. Breathing spaces: retrofit 80-100 acres$60-$80 millionDPS, Denver Urban Gardens, utility providers, grant programs, EPA Groundwork Beyond Neighborhood 1. Community parks, specialized uses: 400-600 acres park space, including larger parks $40-$60 millionGrantors, GOCO, Urban Drainage, HUD 2. Recreation centersGoal: 2.2 sf/person (2003 Facility Plan) $50-$80 millionYMCA, Girls and Boys Club, DPS Connected City 1. Green connections(100+ miles pedestrian improvements) $15-$50 millionPublic Works, neighborhood assessments, private developers 2. Off street trails, bridges up to $60 millionPublic Works, federal 3. DowntownMajor connections up to $50 millionBusiness, academic communities; Public Works; federal 4. Urban waterways:$5-10 million for gulches Federal, UDFCD, Public Works Mountains to Plains 1. Regional trail connections up to $2 millionOther jurisdictions, GOCO, new funding mechanisms 2. Mountain Parks stabilization up to $2 millionOther jurisdictions/users 120

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costs (all in 2002 dollars). Although cost estimates are more difficult for long-range projects such as burying downtown streets or building new South Platte parks, other early estimates include (in 2002 dollars):Beyond the Neighborhood projects (400 to 600 acres and recreation centers): $100$140 millionThe Connected City projects (green connections, off-street trails and bridges): Up to $60 million (not including the land bridges downtown)Mountains to Plains (restoration of mountain parks and urban natural areas): Up to $3 million The financial trends clearly point to future operating shortfalls and existing capital shortfalls. And, competition will always exist between creating equity for existing neighborhoods; assuring high levels of maintenance; expanding in new or growing areas of the city; and large, visionary city-wide projects.. The Game Plan addresses all of these interests and offers both a packet of financial tools and a value-based process for making budget decisions.Financial ToolsThe complexity of budget decisions and potential revenue sources demands an array of financial and management tools. Even so, a number of strategies and recommendations, such as staff efficiencies and work practices, clearly impact all aspects of the department, both operating and capital budgets. With the limitations for tax revenue growth imposed by T ABOR, yet with an increase in the amount of park acreage and recreation center square footage, changes in operations budgeting are necessary. F or operating deficits, those additional strategies range from the less traditional, such as maintenance fees and districts, outsourcing work, or partnerships with other land agencies to the more traditional, such as increased user fees, reduction in services and programs, or reprioritization of DPR expenditures. It could mean reduced programs in other city agencies in favor of increased funding for parks and recreation. Daily operations are intertwined with program and capital needs; a higher level of GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 9 „ Sound economics: financing maintenance and expansion 121financingmaintenance&expansion C C a a p p i i t t a a l l F F u u n n d d i i n n g gin millions per year R epair and Maintnance$3$9$6 Upgrades and Expansions$6$16$10 FINANCIAL AND MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES Current Spending Level Sustainable Shortfall

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soundeconomics:122 maintenance obviously will decrease capital repair costs. For example, Game Plan financial consultants estimated that tightening contracts with city concessionaires could yield DPR a maximum additional $200,000. However, mutually advantageous concessionaire arrangements that encourage preventative maintenance also lead to better care of historic facilities and a higher level of public service. Capital Maintenance and Repairs projects are, perhaps, the most dependent upon consistent public funding since the quality and lifespan of publicly owned resources is reliant upon this kind of care. Capital upgrades and expansion, including most of the capital projects in the Game Plan, benefit from a wider array of potential partnerships and funding sources.Evaluation of Selected Options Funding Option Revenue G eneration Political Difficulty Advantages Disadvantages General fund reallocation Wide range High if large amounts of funding sought Preservation of status quo in taxation Takes money from other City services, potential for significant opposition of large amounts of funding sought Dedicated revenues (taxes or program related revenues) Potentially high if new taxes are imposed High if new taxes are imposed Stable revenue source, potential for sufficient funding Decreases citywide financial flexibi lity Benefit Districts M oderate Moderate Aligns costs and benefits of services Administr atively difficult, could be politically difficult if not accompanied by citywide tax reductions Increased cost recovery M oderate Moderate Aligns costs and benefits of services Could decrease accessibility to services Non -t raditional revenues (concessionaires, sponsorships, private donations) Wide range Low for private donations, high for sponsorships Potential for revenue generation without increased burden on City residents Sponsorships require a change in City policy, donations unlikely for on going costs Decreased service costs (increased efficiencies or sale of assets) Wide range Low for efficiencies, high for sale of assets More closely aligns inventory with re sources Sale of park assets would be very contentious

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 9 „ Sound economics: financing maintenance and expansion 123financingmaintenance&expansionP eriodic capital bond issues, tax increment financing, grants, and partnerships are examples of capital funding sources beyond annual budgets. Timing and coordinating Game Plan projects with other city capital construction efforts (as outlined by Blue Print Denver, the Bicycle Master Plan, Wastewater Master Plans), too, clearly saves money. Increased efficiencies and partnerships, however, cannot fill the $6 million yearly shortfall for capital Maintenance and Repairs, the $10 million yearly shortfall for current capital upgrades and expansions, the Game Plan capital projects, and the anticipated operating shortfalls. These all point for the need for some increased public revenues, some form of taxes. The huge scale of the deferred and on-going capital repairs requires stable solutions. The Game Plan public process reaffirmed this direction and also indicated a willingness of Denver residents to help pay. Close to 80 percent of 2001 Game Plan Survey respondents said they would pay for additional levels of service or expansion, ranging from $1 to $10 per month. Three out of five respondents (59 percent) said they would pay an additional $4 a month, which translates intoW illingness to Pay for Park Improvements $1-$3 per month $4-$7 per month $8-10 per month or more Nothing Don't know 21% 17% 28% 31% 3%

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soundeconomics:an additional $6 million to $10 million annually, an important start toward funding Game Plan efforts. Competition for public funds is always intense, but Denver residents continue to be passionate about and supportive of their park and recreation system. Budget ProcessA clear on-going process for evaluating requests and balancing demands is as important as the funding tools. The Game Plan financial implementation clearly reaffirms the values of sustainability, equity, and engagement. Generally and in order, public funding priorities are to: Care for the existing (and expanding) system by adequately funding capital Maintenance and RepairsMake improvements and fill gaps in the system where services do not meet standards;Land bank for future expansion; andExpand service levels, building new parks and recreation facilities. These priorities do not mandate a strictly linear approach to funding; parks could be built in Green Valley Ranch while school yards in west Denver simultaneously become Learning Landscapes. Rather, they are to reaffirm the overriding concepts that Upgrades and Expansion should not be at the expense of long-standing underserved neighborhoods nor should they overstress the operating budgets needed for maintenance and programs. Securing additional on-going revenues for parks and recreation must be coordinated with citywide efforts to increase capital funds and citywide needs. Implementation over time, of course, also depends upon the economic health of the city and coordination with other city projects and direction. Even so, priorities and DPR budget items should be clearly justified by their support of Game Plan values and recommendations. Y early proposals for upgrade and expansion projects in the six-year capital needs assessment, recommendations for bond issues, and special projects should be evaluated against these criteria. Consequently, the following recommendations are intended to create a framework that can be implemented over time. As with other recommendations, the Citys internal abilities (staffing and skills) must be in place first.124 F F i i n n a a n n c c i i a a l l C C r r i i t t e e r r i i a a f f o o r r E E x x p p a a n n s s i i o o n nStrategically balance the elimination of the capital backlog with rehabilitation and expansion projects, meeting the Game Plan priorities: 1. Develop neighborhood and community-scale parks, tree canopy improvements, and connections in neighborhoods of greatest needs. 2.Develop or rehabilitate recreation centers in neighborhoods of greatest need. 3.Complete the system: Achieve parity in neighborhoods of moderate need, and plan for growth through bonds.

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All DPR budget decisions will support sustainable economics. This assures that DPR can maintain physical resources that are high quality, equitable, and can be preserved for future generations and can provide high quality programs.Recommendations1.Strengthen DPRs internal abilities and efficiencies.Demonstrate cost savings in all divisions.Dedicate staff time to increase innovative funding sources and partnershipsDocument and publish operating and capital savings, as well as additional value for users.Strengthen staff accountability through both incentives and repercussions 2.Strengthen business relationships and partnerships:Improve relationships with foundations by clarifying expectations, roles, and responsibilities, and accountability.Expand partnerships, such as those with the Denver Public Schools and the City Park AllianceImprove concession practices. Make concessionaire agreements more equitable, businesslike, and responsive in the following ways:Draft a city policy clarifying goals for both DPR and the business, outlining appropriate concessionaire situations.Draft a city policy that clarifies the Citys primary goals and priorities for concessionaires, enterprise funds, and partnerships: ensuring the citys capital resources are well cared for and public service is provided.Address concessionaire concerns about the physical conditions of resources and the reinvestment needed to ensure positive cash flow and profits.Define responsibilities for capital repairs.Enforce and monitor contracts.Increase concessionaire opportunities by providing more visitor services at City Park, Red Rocks, and other sites.Increase revenues from sponsorships and other nontraditional methods in the following ways:Reconsider DPR policies that prohibit or discourage sponsorships,Pursue more actively approved shortterm sponsorship opportunities, such as naming rights for tournaments,  the Citys primary goals and priorities for concessionaires, enterprise funds, and partnerships: ensuring the citys capital resources are well cared for and public service is provided.Ž GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 9 „ Sound economics: financing maintenance and expansion 125financingmaintenance&expansion GOAL FOR SUSTAINABLE ECONOMICS

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soundeconomics:advertising banners at events, and fees for movie and filming locations.Seek grants more actively. 3.Increase and stabilize operations and capital revenues for recreation:Initiate new recreation fees that are simpler, consistent, and reflect value-based programming.Revise fees to reflect more true costs, increasing the rate of return to the city. A 10 percent increase in recreation fees, for example, could generate an additional $1.5 million annually. Denvers fees for ball field use and some recreation programs are significantly lower than those in other urban park systems and neighboring communities.Provide a system of reduced fees and scholarships to ensure that no one is denied access to a recreation programProvide recreation staff incentives through a cost-accounting system that acknowledges the revenues DPR has raised.Ensure consistent, citywide training for recreation center staffs, administrative procedures, fees, and marketing.Increase marketing efforts for recreation programs.Enhance outdated recreation centers and equipment to make programs more competitive with private fitness and recreation facilities.Encourage joint ventures and partnerships with sports leagues and other institutions to provide recreation programs and construct facilities. 4.Assure adequate funding for capital Maintenance and Repairs and daily operations in parksW ork with Budget and Management to determine the most stable and comprehensive capital and operating funding plan over time for DPR. Analyze all possible funding sources within the legal constraints, such as TABOR, including:increased tax revenues.dedicated revenues through tax increases.new taxes, such as real estate transfer taxesbenefit districts around appropriate parks or along parkways.user fees and partnerships in special locations, such as the fees for Summit Lake on Mountain Evans now being tested. See the figure (Evaluation of Selected Options) for more detail.outsourcing aspectsConduct life-cycle assessments of major systems to project future capital repair expenditures.Use life cycle costing when making design and construction decisions regarding the life of a project. In September 2002,City Council passed recreation program and ball field increases, anticipated to add up to $1.2 million in additional operating revenues yearly. 126

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Ensure that all new construction uses sustainable building and management techniques.Pursue partnerships with Denver Water and other funding sources to replace outdated irrigation systems or to convert systems to non-potable water. 5.Identify and secure funding for capital expansion:Require developing areas (new vertical or horizontal development) to contribute to the costs of growth.Leverage resources by coordinating funding with other agencies and by targeting projects, such as those identified in Blueprint Denver and the Bicycle Master Plan, that are on other agency agendas.Consider other local district and citywide funding sources, such as parkway districts, neighborhood and sidewalk improvement fees.Strengthen partnerships with Urban Drainage and Flood Control, Public Works and other agencies for park improvements and possible joint ventures along drainage ways.Ensure that city-wide capital bond issues reflect Game Plan capital prioritiesThe General ConclusionsOver the past several decades, the demands of operating DPR have outstripped revenues moderately. Adequate capital funds existed to keep up with repair and maintenance but were used, as well, for expansion and upgrades. Consequently, DPR has had a $16 million gap in capital funds for currently identified repairs and expansions, creating a growing list of unfunded projects.FOOTNOTES1A separate statistical survey conducted by the BMO in 2002 confirmed this high satisfaction with Denver park maintenance and programs: 61% were highly satisfied with recreation programs; 61% highly satisfied with recreation facilities; 68% highly satisfied with maintenance/appearance of parks; and 6 1% highly satisfied with maintenance/appearance of recreation facilities. 2 In 2002 Parks and Recreation and Budget and Management Office began clarifying definitions and dividing the capital needs into either Capital Maintenance and Repair or Capital Upgrades and Expansion projects for the first time. Some projects are difficult to categorize and some overlap exists. 3C lose to $50 million of that $100 million in CIF funds is earmarked for Green Valley Ranch, Stapleton, and Parkfield development. Stapleton and Lowry have additional funding sources (tax increment financing) for park development. GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 9 „ Sound economics: financing maintenance and expansion 127financingmaintenance&expansion

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Next steps:the framework for implementationThe Game Plans main goalis to offer a framework that articulates values and offers guidelines for change and growth. It provides a vision of Denver as a City in a Park and outlines what it will take to get there in the coming decades. How does DPR begin to implement this plan? What happens in the next year or two? This chapter outlines those first steps. Chapter 10

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nextsteps:Implementing any plan takes three key ingredients: the organizational ability (staffing, skills, city-wide partnerships); political will and funding; and accountability. Success takes ingenuity, flexibility, and an on-going community mandate. And moving forward requires measurable, doable steps to create success and momentum Although the Game Plan is a policy framework plan to guide future budgets and decisionmaking, the plan does identify a number of critical first steps. Transforming Denver into a city in a park will take citywide agency cooperation and extensive partnerships, as well as an additional level of detailed planning „ for example, applying new guidelines to individual park master plans. In the next few months, DPR staff, with guidance from the Advisory Board, will select priorities and set long-range budgets from the following recommendations. As noted earlier in the plan, the Game Plan Community Advisory Committee deliberately did not prioritize one value over another or one recommendation over the other, except where clear public opinion pointed to early projects. The committee decided that setting priorities and work plans clearly was the role of city staff, with on-going community input. The following tables chart these early steps for success: for organizational strength, continued planning, early capital projects, and improved management.City Park, circa 1890 These are (parks) the only places (where) vast numbers of persons (are) brought closely together, poor and rich, young and old...each individual adding by his mere presence to the pleasure of all others.Ž F redrick Law Olmsted, 1870 (on Central Park and Prospect Park)130 SETTING THE STAGE FOR SUCCESS

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2002-2003 STEPS FOR ORGANIZATIONAL STRENGTHDPR needs to begin by building both its internal organizational capacity and its external partnerships with other city agencies and organizations. TaskLeadOther Agencies 1. Create a Natural Resource Unit. Fund new position for director in 2004. And create a city wide Natural Resource Working Group DPR Manager EH; Wastewater; PW 2. Create historic preservation specialization and responsibility. And create a city wide Parkways Work Group. DPR Planning, Design & Construction CDPA; Denver Landmark Commission; PW 3. Create professional job descriptions for mayoral appointments. Senior Staff 4. Create a Communications Division with DPR. Fund new development position in 2004. Manager 5. Develop division performance standards and methods of accountability. Senior Staff 6. Develop a lead liaison with Denver Public Schools. Senior Staff 7. Provide staff training for implementing the Game Plan. Senior Staff/ Planning 8. Complete a Memorandum of Understanding between DPR, CPDA, and PW on responsibilities and budget process.* DPR Planning; CDPA; PW Denver Landmark Commission This is an expansion of a 2002 MOU completed between PW and DPR. K ids GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 10 „ Next steps: the framework for implementation 131theframeworkforimplementation

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nextsteps:2002-2003 STEPS FOR CONTINUED PLANNINGBoth the DPR Game Plan and Blueprint Denver are framework plans, requiring continued, detailed planning that is specific to parts of the system or geographically. DPR has an important role in leading or participating in these studies. TaskLeadOther Agencies 1. Provide leadership in city wide drought plan for all of DPRs and city owned resources. Natural Resource Director Denver Water; Wastewater; CDPA; PW 2. Participate in city wide team researching potential operating and capital funding strategies and sources. B&MDPR Senior Staff 3. Complete comprehensive irrigation-system study. Planning & Design Denver Water 4. Complete comprehensive restroom study, cost estimates, and implementation strategy. Planning & Design PW, Denver Police 5. Participate in the city wide Pedestrian Master Plan. PW DPR Planning & Design; Forestry; CPDA 6. Participate in on-going Stormwater Master Plan, Water Quality studies and Transportation Master Plan. PWDPR Natural Resource Unit, Planning & Design; EH; PW 7. Provide a liaison and review for the CDPA Small Area and Corridor Plans. Planning & Design 8. Research perceived inequities in maintenance and amenities through field study. Planning & Design 9. Fund and complete a city wide Recreation Facility Study for all recreation centers in 2003. Determine playing field demand. Planning & Design/Recreati on Non-profits T oilet sketch 132

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2002-2003 STEPS FOR EARLY CAPITAL PROJECTSA number of projects were identified through the public process as logical first steps, because of the strong advocacy, potential private partners, and fewer capital costs. TaskLeadOther Agencies 1. Create a Dog Roundtable and produce city wide dog area management guidelines, locations in each quadrant of the city, and pilot test one area. Planning & Design Animal Control/EH 2. Find an appropriate location and pilot test one disc golf site. Planning & Design 3. Analyze existing facilities to possible reuse, i.e. inline hockey, etc. Planning & Design GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 10 „ Next steps: the framework for implementation 133theframeworkforimplementation

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nextsteps:2002-2003 STEPS FOR MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENTSNot only is the public expecting a higher level of service and accountability, but the financial sustainability of the system depends upon immediate research and strategies. The current drought also calls for leadership, long-range plans and immediate actions. TaskLeadOther Agencies 1. Implement a drought plan and reduce water consumption by 30%. Natural Resource Unit/all divisions Denver Water; CPDA; PW; Wastewater 2. Have all drinking fountains working by summer 2003 Parks 3. Create an eyes on the parkŽ community partnership. Parks Planning & Design 4. Pilot test a ranger program in both urban and mountain parks. SafetyParks 5. Complete evaluation of recreation fees and generate at least $1.5 million additional revenues through increases. Recreation Council action 6. Provide bilingual signage and materials in recreation centers. RecreationPlanning & Design 7. Provide staff training for implementing the Game Plan. Planning & Design All divisions 134

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The hope of the Game Plan Community Advisory Committee was that the Game Plan not only fill a long-standing planning void but be the catalyst for an on-going dialogue with the people of Denver and continual process of assessment. It will take the vigilance and stewardship of Denver residents to ensure that this happens and that the plan is implemented. Denvers parks and recreation facilities have grown and endured for 134 years, whatever the cycle „ budget, leadership change, good and bad financial times. The goal for the Game Plan is to be one tool to protect this legacy and ensure that it thrives.A Note from the Game Plan Community Advisory Committee to Denver residents: The last thing we wantfor the Game Plan is for it to grow dusty on the shelf, to be ignored by city staff, managers, and political leaders. It is a vision for Denver and its parks and recreation facilities based on a broad public mandate. It should be difficult to ignore. Even so, it will take political and citizen courage and scrutiny to keep the city sticking to these timeless values of equity, sustainability, and engagement. We hope that Denver residents will stay involved, keep talking, asking questions, and expecting the most from their city leaders and staff.Ž Bacon is fun „ unless youre a pig GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureCHAPTER 10 „ Next steps: the framework for implementation 135theframeworkforimplementation C ONCLUSIONS

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Appendix

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appendixa:Benchmark:A minimum standard or existing condition against which to compare progress. Denvers current tree canopy sets a benchmark of 6 percent. Breathing Spaces:safe, accessible, open spaces within six blocks of home (could be a variety of places, such as small park, community garden, Learning Landscape, natural area)Brownfields:Abandoned industrial sites, often tainted by pollution. In Denver, some brownfields have been cleansed, made safe for humans, and converted to parks or new development.Bulbout:A traffic-calming device that protects pedestrians by extending the sidewalk into the street right-of-way at intersections. Grade-separated crossings:Street crossings that separate pedestrians from auto traffic by a bridge or tunnel under the road. Green Streets:Streets that connect people to parks, schools, transit stops, and connect these civic places to each other. They have adequate tree lawns for trees and sidewalks.Level of service:A standard for cities to provide parks and recreation. National levels of service might suggest an optimum 10 acres of parkland for each 1,000 residents, located within a half-mile of their homes.Lifecycle cost analysis:The total cost of a building, tool, or maintenance technique. F or example, a lawnmower that costs $100 but lasts only five years has a higher lifecycle cost than a $200 lawnmower that last 20 years. Nonpoint pollution sources:P ollution that cannot be traced to a single source like a smokestack. For example, nonpoint pollution may be contained in stormwater carrying detergents and oils from paved surfaces into streams. P erformance goal:The desired level of service or amenity. One of Denvers performance goals is to achieve tree canopy of 18 percent in neighborhoods by planting at least 50,000 new shade trees along city streets. 138 GAME PLAN GLOSSARY

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T ransit-oriented development (TOD):Development that takes advantage of public transit by concentrating a mix of homes and commercial development within a quarter-mile of a transit stop, the maximum distance most people will walk. T ODs are designed with walkable streets. U niversal access:The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all public buildings and spaces to be accessible to people with mobility, vision, and other impairments. The best way to achieve universal access is through universal designs that seamlessly combine access with facilities that are used by everyone. GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureAPPENDIX A „ glossary 139glossary

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appendixb:1.Our Long-Term Physical EnvironmentEnvironmental SustainabilityGOAL:Preserve and enhance the natural environment. Objective 1:Distribute environmental burdens and benefits Objective 2:Ensure environmental stewardship of natural resources, taking into account the entire ecosystem, not just human needs. Objective 4:Achieve environmental sustainability in all aspects of planningƒ Objective 5:Encourage the broad participation and cooperation of the entire metropolitan communityƒ.Land useGOAL:Manage growth and change through effective land-use policies to sustain Denvers high quality of life. Objective 1:Balance and coordinate Denvers mix of land uses to sustain a healthy economy, support the use of alternative transportation and enhance quality of life in the city. Citywide Land Use and Transportation Plan. (1-B) Ensuring that the Citywide Land Use and Transportation Plan reinforces the citys character by building on a legacy of high-quality urban designƒpreservation of historic districts and landscapes; and maintaining the integrity of the street grid, parks, parkways and open space system. Objective 3:Preserve and enhance the individuality, diversity and livability of Denvers neighborhoods and expand the vitality of Denvers business centers.MobilityGOAL:Anticipate and meet the expanding mobility needs of residentsƒ Objective 1:Diverse Mobility Options. (1-C) Provide Denvers diverse residents, workers and visitors with a choice of transportation modes that are safe and convenient. Identify areas throughout the city where transportation policies should reflect pedestrian priorities. Objective 8:Walking and Bicycling. Provide safe and convenient facilities to encourage bicycling and walking for commuting, recreation and other trips. (8-B) Ensure that sidewalks are continuous along all major Denver streetsƒ140 PLAN 2000 OBJECTIVES BACKED BY THE GAME PLAN

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Denvers LegaciesGOAL:Use the best of Denvers architectural and landscape legacies to guide the future. Objective 1:Protect and continue Denvers legacy of inspired urban design in the public realm. Objective 2:In new development, adapt Denvers traditional urban design character to new needs, expectations and technologies. Objective 4:Reinforce the design quality, function and character of connections among public places and activity centers, recognizing that they are places in their own right and an important part of the public realm. Objective 5:Preserve Denvers historic resources. Objective 6:Ensure that City policies support historic preservation. Objective 7:Support historic preservation in neighborhoods. Objective 8:Support increased public awareness of historic preservation through education and marketing. Objective 9:Plan for the maintenance and expansion of Denvers parks and recreation system. Objective 10:Protect and enhance the Citys natural areas and mountain parks. Objective 11:Strengthen Denvers system of greenŽ connection, trails, bicycle routes, parkways, greenways and watercourses. Objective 12:Protect the environmental while maintaining the Citys parks to high standards. Objective 13:Provide all Denver residents with access to innovative recreation programs that are responsive to community needs and especially to youth. Objective 14:Promote interagency cooperation to encourage shared facilities for community use.2.Long-Term Human EnvironmentEconomic ActivityGOAL:Create a sustainable economy that provides opportunities for all. Objective 1:Workforce development and Support. (1D) In partnership with business, support DPS in its quest to become a firstrate urban school district Objective 2:Stimulate the growth of business and the creation of good jobs with business-friendly environment.NeighborhoodsGOAL:Build on the assets of every neighborhood to foster a citywide sense of community Objective 1:A City of Neighborhoods. Strengthen the positive and distinctive character of each neighborhoodƒ GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureAPPENDIX B „ plan 2000 objectives backed by the game plan 141plan2000objectives

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appendixb:Objective 2:Communication, Partnership, P articipation. Engage neighborhood residents and organizations in collaborative efforts to share information, solve problems and plan for the future. Objective 3:Clean, safe neighborhoods. Make neighborhoods clean and safe places that inspire community pride, where residents and visitors feel secure and comfortable. Objective 4:Collaborate with Denver Public Schools (DPS) to strengthen the role of neighborhood schools as community focal points. Objective 5:Management and maintenance of Community Facilities. Maintain the physical and operational integrity of community facilities. Objective 6:Collaborative Decision-Making. Improve the decision-making process for both new facilities and the expansion of existing facilities. Objective 7:Plan for community facilities and strive for fair distribution, sensitive siting and quality design to minimize their impact on neighborhoods.EducationGOAL:Provide Denver residents with lifelong learning opportunities Objective 1:Working Together. Continue to strengthen the City-school partnership. Objective 2:Ensure that Denver children enter school ready to succeed by improving the quality and availability of early childhood care, education and child development services. Objective 4:Support the efforts of no-English speaking individuals to both learn English and maintain fluency in their native language. Objective 5:Schools as Neighborhood Centers. Meet the educational, vocational, social, recreational and health needs of the communities by supporting the use of schools as neighborhood centers Objective 6:Provide adults with opportunities to continue learning throughout life.Human ServicesGOAL:Connect people in need to opportunity and support. Objective 3:Enhance the capacity of neighborhoods to nurture and support community members. Objective 4:Provide all children and youth with a safe and supportive environment in which to thrive. Objective 5:Support and enhance efforts that help older adults meet their basic needs, maintain their independence, and provide them with lifestyle choices.Arts and CultureGOAL:Strengthen and expand the arts and culture by integrating them into the social and economic fabric of the city.142

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Objective 1:Support and promote a flourishing artistic community. Objective 2:Encourage the development and maintenance of facilities within Denver to support diverse cultural and artistic activities. Objective 4:Broaden the scope, richness and attachment to the arts in Denver by encouraging ethnic diversity in cultural expression. Objective 6:Value the arts within the civic realm.3.Metropolitan CooperationGOAL:Foster cooperation and share leadership on regional issues. Objective 1:Growth Management. Share the benefits and mitigate the impacts of growth by forming partnerships with our metropolitan neighborsƒ Objective 3:Revenue Sharing. Work with other jurisdictions and state government on methods to modify government revenue streams so that the finance systems support efficient and stable growth. Objective 5:Natural Resources. Create a shared metropolitan commitment to the conservation and quality of our natural resources. Objective 6:Openness to Cooperation. Encourage cooperation with metropolitan neighbors by fostering a climate of open, respectful communicationƒ4.ImplementationGOAL:Implement Denver Comprehensive Plan 200 in a manner that preserve the integrity of its vision while responding to changing conditions. Objective 1:Establish action priorities for funding and implementation through the annual budget process. Objective 2:Regularly track and report progress in achieving the vision, goals and objectives of Plan 2000. Objective 3:Continuously update Plan 2000. GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureAPPENDIX B „ plan 2000 objectives backed by the game plan 143plan2000objectives

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appendixc:These priorities are organized from a park perspective, i.e. neighborhoods that need more park amenities. Schools identified in the UCD/DPS School Master Plans are noted. And, indicates playgrounds already completed as of 1/2003.1. BREATHING SPACES „ smaller neighborhood open spacesSchools in Neighborhoods of greatest need:(areas of greatest growth and with less than 75% of basic park amenities)Amesse Elementary Ashley Elementary Alternative Transition School (Emerson St. School) Barnum Elementary Castro Elementary (DPS/UCD 2001-2002 Master Plan) Cheltenham Elementary Colfax Elementary (DPS/UCD 2000-2001 Master Plan) College View Elementary (DPS/UCD 1999-2000 Master Plan) Cowell Elementary Denison Elementary *Eagleton Elementary Fo rce Elementary *Knapp Elementary (DPS/UCD 1999-2000 Master Plan) *Munroe Elementary (DPS/UCD 2001-2002 Master Plan) Newton Elementary Schenck Elementary (DPS/UCD OfflinePlanning for Master Plan)Schools in Neighborhoods of moderate need:(areas with stable growth and with less than 75% of basic park amenities)Barret Elementary Bryant Webster Elementary (DPS/UCD 2001-2002 Master Plan) Columbian Elementary (DPS/UCD 2001-2002 Master Plan) *Columbine Elementary Doull Elementary Ellis Elementary Fa llis Elementary (DPS/UCD 2001-2002 Master Plan) *Fairmont Elementary *GreenLee Elementary Hallet Elementary Kunsmiller Middle McKinnley-Thatcher Elementary Moore Elementary (DPS/UCD 1999-2000 Master Plan) Morey Elementary *Parkhill Elementary Phillips Elementary (DPS/UCD 2000-2001 Master Plan) Sabin Elementary Samuels Elementary Slavens Elementary *Smedley Elementary *Smith Elementary Stedman Elementary *Swansea ElementarySchools in all other neighborhoods:Asbury Elementary Brown Elementary (DPS/UCD 2000-2001 Master Plan) Bradely Elementary Centennial Elementary (DPS/UCD 1999-2000 Master Plan) Del Pueblo Elementary Edison Elementary (DPS/UCD 2001-2002 Master Plan)144 DPS LEARNING LANDSCAPES/COMMUNITY SPACES

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*Garden Place Elementary Godsman Elementary Goldrick Elementary Grant Middle Henry Middle Hill Elementary *Kaiser Elementary Lincoln Elementary (DPS/UCD 1999-2000 Master Plan) Mitchell/ Cole Elementary (DPS/UCD 2002-2003 Master Plan) Te ller Elementary Whiteman Elementary (DPS/UCD 1999-2000 Master Plan) Wy man Elementary2. COMMUNITY SPACES „ larger community open spacesCommunity Spaces in Neighborhoods of greatest need:F ord Elementary Lake Middle School McGlove Elementary Montbello High School Oakland ElementaryCommunity Spaces in Neighborhoods of moderate need:Baker Middle School George Washington High School Hamilton Middle/ Holm Elementary North High School Place Middle School Regis University Smiley Middle School Thomas Jefferson High School V aldez ElementaryCommunity Spaces in all other neighborhoods:Carson Elementary Cory Merrill (DPS/UCD OfflinePlanning for Master Plan) East High School Gove Middle (DPS/UCD OfflinePlanning for Master Plan) John F. Kennedy High School Manuel High School Mullen High School Rishel Middle School Skinner Middle School South High School Stock Elementary W est High SchoolAdditional Schools in DPS/UCD Master Plans and not identified by Game Plan:Beach Court Elementary *Bromwell Elementary Carson Elementary Cheltenham Elementary *Cowell Elementary *Crofton Elementary *Eagleton Elementary Ebert Elementary *Fairview Elementary Gilpin Elementary Gust Elementary Marrama Elementary McGlone Elementary Pioneer Charter Elementary *Remington Elementary Southmoor Elementary T raylor Elementary *Whittier Elementary GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureAPPENDIX C „ dps learning landscapes & community spaces 145dpsbreathingspaces

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146 Proposed Greenstreets „ Indexappendixd: GREEN STREETS

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureAPPENDIX D „ green street maps 147greenstreetsmaps

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148 appendixd:

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureAPPENDIX D „ green street maps 149greenstreetsmaps

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appendixe150 WA TER CONSERVATION GUIDELINES

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureAPPENDIX ?? „ ??????????????? 151appendixfRecreation Center Service Areas RECREATION CENTER MAPS

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appendixf:152 Indoor Pools

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureAPPENDIX F „ recreation center maps 153recreationcentermapsOutdoor Pools

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appendixf:154 Gymnasiums

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GAME PLAN „ creating a strategy for our futureAPPENDIX F „ recreation center maps 155recreationcentermapsDedicated Weight Rooms

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156 Dedicated Aerobic and Dance Facilities