Commons Park

Downtown Denver, Colorado
Denver, CO

Submitted by: Amy Baker

A park located on a redeveloped site, on the banks of the Platte River.

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Why It Works

Commons Park took 10 years to be realized. It is currently located on a site that had been neglected for years as a result of the industrial revolution and the development of the railroads. What is now known as Commons Park sat as a brownfield property for years. The historic site has long been recognized as the birthplace of Denver. The park is part of a larger riverfront park system created by Mayor Wellington Webb. Its development has also been a catalyst for growth in the Central Platte Valley: on nearby abandoned fields, high-priced residential development as well as affordable housing is now under construction.

What Makes Commons Park a Great Place?

Commons is accessible by foot, bicycle, bus and car. It is consciously linked to surrounding neighborhoods by bridges, tunnels and paths. The only road that goes through the park area winds, as do the paths. It has recently become accessible by the free 16th Mall shuttle (which is closed to cars, and is accessible by shuttle bus). Families walk, cyclists connect to longer greenway routes via Commons Park.

Green open space and people dominate, not cars. The place feels as if it has always been there. The stairs serve as a means of circulation as well as seating. There is also seating throughout the park, along the promenade and under the shade structure. During the week in warmer months people eat lunch in the park. The area feels safe, is maintained by the City, is clean.

People were using the space before the park was completed, and although new it is already a preferred gathering space, bike and pedestrian route in the city. It also brings people back to Denver's main body of water, the Platte River. People sit and read, sled in winter, cycle in warmer months in Commons Park. After September 11th, someone planted American flags around the sky garden. It is already a significant Denver destination. The space is used for picnics and games, and pickup sports on weekends, although no formal play spaces were designed. Eventually, there will be sidewalk cafes across from the park's main promenade.

Due to the mix of natural and planned landscape, the park is a favorite field-trip destination. People walk, talk, eat, generally enjoy the environment and its access to the river and downtown Denver. People of all ages, together. Diverse ethnicity. Residents bring visitors to this park for walks, picnics, to cool off by the river in warm months.

History & Background

Commons is the largest park to be built in Denver in nearly 100 years. It was a combined effort of the community to make this park happen.

Contact Info:

Mark W. Johnson, President Civitas, Inc.: 303-571-0053

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