by Paul Kashmann, Denver City Council District 6
Raising the bar at Cook Park
The design process is underway for upgrades at Cook Park which will include improvements to the playground, basketball court, and walks. The playground was identified as needing improvements as it is one of the older playgrounds in the Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) system and does not meet current DPR standards. The basketball court is adjacent to the playground and was included in the scope of park improvements as it is in poor condition, with a cracking surface. The walks have been identified by community members and maintenance and operations teams as deteriorating, unsafe, and in need of major repair/replacement.
Funding for these improvements comes from both the DPR Capital Improvement Program and the Elevate Denver Bond Program, passed by voters in 2017. The total budget for this project is $1,075,000 with $200,000 of bond funds for the walks, $750,000 CIP funds for the playground and $125,000 CIP funds for the basketball court. It is the intent of this project to design for all improvements so that the walks upgrades may be implemented once bond funds become available.
An initial virtual community meeting was held July 15th, as a visioning session to gather community input, primarily for the playground and basketball court. This meeting was an important first step in identifying community needs/desires for these park amenities and providing information about upcoming outreach efforts. The design team held a second meeting in August with a focus group of community members and stakeholders to identify user needs and desires for inclusive play components within the playground improvements. The design is intended to be completed in January of this coming year. Construction is anticipated on all elements in 2021 if the bond funds for sidewalks are released as expected.
In response to a constituent question, there is currently no plan to require all residents to widen sidewalks that do not meet current Denver code. However, if a homeowner engages in renovations on their home that exceed $100,000 in value, they will be required to improve their sidewalks to city code requirements. As you may know, maintenance of sidewalks is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. Denver began its first formal comprehensive sidewalk repair program two years ago, dividing the city into 11 regions with the intent of moving through the city one region per year. Inspectors go block by block evaluating sidewalks for needed repairs. If repairs are required, homeowners can do the work themselves or take advantage of a city-contracted firm and cost reductions based on income challenges. Unfortunately, that program has moved much more slowly than anticipated and is being reviewed for possible changes.
For details, visit: denvergov.org/parkprojects