Denver reopened a portion of Civic Center Park on Wednesday after what the city called a “successful” cleanup of trash and drug paraphernalia, and it plans to add surveillance cameras and upgrade lighting.
The Department of Public Health and Environment closed the park and adjacent areas in September.
They will be reopened in increments. Pioneer Fountain at the corner of Broadway and Colfax, MacIntosh Park Plaza at 15th Avenue and Cleveland Street, and other areas within Civic Center Park remain closed.
Cyndi Karvaski, a spokeswoman for the Department of Parks and Recreation, said it could be months before the remaining portions of the park are reopened.
“Our biggest problem at Civic Center Park wasn’t the homeless; it was the drug dealing,” Karvaski said.
The department is going to hire an additional eight rangers to monitor the park, and new surveillance cameras will be installed with infrared technology to better see at night, Karvaski said. Lighting at the park will also be replaced with LED bulbs.
She said the stone the city is fixing on some of the walkways has been damaged because of graffiti, and it is a special kind of limestone that can’t be sourced anymore. Because of that, the city is going to be restoring that material for at least next few months and putting a protective layer over all the stone walkways.
Other stone historic structures also will be barricaded until the city finishes restoration work.
Civic Center Park was virtually empty around noon Wednesday, with most of the park still closed. Barricades lined the outer perimeter, but people could access the park through certain points of entry.
The department said it has removed all health hazards and the park is safe for people to visit. City staff collected “significant amounts” of food along with human and pet waste as well as discarded needles throughout Civic Center Park since the temporary closure began.
Dead or dying trees were removed and 19 additional trees were planted as part of the cleanup, the city said.
Like other Denver parks, Civic Center Park is closed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.