Civic Center Park Slated for Temporary Closure

Published on September 07, 2021

The City and County of Denver today announced an upcoming temporary closure of Civic Center Park and adjacent areas to abate significant public health and environmental health risks that have grown over the past several months and to rehabilitate one of the centerpieces of Denver’s parks system.  

The park will be temporarily closed to the public beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 15. Notice of the closure will be posted at the park tomorrow. During the closure, the park will be restored to a stable and safe state that is welcoming for all Denver residents. 

“The current challenges within Civic Center Park have reached a tipping point, creating conditions that put the public’s health and safety at risk,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “This cannot and will not be allowed to continue. This is the people’s park and we are taking steps so that everyone can once again feel safe and welcomed there.”  

Over the course of the last several weeks, officials from Denver Public Health & Environment have been monitoring conditions in Civic Center Park, Pioneer Fountain at the corner of Broadway and Colfax, and MacIntosh Park Plaza at 15th Ave. and Cleveland St. for health and environmental hazards which create ongoing unhealthy conditions for all users of the park. Many unsafe conditions were noted, including: litter and food waste that attract bugs and rodents; dozens of rodent burrows; human and pet waste which contribute to the spread of disease and impact water quality; and improperly discarded needles and other drug paraphernalia that creates risks to people visiting the area and to workers tasked with maintaining the area. 

In recent weeks, excessive amounts of trash have accumulated each day, consisting of discarded food, as well as human and hazardous waste, resulting in additional labor hours and rodent infestation.  Graffiti and fire damage to the historical stone structures will require professional restoration.   A thorough evaluation of the park is also required to ensure all hazardous waste is properly identified and removed.

“The goal of Denver Parks and Recreation is to restore Civic Center Park, Denver’s beloved National Historic Landmark in the heart of our city, by providing a safe, clean and inviting public space”, said Happy Haynes, Executive Director of Parks and Recreation.      

In addition to the public health risks observed in Civic Center, the park and surrounding areas have become a hotspot for violence, crime, drug sales and substance misuse, jeopardizing the public’s ability to safely enjoy one of Denver’s treasured outdoor spaces. 

To address these issues, Civic Center Park and adjacent areas will be closed until further notice for mitigation and restoration work. During the park closure, park grounds will be cleaned and cleared and DPR will rehabilitate and revitalize areas of the park that have been significantly damaged this summer. When work is complete and all public health issues have been mitigated, Civic Center Park and surrounding areas will be reopened as a safe, clean and inviting public space.     

During the closure, DPR will restore turf in the park, including rodent mitigation, reseeding and making upgrades to the irrigation system. DPR will also trim trees and begin installation of additional lighting upgrades throughout the park.  

The closure is temporary, and Civic Center Park will re-open when abatement measures have been completed and the park is safe for everyone to use. Organizers of scheduled events in Civic Center Park are being contacted for relocation to other park properties.  

The city provides numerous services and has outreach teams working every day to connect people experiencing homelessness with services and housing. Outreach teams have and will continue to engage with people in the downtown area and throughout the city to provide resources for substance misuse, mental health services, and access to temporary and permanent housing.   

View proposed closure map