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River Vision

Project details

The goal of the River Vision Implementation project is to make the South Platte River corridor the premier outdoor recreation destination and an environmental educational resource for the city and the state.

The overall project includes three related projects that will enhance sections of the South Platte River and the parks along its banks from West Harvard Avenue in south Denver downstream (north) approximately three miles to West 3rd Avenue in central Denver. All of the projects proposed in this initiative are priorities in the River Vision Implementation Plan (RVIP), completed in 2011 with solid public support.

Thanks to a generous GOCO grant for $4.1 million, and public/private matching funds of over $10 million, the resulting $15 million project is expected to break ground in the Fall of 2013 and be complete in 2015.

Continuing the legacy of River access, as envisioned for the South Platte River Greenway in the 1970’s, is a cornerstone of the River Implementation Plan. Boating, tubing, fishing and wildlife watching in an urban environment are the focus of Grant Frontier Park and Overland Regional Park improvements.

Master Plan Summary

Grant Frontier to Overland Pond

Construction Budget:     $7,250,000

Construction start:          June 2014

Construction end:            June 2015

Project Goals:

  •          Create a new, multi-use recreational destination along the S. Platte River
  •          Reconfigure the drop structures and river channel to improve opportunities for boating, tubing, fishing and wildlife watching
  •          Provide multiple new access points to the river for recreation
  •          Restore and enhance wetland, riparian and upland habitat along 1.25 miles of river
  •          Reimagine, redesign and reconstruct Pasquinel’s Landing and Grant Frontier North Parks to create a series of new ‘River Parks’
  •          Increase floodplain volume and conveyance
  •          Improve water quality and treatment

Project Summary:

  •          Reconstruction of existing Florida drop structure into multiple drop structures upstream to provide safe boating and tubing
  •          Various in-river structures to create macro and micro-invertebrate habitat and fish 
  •          New ‘River Park’ at Grant Frontier North with secondary channel, island, habitat terraces and environmental play
  •          Natural play area with custom play structure, sculptural play elements, natural materials and a water play feature
  •          New ‘River Park’ at Pasquinel’s Landing with expanded riparian habitat, walking and hiking trails, riverfront lawn terrace and adult fitness zone
  •          2,500+ lf of S. Platte River channel improvements upstream of Florida
  •          3,000+ lf of new 12’ SPR Trail
  •          4,000+ lf of new soft surface nature trails, benches and overlooks along river
  •          Removal of invasive exotic plant species
  •          Native wetland, riparian and upland vegetation restoration

Master Plan Graphic

Budget:                              $2,700,000

Construction start:          January 2014

Construction end:            August 2014

Project Summary:

  • Signature concrete jetty at confluence of S Platte River and Weir Gulch
  • Signature curved bridge across Weir Gulch along SPR Trail
  • Natural play area with custom play structure, sculptural play elements, natural materials and a water play feature
  • Flexible turf areas for play
  • 900+ lf of Weir Gulch channel improvements
  • 525+ lf of new 12’ SPR Trail
  • 950+ lf of new 10’ Weir Gulch trail
  • Native wetland, riparian and upland vegetation

Project Goals:

  • Create an entry point to SPR Trail with better connections to adjacent bike routes and neighborhood access
  • Restore a more natural drainange corridor along Weir Gulch
  • Increase floodplain volume and conveyance
  • Improve water quality and treatment
  • Improve fish and macro invertebrate habitat
  • Provide natural play area and flexible turf spaces

The confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek is the historic birthplace of Denver. The revitalization of the River began in the 1970’s with the construction of Shoemaker Plaza, the regional trail and the cantilevered ramps.

View trail detour page for more information. 

Master Plan Summary

Confluence Park – Master Plan

Estimated Budget:           $42,000,000

Construction start:          September 2014 (see Phase 1 below)

Construction end:            TBD

 

Project Guiding Principles:

  •          A Unified Whole – Bring all three parts of Confluence Park together as a unique and cohesive public space at the historic birthplace of Denver
  •          A Place to Touch the Water – Create ‘Denver’s Beach’ at the confluence of Denver’s two major rivers while simultaneously improving water quality and raising public awareness
  •          A “Third Place” – Activate park edges with restaurants and businesses to create a vibrant outdoor living space for Downtown residents, employees and visitors
  •          A Venue for Regional Gathering – Enhance the ability for Confluence Park to host major outdoor events, festivals, competitions and other major civic events

 

Project Summary:

Confluence West

  •    Shoemaker Plaza
  •    SPR Greenway Trail improvements and connections
  •    Enhanced whitewater course

Confluence East

  •    Nuesteiter Plaza
  •    Seating terraces and ramps
  •    Flexible lawn space

Speer Point

  •    Sloping event lawn
  •    Vendor space at point
  •    Ramps from Speer to Cherry Creek trail

Confluence Park – Phase 1: Shoemaker Plaza

Construction Budget:     $3,400,000

Construction start:          September 2014

Construction end:            TBD

 

Project Goals:

  •          Improve bike circulation and access along the SPR Greenway Trail at Confluence West
  •          Replace existing ‘zig-zag’ bike and pedestrian ramps
  •          Reconstruct and expand Shoemaker Plaza
  •          Improve existing whitewater course upstream of Shoemaker Plaza

 

Project Summary:

  •          Pedestrian promenade above the west side of the river
  •          Accessible ramp connecting the SPR Greenway Trail under 15th Street
  •          Seating terrace overlooking river
  •          Expanded event space in Shoemaker Plaza
  •          Steps down to river edge
  •          Enhanced native and ornamental plantings

 

Vanderbilt / Johnson Habitat Parks

Construction Budget:     $5,250,000

Construction start:          March 2014

Construction end:            June 2015

 

Project Goals:

  •          Reimagine, redesign and reconstruct Johnson Habitat Park into an environmental education center and community park asset
  •          Provide new access points to the river for recreation and education
  •          Create a series of fun and innovative nature play/education elements
  •          Celebrate the rich history of the river
  •          Improve water quality and treatment by collecting and cleaning stormwater through a series of bio-filtration
  •          Increase floodplain volume and conveyance
  •          Improve wildlife habitat

 

Project Summary:

  •          Environmental education elements including:  river overlook, outdoor classroom with cottonwood themed trellis, urban camping area and    riverside gathering space with firepit
  •          Nature play elements including:  climbing platforms, rock sculptures, wiki-up area, sand play and ‘fox hollow’ 
  •          Signature concrete jetty along river
  •          Flexible turf areas for informal play
  •          1,000+ lf of bank stabilization and riparian restoration along river
  •          3,000+ lf of new 12’ SPR Trail, including new underpasses at Santa Fe Drive and Alameda Avenue
  •          Removal of invasive exotic plant species
  •          Native wetland, riparian and upland vegetation restoration

The  Denver Urban Waterways Restoration Study
is a project to identify restorative improvements to three major urban waterways (Harvard Gulch, Weir Gulch, and the South Platte River from 6th to 58th Avenues) in the City and County of Denver: sponsored by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD), City and County of Denver (CCD), and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB).  Learn more.

urban waterways restoration study area map