FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday December 4, 2007
Sue Cobb, Mayor's Office, 720-865-9016
Councilwoman Jeanne Robb’s Office, 303-377-1807
CITY WEIGHS IN ON CIVIC CENTER PARK
Following 6-Month Public Process, Mayor Hickenlooper and Councilwoman Robb Take Official Position on Colorado Historical Society Proposal
Following a six-month public process on the future of Civic Center Park
, Mayor John Hickenlooper and District 10 Councilwoman Jeanne Robb laid out a proposal Tuesday to restore and reenergize the historic urban space. In a letter to Civic Center Park stakeholders on Tuesday, they outlined potential opportunities in which the City could partner with the State to restore the historic Carnegie Library to public use as a new Colorado History Museum, create a public cultural space in the park for year-round programming, and establish a nearby community cultural center to facilitate the park’s activation.
Flanked by Bannock on the west, Broadway on the east, Colfax on the north and 14th Ave. on the south, Civic Center Park is located between the Denver City and County Building and the Colorado State Capitol. Surrounded by the Denver Public Library, Denver Art Museum, the Golden Triangle and Capitol Hill neighborhoods and the Downtown Central Business District, the park provides an urban oasis connecting Denver’s civic, cultural, commercial and residential axes. Large festivals and a summer farmers market are among the park’s current uses.
In July 2007, the Colorado Historical Society asked the City of Denver to consider allowing the Colorado History Museum to locate inside Civic Center by utilizing portions of a restored McNichols Building (Carnegie Library), building a new companion building of equal mass and scale to the McNichols Building in the southwest corner of the park, and creating an underground exhibit space between the two buildings. During the course of the extensive six-month public process that followed, the proposal sparked valuable community conversations about the park’s history and future, how best to activate it, and how best to honor and enhance its significance.
Having evaluated the feedback from stakeholder groups, concerned individuals and members of Denver City Council, Hickenlooper and Robb are offering a counterproposal to the Colorado Historical Society that involves the following primary elements:
1) Allowing the State to renovate the 1909 McNichols Building and develop adjacent underground exhibit space to house the Colorado History Museum;
2) Working with the State to construct a one-story glass exhibition hall (hopefully with a grass-covered roof) in the southwest corner of the park to serve as a public cultural center for year-round exhibits, programming and events, as well as a secondary entrance/exit for the underground exhibit space;
3) Renovation of the Permit Center (southwest corner of 14th & Bannock) to accommodate the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, cultural nonprofits and public cultural spaces, as well as provide possible space for Colorado History Museum offices and storage if needed.
“We realize that many unresolved details remain, but we look forward to an ongoing dialogue with the State on this proposal,” wrote Hickenlooper and Robb in their letter to park stakeholders, thanking Governor Bill Ritter and the Colorado Historical Society for providing a collaborative opportunity to consider. “We are grateful to all of the organizations, individuals City departments and City Council members that devoted time, energy and civic passion over the past six months to review the Colorado Historical Society’s proposal....We look forward to hearing from the community, City Council and the stakeholder groups whose feedback was instrumental in creating this proposal.”
“The State’s initial proposal, the subsequent public process and our counterproposal all reflect an unprecedented level of collaboration between the State of Colorado and the City of Denver. We are all better for having gone through this process, and we sincerely hope that a longstanding, mutually beneficial partnership will result.”
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