City Loop is intended to be a new, multi-generational activity and play area that would replace the existing Dustin Redd playground, which is in need of significant repair or replacement after nearly 20 years of use.  The goal behind the current City Loop concept is to create a new area that gives everyone using the park – from small children to older adults – an opportunity to remain active and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. 

While the project design was chosen through a very public process that started more than 18 months ago, it is clear that our outreach requires more work.  In recent weeks, we’ve received additional feedback that will help guide us through the development of this project.  We’ve also heard from many residents in the City Park area that have concerns about the project.  We want to be sure that we address those concerns and present a project that can be successful in City Park..

As such, here are DPR’s next steps are with regard to the City Loop project:

  • Effective immediately, we have put all fundraising efforts on hold for City Loop.
  • Our Parks planning and maintenance staff is evaluating all maintenance and renovation needs in City Park and putting a plan in place to address those issues moving forward (this includes general maintenance and other projects such as the renovation of the Sullivan Gateway and other features in the park).
  •  With assistance from Tina Bishop, of Mundus-Bishop Design Inc., the City design team will meet before the end of the year to evaluate the current concept and discuss changes to the overall size and scope of the project to attempt to better integrate the project into the park.  (Tina Bishop is a local landscape architect who has worked all over the City and specializes in designing projects specifically to integrate into historical parks and landmarks.)  The team will also evaluate other locations around the City to determine if the project, as planned, would have a more appropriate fit elsewhere.
  • Once those evaluations have been completed and any other potential design concepts are available, Parks and Recreation will hold a community meeting to collect your feedback.  We anticipate scheduling that to take place in the early spring (March), but exact timing cannot be determined just yet. 
  • After that meeting, DPR will evaluate the level of support/opposition for the project and determine how/if it will move forward.

We want all citizens to know that we value your constructive comments and we will listen to your concerns.  We also want to hear from those who are in support of this project and have ideas for what they would like to see should it come to fruition. 

Please feel free to use the following email address to share your thoughts and feedback regarding the City Loop project:cityloop@denvergov.org

As we get through the holidays and into 2014, we will e-mail you updates on our progress and better guidance as to when we will schedule our next public meeting and presentation.

Project details

Frequently Asked Questions about City Loop

What is City Loop?
City Loop is a concept for a new regional play area within Denver’s City Park.  The concept is developed around a very simple assertion: rather than the familiar bounded play area that is tucked discreetly into a corner of a park, it will be a distributed, fully-accessible play circuit.  It will eventually replace the existing Dustin Redd playground, which at approximately 25 years old, has reached the end of its useful operating cycle.  As a large wood structure, it has become expensive to maintain and some parts of the playground have been removed because they are too unsafe to keep in operation. 

How was this design chosen?
In January 2011, Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) started a public process that sought proposals for a new playground concept at City Park.  After receiving 26 initial submissions, the field was short-listed to eight designs based on criteria set forth in the request for proposal.  The general public was asked to give their input on which of the eight designs they liked the least, and the bottom five designs were eliminated.  With the top three designs identified, public presentations were held in various locations around Denver and citizens were asked to vote online for their favorite design.  With several hundred votes online, the overwhelming majority of citizens voted for City Loop. 

In 2008, DPR began drafting a master plan for all playgrounds within its urban park system.  The plan was finished and adopted by the Denver City Council in 2010.  In reviewing the master plan, City Loops proposed size and multi-generational appeal falls directly in line with what the 2010 lists as standards for playgrounds that are built within regional parks.  You can review the full playground master plan here: 2010 DPR Playground Master Plan

How many people voted on the designs?
We had between 200 and 300 responses to each round of online feedback/voting.

Was the public involved?
The public has been involved in every step of this process.  It was public opinion that ultimately chose the winning design, which was the City Loop concept.  That announcement was made in October of 2012.  In March 2013, the first of five public meetings took place, with the others scheduled throughout that spring.  Each of these meetings focused on certain aspects of the proposed project, including:  parking/access; materials/maintenance; and types of use/activities to include.  At each meeting, project designers and leadership from Denver Parks and Recreation were on hand to listen to feedback and engage residents in conversation about the project and design concept.

What outreach has been done to date?
The outreach on this project has been extensive.  From initial communications to Registered Neighborhood Organizations (RNOs) around the city, to media releases and news stories, to presentations given to various organizations in various locations; the City Loop project has included approximately 50 different instances of outreach and engagement.  Going forward, we will continue to hold public meeting s and seek input from the public on various aspects of the design and the project. (See separate Public Outreach Timeline document)

When will it be built?
The project is anticipated to be built in two phases, with a short-term fundraising goal to help kick-things off and get the first phase moving.  Construction is not slated to begin on any portion of the project before 2015.   Additional elements will be added in a future phase as funding becomes available.

How much will it cost?
Very early estimates, based on the initial conceptual design, puts the project total at a total cost of approximately $5 million.  The design is still conceptual and is constantly being revised.  We’ve already made changes to make the overall size of the project smaller.  Until we have a final design it will be difficult to do anything more than estimate a total cost, but we believe it will cost $4.5-5 million

What is the long-term plan for funding this project?
Denver Parks and Recreation is looking to raise approximately 80 percent of the overall project through grants and other donations.  The remaining 20 percent, if needed, would be paid out of the department’s capital expenditures.  We are also looking to establish a long-term or dedicated funding program for the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the project. 

How will you maintain such a large structure?
We will develop an overall maintenance plan after the final design has been accepted and we know more details about City Loop, including the types of materials it will be constructed from and how big it will be overall.  We are trying to keep maintenance in mind as we go through the design process to ensure that we are making it as efficient and maintenance-friendly as possible.

We also now have approximately $900 thousand in additional capital maintenance funding that is available throughout the department, which will certainly help maintain City Loop.  On a daily basis, the department will add back 30 full-time employees (as a result of the passage of 2A in 2012) by the time City Loop is built out.  Some of those additional staff members will be available to maintain City Loop and other structures in our system on a daily basis.

What are the plans for parking in City Park?
We have no plans to build more structured parking in City Park as a result of the City Loop project.  We believe that the parking capacity available in the park on most days is ample enough to meet the needs of park users, but we are studying possible circulation changes that may allow for more on-street parking in the park that what currently exists now.  We realize there are times when parking in the park is an issue – this is typically on “free” days for the zoo or museum, during special events in the spring and summer months and during the City Park Jazz series that happens on Sunday afternoons during June and July.  There is cultural bond funding currently being used to add several hundred new parking spaces in the area of the park near the zoo and the museum.

Additionally, the City has adopted a transportation plan called “Denver Moves” which emphasizes more multi-modal options, such as bikes and public transportation, as opposed to building more parking where possible.

How many trees will be removed because of this?
Our Park Planning staff and our City Forestry staff have examined the trees that currently exist in the area where the proposed City Loop project will be built.  Some trees will need to be removed, but not necessarily because they impede construction of the project.  Approximately 25 trees have been identified as either being low value or in need of removal.  A low-value tree may be a tree that is partially dead or more susceptible to disease.  In all likelihood, all 25 trees will be removed over time.  At the same time, the plan calls for planting between 100-150 additional trees in that are to improve overall environmental health and improve the shade canopy around the City Loop area.  Therefore, the project will actually create a net increase of 75-125 more trees.

How big is the new structure?
The final design of the new project will include several different structures, or “pods” located around the meadow that is adjacent to the current Dustin Redd Playground.  That meadow is 13 acres and the total footprint of the new City Loop is expected to be approximately three acres.  The remaining 10 acres will remain available for passive use, just as the meadow is used now.

Where will it be located in the park?
City Loop will be located in the southeast meadow of City Park, adjacent to where the existing Dustin Redd playground is now and south of the tennis court complex.

Why is City Park considered a regional park?
We consider the largest parks in our system – those that are more than 80 acres in size – to be regional parks.  These larger parks are designed to appeal to various users and typically have the space to enable different activities, including special events, athletic leagues, large gatherings, personal recreation/fitness and more.

How big is City Park – total acreage?
In total, City Park is 320 acres and is Denver’s largest park.

Will more green space be removed for concrete parking lots?
There are no plans to remove green space in favor of new parking spaces or parking lots for this project.

Re-Imagine Play Public Outreach

Jan. 2011                              Received Colorado Health Foundation Grant

July 2011                              Formed Steering Committee

Oct. 13, 2011                        Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board presentation/update

Oct. 2011                               Article in Greater Park Hill News

Jan. 19, 2012                       www.denvergov.org/reimagineplay website goes live

Feb. 3, 2012                         Invitations sent to First Open House at DMNS

March 2, 2012                      Press release about the design competition and Open House

March 2, 2012                      City Park Alliance news posting

March 7, 212                        Open House project presentation & Design Competition Kick Off at DMNS

March 17, 2012                    City Park Alliance news posting

April 2012                             Articles in Greater Park Hill News and Life on Capitol Hill

May 16, 2012                       Press release on short listed teams, opportunities to view design concepts, and ways to view designs concepts online and fill out online survey

May 16, 2012                       City Park Alliance news posting

May 17, 2012                       DPR employee newsletter

May 18 & 19, 2012              8 shortlisted designs publicly displayed at DMNS

May 20, 2012                       Public display at Cake Crumbs bakery in Park Hill

May 21 – 25, 2012              Public display at Denver Zoo

May 26, 2012                       Public display at City Park Dustin Redd playground

May 28-June 1, 2012          Public display at Denver Public Library main branch

June 1, 2012                        Public display at City Park Alliance/Council District 8 County Fair event at City Park

June 4-8, 2012                     Public display at Webb Municipal Building

June 14, 2012                      Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board presentation

June 2012                             250 online public comments, approx. 30 email/phone call comments, 50 written comments

June 22, 2012                      Press release announcing three finalists and invitation to public presentation

July 2012                              Project mention in 5280 magazine

July 2012                              Article in Life on Capitol Hill

July 2012                              Article in Your Hub section of Denver Post

July 19, 2012                        Press release reminder for public presentation

July 24, 2012                        Public presentation of three finalist designs at Colorado History Center

July 24, 2012                        Updated online survey on website, will be up until August 21

July 25, 2012                        Denver Channel 8 is airing presentation until August 21

Oct. 23, 2012                        Press release announcing selection of PORT/Indie Design group and City Loop as selected concept

Nov. 15, 2012                       Your Hub article about PORT/Indie selection

March 20, 2013                    Public Presentation and Focus Group 01: PLAY

April 18, 2013                       Focus Group 02: CIVIC

April 19, 2013                       Stakeholder Committee Meeting

May 16, 2013                       Focus Group 03: ACCESS

May 17, 2013                       Stakeholder Committee Meeting

May 18, 2013                       Workshop 01: MODELING

June 10, 2013                      Focus Group 04: OPERATIONS

June 11, 2013                      Stakeholder Committee Meeting

June 11, 2013                      Public Presentation: Project Development Presentation and Feedback

July 9, 2013                          Pinnacle Board Meeting

July 17, 2013                        South City Park RNO Meeting

July 19, 2013                        Stakeholder Committee Meeting

Aug. 16, 2013                       Stakeholder Committee Meeting

Sept. 5, 2013                        Greater Park Hill Community Inc. Neighborhood Meeting

Sept. 18, 2013                      South City Park RNO Meeting

Sept. 18, 2013                      www.denvergov.org/cityloop site established with latest drawings and information

Sept. 21, 2013                      Community Event and Final Concept Presentation – Movie in the Park (UP)

Nov. 21, 2013                       Park Hill Philosophers

Dec. 7, 2013                         Denver Post Article

Dec. 2013                             Westword Article

PORT Architecture + Urbanism is a leading-edge urban design and research practice based in Chicago. Established by Christopher Marcinkoski and Andrew Moddrell as a speculative urban research collaboration, PORT has evolved into one the most innovative urban design consultancies operating in the U.S. today. The work looks to leverage the latent potentials embedded within a diverse range of urban circumstances to produce new forms of collective space and urban public realm.

Though the professional practice was formally established in 2009, the partners bring a significant body of expertise and experience from prior senior-level positions at James Corner Field Operations of New York as well as Garofalo Architects and UrbanLab of Chicago. In addition to leading PORT A+U, Mr. Marcinkoski and Mr. Moddrell each hold academic appointments, at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Illinois-Chicago, respectively.

Read more about Port Architects   



Indie Architecture
is a Denver based office that designs buildings, books, and exhibitions worldwide. As an alternative to mainstream, mass produced, and corporately funded architecture, the office embraces its fringe status, is associated with collegiate backpack intellectualism, and consistently seeks new ways of disseminating architectural and urban ideas. 

Paul Andersen founded Indie in 2008. He teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago and has previously been on the architecture faculties of the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Cornell University. He has also been a guest curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and is the author of The Architecture of Patterns(W.W. Norton, 2010). Paul is a licensed architect (NCARB Cert., CA, CO, NY).

While Indie's projects are located around the world and take a variety of forms—including buildings, books, and exhibitions—there are threads that connect them. 

Thematically, the office promotes dissemination as the driving force of 21st century urban and architectural design. Projects as diverse as suburban houses, retail environments, institutional buildings, and cultural programming evolve new forms of the dispersed growth that characterizes contemporary cities. Indie is developing an agenda for disseminated architecture through academic research and an emerging series of projects in the US and Europe.

Strategically, Indie approaches design projects from multiple points of view, making connections between seemingly disparate enterprises. For example, a building integrates plant life, heating systems, and graffiti. A book examines the practices of Peruvian weavers along with the mathematics of crystal formations. An exhibition introduces weight loss as an issue of contemporary art. The office advocates energy efficiency in some circumstances while extolling the benefits of energy use in others.

Indie architecture approaches each project with a mix of curiosity, intellectualism, and experience that allows the office to continually expand and improve its expertise.

Read more about Indie Architecture here.

Project Description

Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) is challenging currently accepted definitions of play and is looking to re-think play as a unique, multi-faceted experience in an urban, multi-generational space in Denver’s Historic City Park. Highly motivated, qualified and experienced design teams are asked to submit their qualifications and ideas for this challenge. The new space will be unique and will include community context and advocacy.

Design Competition History
See winning design here.  

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