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Mayor Hancock, City Officials, Downtown Denver Partnership and Community Partners Celebrate The Outdoor Downtown Plan

Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver Parks and Recreation, Councilman Albus Brooks (Dist. 9), Downtown Denver Partnership, Riverfront Park Association, Civic Center Conservancy, and VISIT DENVER today celebrated the launch of The Outdoor Downtown Plan – the future of downtown Denver’s parks and public spaces.

The Outdoor Downtown master plan is a collective effort between Denver Parks and Recreation and the Downtown Denver Partnership focusing on investment in downtown’s parks and public spaces to enhance quality of life and create a sustainable, vibrant downtown that continues to grow. The 20-year master plan provides visionary and actionable policies, programs and projects that will enrich downtown parks and public spaces and further define Denver as a world-class city. 

“In a city nearing seven-hundred thousand people, it’s never been more important to protect, preserve and grow our parks and recreational opportunities,” Mayor Hancock said. “Our downtown is more than just a series of buildings, streets and lights – it’s where we come together to enjoy culture, have fun, gather as a community, express ourselves as a city and create memories. And today, we’re bringing a renewed focus to our downtown parks and public spaces.”

The Outdoor Downtown began as part of Mayor Hancock’s initiative to elevate the downtown experience, which championed the revitalization of three major aspects of the city’s downtown: the 16th Street Mall (The Mall Experience), the Denver Performing Arts Complex (The Next Stage), and downtown Denver’s urban parks and public spaces (The Outdoor Downtown).

“Vibrant parks and public spaces are a key component in our place-based economic development strategy that is attracting residents, employees and companies in record numbers. The Outdoor Downtown helps us address the unique opportunities and challenges related to managing and activating public spaces in our center city, while bringing greater opportunity for our diverse community to come together and connect.” Tami Door, president and CEO, Downtown Denver Partnership.

The plan is structured around five vision elements: Social, Recreational, Connected, Cultural and Sustainable.  The recommendations within each of these elements support the goals of celebrating and activating Denver’s outdoor culture; creating inviting outdoor public spaces that contribute to an economically thriving downtown; fostering a diverse and livable downtown; cultivating Denver’s culture and identity through outdoor spaces; and providing environmentally and functionally sustainable outdoor spaces.

Through community input, stakeholder feedback and pilot programs, the top ten recommendations of the plan include:

  • Upgrade and increase access to basic amenities
  • Create a downtown maintenance area
  • Improve safety and security
  • Increase everyday activation
  • Build new parks
  • Implement four iconic projects
  • Grow the urban forest
  • Diversify food and beverage options
  • Engage the public and increase stewardship
  • Create a funding and governance taskforce

The plan proposes four iconic projects that include: a Central Plaza that is active daily and a venue for large events, a Art/Cultural Park to activate the Denver Performing Arts Complex, a Signature Playground to support family-friendly outdoor play, and the 5280 Loop, a pedestrian and bike route connecting major downtown landmarks.

Over the past two years, Denver Parks & Recreation has tested elements of the plan, including outdoor fitness classes, art installations, music events, and pop-up dog parks. The Square on 21st pop-up park, a collaboration between the City and County of Denver and the Downtown Denver Partnership, showcased how underused public right-of-way can be activated and transformed by providing a park-like public space in a neighborhood known as a “park desert.”

More information on The Outdoor Downtown Plan, activities and public outreach can be found at