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Re-Imagine Play at Paco Sanchez Park

Denver Parks & Recreation (DPR) is challenging currently accepted definitions of "play" by re-thinking this activity as a unique, multi-faceted experience. Re-Imagine Play is an innovative concept that goes beyond traditional playground elements such as swings, slides and monkey bars. It is intended to be a multi-generational activity and play area that gives everyone using the park – from small children to older adults – an opportunity to remain active and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. 

In identifying Paco Sanchez Park in West Denver as the prime location for the re-imagine play project, DPR considered a number of factors, including:

  • Park with pre-existing playground equipment in need of repair or replacement 
  • Park big enough for a large play area that's also in an under-served area of the city in terms of green space and park amenities
  • Location that is accessible through multi-modal transit options
  • Park that's located near an already existing recreation center
  • Location in an area of the city where childhood obesity rates are a growing issue

Read the press release on the selection of Paco Sanchez Park as the new site for the Re-Imagine Play Project.

The activity and play area will contain some traditional playground elements, but will also include custom-designed structures and landscapes that provide a more natural environment, encouraging park visitors to use their imaginations to create new, unique experiences every time they visit.

DPR, along with a consulting design team, will gather public feedback to help guide the final design and layout. Join the distribution list to be notified of project updates, public meetings and community events.


Project details


What is Re-Imagine Play?
Re-Imagine Play is a new and innovative concept that goes beyond the traditional playground (i.e. swings, slide and monkey bars). It is intended to be a multi-generational activity and play area that would give everyone using the park – from small children to older adults – an opportunity to remain active and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.  It will contain some of the traditional playground elements, but also will include custom-designed structures and landscape to give more of a natural playscape feel that encourages users to let their imaginations be their guide and create new and unique experiences every time they visit.

Why was Paco Sanchez selected for this project?
There are various factors that have made Paco Sanchez a prime location for a Re-Imagine Play design. Particularly, Denver Parks and Recreation looked for a park with playground equipment in need of repair or replacement; a park that was located within a region with ‘underserved’ or ‘underutilized’ park amenities; a park accessible through multiple transit options including bus, train, bike and car; a park with 10 or more acres; and a park in close proximity to a recreation center.  In addition, Paco Sanchez Park is located in a part of Denver where childhood obesity is a growing concern.  Offering more opportunities to support a healthy, active lifestyle is a top priority for DPR and all City leaders.

Why did the project move from City Park?
When Parks and Recreation first set out with the
City Loop project, our intent was to create 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.  In December of 2013, we committed to going through a thorough process to gather feedback and input from the City Park community.  After attending our first stakeholder meeting it became clear that our goals for the project simply didn’t align with the needs and wants of the City Park community.  As such, we dropped the City Loop project at City Park and began looking for other locations around Denver that not only met the criteria outlined in the question above, but also is in a community shares our vision for re-imagining play and promoting a healthy, active lifestyle.

How much will it cost?
Very early estimates, based on the initial conceptual design, put the project at a total cost between approximately $5-7 million.  The design is still conceptual and will be revised in response to the new park site and the interests of local residents.  Until we have a final design it will be difficult to do anything more than estimate a total cost.  The park will most likely be built in phases.  Ultimately, the total funding for this project will come from a combination of capital funds allocated by the City along with additional funds from community partners and, potentially, private donors.

When will it be built?
The project will be built in phases. DPR is anticipating $2.5 million in capital funding for the project and will look to raise the remaining funds through grants and other donations. DPR expects construction to begin in the late summer or early fall of 2016. Additional elements will be added in a future phase as funding becomes available.

What are the specific components of this project?
Specific components of the project have not yet been determined. Denver Parks and Recreation, along with the designer, will create a design with feedback from the community.

What outreach has been done to date?
Councilwoman Susan Shepherd and Councilman Paul López have reached out in community to do some preliminary investigation on the community’s interest for a Re-Imagine Play project.  Denver Parks and Recreation has received letters of support from Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corporation, the Sun Valley Homes Local Resident Council, Villa Park Neighborhood Association, West Colfax Association of Neighbors, West Colfax Business Improvement District and the Westridge Homes Local Resident Council. Two meetings have been held in the community to present the concept. 

How will the public be involved in this process?
Going forward, Denver Parks and Recreation will continue to hold public meetings and seek input from the community on various aspects of the design and the project.

What are the plans for parking? Where will it be located in the park?
How will the playground be maintained?
Exact plans for parking, maintenance, design and location within the park have not been determined at this point as we are very early in the planning process.  As we move forward these are all topics and issues that will be discussed with the community and we will look forward to hearing your input and incorporating your feedback into the planning and design.  With regard to maintenance, it is our desire to find ways of incorporating long-term maintenance needs into our fundraising efforts.

What will happen to the golf disc course?
The golf disc course will remain at Paco Sanchez Park and will be incorporated into the Re-Imagine Play design as appropriate. Some changes to the course may be necessary as the design is further developed, but our hope is to have a minimal overall impact on the existing course. 

Will the basketball courts be removed?
Depending on the design, the current location of the basketball courts may change, but they will remain an amenity within Paco Sanchez Park. 

How can I stay informed?
Individuals interested in staying informed on the developments of Paco Sanchez should stay in contact with their local Registered Neighborhood Organization (RNO) or City Council Office.  In addition, please feel free to contact Denver Parks and Recreation directly via Facebook or email at and ask to be included on our distribution lists for information. Also, as the project planning and design process gets underway, information will be posted on this page.



Re-Imagine Play Public Outreach

Council Members Susan Shepherd (District 1) and Paul Lopez (District 3) reached out to the community in Spring 2014 to do a preliminary investigation on the community's interest for the Re-Imagine Play project. Denver Parks and Recreation received letters of support from Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corporation, Sun Valley Homes Local Resident Council, Villa Park Neighborhood Association, West Colfax Association of Neighbors, West Colfax Business Improvement District and Westridge Homes Local Resident Council.

July 9, 2014 Community Meeting

July 29, 2014 Community Meeting
Presentation - English
Presentation - Spanish

October 5, 2014 Community Event

November 12 & 15, 2014 Community Meeting
Presentation (English & Spanish)

March 17, 2015 Community Meeting Presentation


At the public meeting held on March 17, 2015 regarding Re-Imagine Play at Paco Sanchez Park, Denver Parks and Recreation presented a site plan and potential new park amenities based on feedback and priorities provided by local residents. As a result of community input, this project has evolved from a new play and recreational activity area to the renovation of the full park.

As such, work on Paco Sanchez Park will be phased. Renovations to the park will be based on availability of funds. At this point, the City and County of Denver has committed $2.8 million toward the project as is actively fundraising. The core components of phase one will include new play features, family gathering spaces, fitness loops and community plaza.

Future phases include the development of the park, south of the gulch. Amenities for future phases could include a synthetic turf field, community garden, dog park, and play and recreational amenities not funded through phase one. Prior to construction, DPR will hold a public meeting to discuss the specific components that would be included in phase one. 





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Contact Us

Join DPR's Paco Sanchez email list to receive project updates, public meeting notices and event invitations. 

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