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39th Avenue Greenway and Open Channel

Your Questions: Answered

The 39th Avenue Greenway and Open Channel will create a two-mile long greenway connecting the Cole and Clayton neighborhoods, while also effectively and safely carrying floodwater to the outfall at Globeville Landing Park. The greenway will remain mostly dry outside of storm events, and will include a multi-purpose trail and other amenities.

The 39th Avenue Greenway and Open Channel is one of four integral projects that comprise the Platte to Park Hill: Stormwater Systems program, which is taking a comprehensive approach to flood control in the neighborhoods north and east of downtown while improving water quality and enhancing public spaces.

Below you will find answers to the most common questions we have heard regarding the 39th Avenue Greenway and Open Channel during our conversations with you, the community.

How will this project benefit the community?  

In addition to protecting neighborhoods north of the 39th Avenue (e.g. Elyria-Swansea and the northern portions of Cole and Clayton, among others) with protection from damaging floodwaters when catastrophic storms hit, the 39th Avenue Greenway and Open Channel will provide other neighborhood benefits that will be enjoyed year-round. Among those are a new 12-acre greenway and a walking/biking trail.

When will we know what the Greenway and Open Channel will look like?

The general look and feel of the Greenway and Open Channel is currently being determined as design requirements and guidelines are developed through late 2016. While the Greenway and Open Channel design won’t be completed until 2017, as part of a benefits-driven and community focused approach, there will be many opportunities to stay informed and provide feedback throughout the process. 

When will it be built?

Construction of the 39th Avenue Greenway and Open Channel will begin in mid-to-late 2017. The Greenway and Open Channel will be operational in late 2019. The tentative timeline below reflects the process:

39th Avenue Greenway and Open Channel Tentative Timeline

What does ‘design-build’ mean?

Design-build projects save time, money and resources and are a common approach to completing large projects. This is when a single team both designs and constructs a project based on requirements and specifications set by the city. The City has implemented a number of successful design-build projects (Central Park Blvd, Peoria Street Bridge, Central Park Campus) and saved time and money through the streamlined process.

What impacts will construction have on the surrounding neighborhoods?

It is still too soon to know exactly what the construction process will look like. During any construction project, avoiding or minimizing impacts to the community is a top priority. As with all major projects in Denver, the City will develop a management plan to clearly define and communicate how the project will be constructed.

How will you ensure the stormwater doesn’t cause public health or environmental problems?

Water quality and public health are of paramount importance. The greenway and open channel along 39th Avenue will provide opportunities for filtration and water quality benefits. The city will also implement additional efforts including increased frequency of maintenance, ongoing monitoring and development of water quality facilities.

What is the total cost? How do you plan to pay for the projects?

The current budget range for the four coordinated Platte to Park Hill: Stormwater Systems projects is $267 – $298 million. Specific budgets for each of the four projects, including the 39th Avenue Greenway and Open Channel, have not yet been set. The program is one of many paid for by stormwater management fees. In June 2016, Denver Public Works received approval from Denver City Council to increase annual storm and sanitary sewer rates to help address a backlog of critical drainage projects citywide, improve water quality and reduce flood risk to life and property. 

How do annual stormwater rates in Denver compare to other Colorado cities?

Denver’s storm and sanitary rates are currently about $100 lower on average than other larger Colorado cities. Over the last 20 years, Denver has increased wastewater rates only twice. As a result of the June 2016 rate increase, the typical Denver residential rate payer will pay roughly $23 more per year for the next five years for both storm and sanitary bills combined. Even with the recent rate changes, Denver will be about $60 below the average in 2017, when the first full year of the rate change takes effect.

Is this project being pursued due to I-70 reconstruction?

No. This flood control project is needed and will move forward regardless of the I-70 Project. The area north and east of downtown, called the Montclair Basin, is a part of Denver that is most at-risk for flooding and has seen no significant drainage improvements in decades. Given the proximity of the greenway to I-70, it is in the best interest of all parties to collaborate closely to ensure compatibility with all nearby improvements. 

Is this project part of past planning efforts?

The flood-related issues that the 39th Avenue Greenway and Open Channel will address are not new the Elyria Swansea Neighborhood plan that was adopted by City Council in 2015 and includes several recommendations that the Platte to Park Hill Program will implement. These recommendations include: creating community gathering spaces, introduce gateways and key vistas, provide additional flood protection, promote water quality, improve connectivity, and connect to green space. In addition, Denver’s 2014 Stormwater Master Plan provided the foundation for Platte to Park Hill: Stormwater Systems. This included identifying and addressing catastrophic flooding potential during a 100-year flood event (a storm that has a 1% of happening every year). Since the 2014 master plan was released, additional analysis revealed that Denver has a larger flood risk and greater challenges that need to be solved to adequately protect people and property throughout the City, especially within areas like the Montclair Basin that do not have a natural creek or existing drainage infrastructure.

How can I be part of the design guidelines process?

As the 39th Avenue Greenway and Open Channel project moves forward, the City is committed to working closely with the community. As part of a robust community engagement effort, and to ensure that community input continues to inform the initial design phase, the City has formed a project-specific Design Workgroup. The role of the 39th Avenue Greenway and Open Channel Design Workgroup will be to collaborate with the city in helping shape the priorities and design guidelines for the project, while serving as an important connection between the project and the community. Read more on our committee’s page:

In addition to the Design Workgroup, there are many opportunities to stay informed and provide feedback. Call 303-223-6585 or visit to:

  • Sign up for email updates
  • Find upcoming meetings
  • Submit comments

Project Materials

View the Fact Sheet (PDF)

Recent Workshop Materials

Final Recommended Alignment (PDF)