Pop-up park coming to Ballpark neighborhood; residents cheer and jeer

DENVER -- The Ballpark neighborhood is overrun with apartments, parking lots and concrete. But the city of Denver is trying to change that -- sort of.

It plans to install a pop-up park next month on 21st Street between Larimer  and Lawrence streets. It will be called The Square on 21st.

The temporary park will be just one block starting June 15 and lasting two months. Many neighbors say it could be a little slice of open space they long for in the middle of the city.

The city will transform the downtown street into open space, bringing in 60 potted trees, artificial turf, seating and a deck. There will also be lawn and board games, along with food and drink.

Another feature is a dog park, where owners can let their furry friends run free. Owners say that would be dog heaven in the concrete jungle.

"There's one patch of grass like half-block away. We have to go straight there and it's the only one in the area," resident Taylor Faulk said.

She and her 4-year-old mutt also look forward to hanging out with other hounds. And so do the people.

"There's precious little open space in this neighborhood. It's a neighborhood where people eat, live and work. But we don't gather as a neighborhood," said Dennis Ryerson with the Ballpark Collective.

The park is temporary, but it could become permanent if all goes well.

Some don't like the sound of that.

"I'm not interested in it because we lose out on parking here. We also have a big homeless population and though they say they'll manage that, I don't think they will," resident Tori said.

It's an area known for Coors Field and homeless agencies. Residents hope the city helps it become much more than that.

"Right now, we are pretty much insiders.This gets us out to enjoy the Colorado sunshine," Ryerson said.

"It's an opportunity to rethink of streets as a place for cars to circulate, but as real people places," Chester said.

If people like the park, though, the city would have to come up with the funding to make it permanent.