Denver city leaders have plans to avoid ‘park deserts’

DENVER -- Park deserts are areas where people don't live within reasonable walking distance to green space.

​As Denver continues to grow, more of those deserts can be found, especially in the downtown area. Organizers with the city's parks and recreation department have a plan to solve the problem.

“About 45 (percent to) 50 percent of the downtown core is in what we call a park desert,” Denver downtown area planner Mark Bernstein said. "Just as we need streets, sidewalks, sewers, other utilities, we need parks.”

A 20-year strategy is in place to change all that.

“Our goal is to have a neighborhood park within a five-minute walk," Bernstein said.

The outdoor downtown plan wants to create new public spaces and update the ones that are already established.

The Square on 21st is a little bit of a test run to see what works and what doesn't.

The pop-up park has games, seats and a dog park. While it only has a few more weeks left, organizers will use visitor feedback as a way to determine what they should include in a permanent space.

In the meantime, people will enjoy this new part of the neighborhood and the city said it'll work to keep Denver the outdoorsy town it's supposed to be.

“It’s part of who we are as a city, it’s part of our DNA,” Bernstein said.

The outdoor downtown group will present suggestions to the city council next month.