Teens partner with private company to build community in Cole neighborhood

DENVER -- At Tuesday's State of the City address, Mayor Michael Hancock touched on a number of topics.

One of them was his push for more parks and open spaces. Hancock highlighted a group of teenagers in Denver's Cole neighborhood who are leading the way for better recreation facilities.

The project is about more than just a park. Phranklin Gerdine, one of the teens, said the project is about unity.

“A very amazing story about kids that are so much more than anybody ever gave them credit for," said Susan Brown, one of the teens' mentors.

The story starts with the people who work at Industry, a private company in the Cole neighborhood.

One day they walked a couple steps to the Recreation Center (St. Charles) nearby, and asked how they could help.

“We want everyone to see how special this neighborhood is, this region is really," one of the teens Tomas Salazar said.

The teens at the Recreation Center and professionals at the private company, decided the best way to make a difference was to bridge the gap. They wanted to mix the old with the new in the form of a park.

While the adults started it, the teens at the St. Charles Recreation Center have taken the lead. They hosted community meetings, raised money, and even caught the attention of the mayor.

At the State of the City Address, Denver's Mayor Michael Hancock, said, "I love that these young leaders are doing this and what they are doing is pretty inspirational."

“The word gentrification has such a polarizing effect on whoever, wether it be, some people think it’s good, some people think it’s bad, but with this park it’s supposed to be neutralize all that, everyone’s on equal ground," Salazar said.

Yes a park is what you see on paper, but the teens say the end result is about so much more.

“It’s going to bring more people together.”

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