The 14-acre park stands on the site of a 1930’s-era sewage treatment plant that had been closed for 30 years. The setting on the South Platte River was also a Superfund site due to the nearby refining and smelting company.
This new park along the South Platte River doesn’t disguise what it used to be. Instead of tearing down all the ponds and sluices that had been used to treat Denver’s waste, the park’s designers opted to save money by simply filling them in, leaving an intriguing patchwork of concrete walls and steps that blend right in. What was once the edge of a sewage tank is now a place to sit and have a picnic, and rows of trees fill up former filtration ponds. Immediately to the west of the park is the Heron Pond Natural Area, a wetland teeming with wildlife that somehow managed to survive in the midst of a heavily industrialized district. Semple Brown intended to create more than freestanding art – two soccer fields are crawling with teams and parents during game days. Youth groups plan urban camping near the park’s wetlands and on the bank of a small natural pond. The park provides vital open space for Globeville and Swansea, working-class industrial neighborhoods that possess only a sliver of the city’s 4,000 acres parks.
This park has given the long-neglected Globeville neighborhood a new jewel and turned an eyesore into a green space that still honors the industrial legacy of the site.
Semple Brown worked with Wenk & Associates.