Denver city officials have mapped out a 20-year plan for improvements to downtown’s parks and recreational spaces, including a five-mile walking path around the city.

Denver Parks and Recreation are teaming up with the Downtown Denver Partnership to launch a 20-year plan to enrich the future of Denver’s parks and public spaces.

“In a city nearing 700,000 people, it’s never been more important to protect, preserve and grow our parks and recreational opportunities,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said in a press release. “Our downtown is more than just a series of buildings, streets and lights — it’s where we come together to enjoy culture, have fun, gather as a community, express ourselves as a city and create memories.”

20-year plan

Study Area Map.
photo courtesy of The Outdoor Downtown Project (pdf)

The Outdoor Downtown project is part of The Mall Experience project to update 16th Street Mall and The Next Stage, which will focus on Denver’s Performing Arts Complex.

Denver’s plan for the parks and outdoor spaces will focus around five vision elements: Social, Recreational, Connected, Cultural, and Sustainable.

20-year plan

photo courtesy of The Outdoor Downtown Project (pdf)

Based on community input, the following are the top 10 recommendations:

Upgrade and Increase Access to Basic Amenities: To provide a diverse mix of amenities to support both daily and year-round use of the parks and public spaces.
Create a Downtown Maintenance Area: To improve the level of cleanliness and service of downtown by creating designated maintenance areas.
Improve Safety Downtown and Bolster Security: To increase uniformed presence downtown by hiring more park rangers and supporting park ambassador programs.
Increase Everyday Activation: To develop flexible policies and programs to enable everyday activation and temporary projects.
Build New Parks Downtown: To identify locations and acquire new park spaces to address service gaps across the downtown area (Golden Triangle and Arapahoe Square).
Implement Four Iconic Projects: To fund and implement the four iconic projects (Downtown Loop, central plaza, signature playground, and arts/culture park).
Grow Our Urban Forest: To plant and maintain 1,000 new trees in downtown Denver.
Diversify Food and Beverage Options: To change policies to support more food and beverage choices in downtown parks and public spaces.
Engage the Public and Increase Stewardship: To form a community organization to help engage citizens in the upkeep and stewardship through outreach programs.
Create a Funding and Governance Task Force: To create a committee of city leadership and key stakeholders to explore questions of feasibility and to determine how to fund, govern, and implement the plan.

20-year plan

photo courtesy of The Outdoor Downtown Project (pdf)

According to U.S. News and World Report, Denver ranked as the second top city in the 2017 Best Places to Live in the United States and is home to nearly 20,000 people in the downtown area. Denver is growing, and its parks and recreation areas need to accommodate that growth.

You can view the full master plan for The Outdoor Downtown here.

What are your thoughts on the 20-year plan for downtown Denver? Share them with us in the comments below. Also, if you’ve got any photos or videos of our gorgeous downtown, send them our way at

Featured image courtesy of Denver Parks and Recreation (Facebook page).

The Mall Experience: Plans for 16th Street Mall Revealed.