Over the years, ECI has been fortunate to work on numerous projects along the South Platte River in Denver – Confluence Park, Platte Farm Detention Basin, and 39th Avenue Greenway, just to name a few. We are thrilled to announce that one of our newest projects, RiNO Promenade, is continuing the beautification of this region and will provide recreational opportunities for generations to come.
A New Space for Recreation in Denver
The RiNO Promenade will combine recreation, leisure, the natural environment, and the vibrancy of the neighborhood to create one all-encompassing linear park along the South Platte River. The elaborate outdoor space will span from 29th Street to 38th Street and connect the new River North Park at 35th and Arkins with Globeville Landing Park at 38th. Promenade visitors will be able to enjoy numerous unique elements, such as an elevated walkway with seating areas, outdoor classrooms, and viewing platforms 16 feet above the river bank to fully take in the beauty of the South Platte River.
In addition to providing new recreational experiences, the project will also enhance natural vegetation. Stormwater will be treated using landscape-based water quality areas, which will hydraulically connect vegetated swales with chase drains and shallow conveyances. Existing outfalls that served Arkins Court as a street will be reused for the stormwater from the Park and adjacent roads, but with added water quality areas to clean the water before it goes into the river.
A Vision in the Works for Years
The RiNO Promenade – and revitalization of this entire region – has been a Denver dream for many years and has involved the leadership of several entities. Two primary key players have been The Greenway Foundation and Wenk Associates.
The South Platte River had historically been treated as a landfill, due to the booming industrial activity in this part of Denver during past decades. With an emphasis on sustainability and environmental preservation, ideas of improvements have circulated for numerous years. Starting more than 10 years ago, The Greenway Foundation began working with the City and County of Denver to create a plan detailing how river corridor restoration could turn RiNO into one of the most thriving areas of Denver. Thanks to this organization’s tireless advocacy, several stretches of the South Platte River have undergone complex improvements in recent years that have resulted in significant environmental and economic benefits.
Wenk Associates has served as the project’s lead consultant and architect, as well as the master planner, since 2015. The original goal for this stretch was to accommodate population growth by creating a park where people could work and play, while also enhancing the South Platte River. Since then, the vision has evolved to meet the demographic and ecological needs of the area. Under Wenk’s leadership, the initial phase, RiNO Park, has been completed and opened to the public in August 2020. The current section, or “Promenade Phase I,” is expected to be completed in fall 2021.
Long-Lasting Impacts on Five Points and Globeville Neighborhoods
While all Coloradans will have the opportunity to enjoy RiNO Promenade, the project will have a profound impact on the nearby Five Points and Globeville Neighborhoods. This region has lacked comfortable green space in the past, and the new promenade will provide a much-needed flexible space for residents to gather and play in a welcoming environment, while still retaining the arts and culture landscape for which the region is best known.
“It is our hope that the RiNO region continues to celebrate and steward the River that is the heart of its name,” said Devon Buckels, Director of The Water Connection, the water resources and policy initiative of The Greenway Foundation. “This celebration can take the form of supporting and advocating for funding measures for continued improvements and enhancements, taking steps to protect the water quality in the River by supporting projects to clean stormwater flow before it enters the river, and welcoming people of all generations and backgrounds, RiNO residents and others, to enjoy the City’s most magnificent natural resource.”
Navigating Challenges and an Everchanging Landscape
As with any complex project, the RiNO Promenade won’t come without its challenges. One potential obstacle involves two major Metro Sewer interceptors that carry sewage beneath the project site to the treatment facility downstream. Furthermore, the area surrounding the project site is built on fill that is more than 100 years old, requiring the construction team to delicately treat all soils as though they are contaminated. Fortunately, ECI has ample experience responsibly dealing with contaminated soil from our work on Confluence Park in 2015-2017.
In addition to these known challenges, the unknown factors will also demand extra attention and flexibility. Because the neighborhoods and environment in this region are constantly evolving, the Promenade will have to adapt with its surrounding to maintain accessibility and functionality for its many visitors.
A Collaboration Among Numerous Entities
The RiNO Promenade is a collaboration among numerous dedicated entities. Special thanks to the following for being a part of this iconic project:
Owner/Client: Denver Parks and Recreation
Project Management: Denver Public Works
Client: North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative
Lead Consultant & Landscape Architect: Wenk Associates
General Contractor: ECI Site Construction Management
Project Partners: The Greenway Foundation and RiNO BID
Neighbor and Advocate: RiNO Arts District
Public Art: Denver Arts & Venues
We look forward to sharing updates as RiNO Promenade progresses!
Rendering courtesy of the City and County of Denver.