Cherry Creek plan would reboot riverfront near the mall

The neighborhood known as Cherry Creek is reassessing its relationship with the body of water known as Cherry Creek.

A portion of a concept plan for Cherry Creek. (Architerra Group/The Greenway Foundation/Cherry Creek Area Business Alliance)
A portion of a concept plan for Cherry Creek. (Architerra Group/The Greenway Foundation/Cherry Creek Area Business Alliance)
A portion of a concept plan for Cherry Creek. (Architerra Group/The Greenway Foundation/Cherry Creek Area Business Alliance)

The neighborhood known as Cherry Creek is re-assessing its relationship with the body of water known as Cherry Creek.

After years of talk, the area has a vision to renovate about a mile of the creek channel and improve sidewalks around the Cherry Creek Shopping Center.

It’s only a concept plan, and it could take a few years to find money and start construction, but it could become one of the next major projects in Denver’s extensive rivers and greenways system, according to Jeff Shoemaker, executive director of The Greenway Foundation.

The plan was created by the foundation, the Cherry Creek Area Business Alliance and Denver parks staff based on community input, he said.

The concept plan calls for:
  • Four new bridges. A new “art bridge” would connect the back of the mall to the Belcaro neighborhood. A pedestrian and bike bridge would replace the bridge near Steele Street. And another pedestrian/bike bridge would cross near Garfield Street, which could be an important connection for cyclists.
  • A new pedestrian path to separate cyclists from walkers, and better walking areas around the mall itself.
  • A plaza with a new water feature and shade near the mall, along with various new park features around Cherry Creek Park and City of Brest Park.
  • A better way to get down into the creek and play.
  • A general cleanup of non-native vegetation.
A portion of a concept plan for Cherry Creek. (Architerra Group/The Greenway Foundation/Cherry Creek Area Business Alliance)
A portion of a concept plan for Cherry Creek. (Architerra Group/The Greenway Foundation/Cherry Creek Area Business Alliance)
Here’s how it could happen.

This thing could obviously cost millions to execute, and it doesn’t have a penny to its name yet. However, The Greenway Foundation and the city have finished similar projects done on similar timelines recently.

For example, the “River Vision” plan that was launched in 2011 already has produced renovations near Confluence Park and beyond.

“We’ll be putting a price tag to it by the end of the year and also make recommendations on potential funding sources,” Shoemaker said.

He anticipates that it will take until 2020 to figure out funding.

“Hopefully, three years from now, we can put a shovel in dirt,” he said.

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.