Confluence Park’s riverside construction will be finished next month, city says

The heart of the $9 million project is the rebuilding of Shoemaker Plaza, an open space near REI that includes concrete steps down into the river.

South Platte River. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Construction around Confluence Park, May 17, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) confluence park; construction; development; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty; denverite;
Construction around Confluence Park, May 17, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

More than two years of construction in the Confluence Park area will conclude in October.

The heart of the $9 million project is the rebuilding of Shoemaker Plaza, an open space near REI that includes concrete steps down into the river and an ADA-accessible boat ramp.

An opening ceremony for the revamped area, which sits at the heart of Denver’s greenway and river system, is scheduled for Oct. 14, according to parks spokeswoman Cyndi Karvaski.

“Everything’s going to be up to the moment on Saturday the 14th. Cleanup’s going to happen Friday night,” Karvaski said.

Construction had been delayed by the discovery of coal tar in the riverbed, which forced the city to deploy a water treatment plant for several months at a cost of more than $2 million.

All the work happening in the area, including the separate construction of the Confluence skyscraper, had caused some pretty infuriating detours and delays for pedestrians and cyclists along the South Platte River and Cherry Creek.

Those problems have mostly been fixed — and with work on Shoemaker done, you should finally be able to ride uninterrupted along the northwest side of the river.

A rendering of the plan for Shoemaker Plaza in Confluence Park. The dam-like structure in the foreground is not part of the immediate plans. (City of Denver)
A rendering of the plan for Shoemaker Plaza in Confluence Park. The dam-like structure in the foreground is not part of the immediate plans. (City of Denver)

Now, Denver has nearly completed the first phase of its “River Vision” project, which included the opening of Pasquinel’s Landing and Grant Frontier parks in southwest Denver. Next, the city will shift its focus downriver, to the north, Karvaski said.

Confluence Park became a central part of the parks system back in the 1970s, when the city first began building its extensive greenway network and trying to rehabilitate the river.

The city’s goal is to make the South Platte consistently safe for swimming by the year 2020.

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.