LOOK: Confluence Park is finally ready to reopen this weekend

Shoemaker Plaza at Confluence Park is nearly finished, Oct. 12, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) confluence park; development; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty; denverite; shoemaker plaza;
Shoemaker Plaza at Confluence Park is nearly finished, Oct. 12, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

After years of delays, you should be able to walk down the steps of Shoemaker Plaza and dip your toes into the South Platte River this weekend.

The reconstruction of the riverside feature near the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River is scheduled for a grand opening this Saturday, Oct. 14 at 1 p.m.

The plaza has been closed since the summer of 2015, which caused lots of headaches and detours for bicyclists along the river. The new project makes it easier to get down to the river and improves bike and pedestrian traffic by separating paths for cyclists and walkers.

Shoemaker Plaza at Confluence Park is nearly finished, Oct. 12, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) confluence park; development; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty; denverite; shoemaker plaza;
Shoemaker Plaza at Confluence Park is nearly finished, Oct. 12, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Construction on the $9 million project was delayed due to the discovery of coal tar, a substance left by the industrial facilities that once lined the river.

“For our growing city, it’s never been more important to protect, preserve and grow our parks and recreational opportunities, and reclaiming the river has been vital in celebrating and cultivating new outdoor experiences for Denver residents,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a news release.

Denver Parks & Recreation manager Allegra "Happy" Haynes and Mayor Michael Hancock stand beneath The Confluence apartment tower while a press conference announced the near-end of Shoemaker Plaza's construction at Confluence Park, Oct. 12, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) confluence park; development; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty; denverite; shoemaker plaza;
Denver Parks & Recreation manager Allegra “Happy” Haynes and Mayor Michael Hancock stand beneath The Confluence apartment tower  during a press conference about the reopening of Shoemaker Plaza. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Completion of the plaza also means that Denver is done with the first phase of its “River Vision” project. Next up are projects at Globeville Landing Park and Heron Pond as well as the new river promenade in RiNo and the new River North Park.

Shoemaker Plaza is named for the late Joe Shoemaker, a state legislator who was crucial in the cleanup of the South Platte River and the creation of Denver’s riverside greenway network. His son, Jeff Shoemaker, now runs The Greenway Foundation.

Shoemaker Plaza at Confluence Park is nearly finished, Oct. 12, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) confluence park; development; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty; denverite; shoemaker plaza;
Shoemaker Plaza at Confluence Park is nearly finished, Oct. 12, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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.