Mile-long RiNo river promenade suddenly more likely again with $5 million from the bonds plan

The project as currently conceived would stretch about a mile, partially replacing Arkins Court between 29th Street and Globeville Landing Park.

An illustration of potential plans for the RiNo Promenade. (City of Denver)
A rendering shows a gangway running along the proposed RiNo Promenade. (Wenk Associates, city of Denver)
A rendering shows a gangway running along the proposed RiNo Promenade. (Wenk Associates, city of Denver)

The plan to create a mile-long stretch of parkland along the South Platte River in RiNo is looking a lot more feasible this week.

Mayor Michael Hancock has included the “River North Promenade” in the final list of projects that will be funded if voters approve a $937 million spending package.

The project as currently conceived would stretch about a mile, partially replacing Arkins Court between 29th Street and Globeville Landing Park along the river.

Originally, the committee that oversees the bonds process had not recommended RiNo Promenade for funding. That exclusion could have sunk the plan, or at least sent its proponents back to the drawing board.

“That really that threw us a little bit of a curveball,” said Bernard Hurley, a local developer who has a $250 million development planned near the river.

An illustration of potential plans for the RiNo Promenade. (City of Denver)
An illustration of potential plans for the RiNo Promenade. (City of Denver)

Hancock’s final proposal includes $5 million for the promenade. Engineers have estimated that the current concept would cost more than $12 million, but Hurley says that local landowners may try to make up the difference. The park will directly connect to land he owns.

Hurley and others already have split the cost of early construction drawings with the city, he said. They could fund the rest of the project by creating a local taxing district near the proposed park, among other options.

“Even though it wasn’t all the money it would take to build, this is a private-public concept,” he said.

Combined with the River North Park and open land in new developments, he estimates the plan would create almost 13 acres of green space in the redeveloping industrial area.

He estimates the final design will be completed early next year and that construction could follow soon afterward, assuming voters approve the bond this fall. The developer credits neighborhood pressure, including support from the local improvement districts and Councilman Albus Brooks, for convincing the mayor to include the project.

“We’re just really lucky that we’re going to have this here. It’ll be an amenity enjoyed for generations,” Hurley said.

One concept of the RiNo Promenade. (City of Denver)
One concept of the RiNo Promenade. (City of Denver)

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.