Goodbye to 21st Street, hello to temporary park in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood

Two blocks of 21st Street will be shut down to cars this summer to make way for the “Square on 21st,” a temporary park in the Ballpark area.

A city sketch of the Square on 21st. (City of Denver)

From June 15 to Aug. 15, the blacktop from Lawrence to Larimer streets will be replaced with street art, a lawn, food trucks, a pop-up dog park, a performance stage and more. The block will close May 22 to prepare for construction.

The idea is to temporarily show what the city can do with public streets and sidewalks, with a permanent redesign possibly coming for one or more block in the area later. The project is also meant to “provide a temporary gathering place for a neighborhood that doesn’t currently have open or public spaces,” according to the city.

The project is a collaboration of the city, Downtown Denver Partnership, neighborhood businesses — including the Colorado Rockies and the Inventing Room, among others, and neighborhood groups such as Ballpark Collective. Altogether, a $200,000 budget will cover construction, design, events, security and the rest.

The Square on 21st will serve as a proof of concept for the “downtown loop,” an idea that would create a 5.3-mile loop of activities and pathways for cyclists and pedestrians around downtown.

In particular, this project is “testing out the concept of transforming a street to a community gather space permanently,” for the Arapahoe Square and Ballpark area, according to senior planner Steven Chester.

If you’d like to paint planter boxes and other stuff ahead of the opening, the city is seeking volunteers for May 27 and May 28.

A city sketch of the Square on 21st temporary park. (City of Denver)
A city sketch of the Square on 21st temporary park. (City of Denver)
For more on Arapahoe Square:

Adrian has this roundup of the biggest plans in progress for the area.

Renderings show the possible future of Denver’s Arapahoe Square

Correction: The park is one block. I said two blocks because I was counting the alleyway.

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.