The city of Denver plans to shut down Civic Center Park this week, with a parks and recreation department official citing crime and safety as the primary driver for barring the public from the national historic landmark.
Scott Gilmore told CBS4 on Tuesday that the park, located between the City and County Building and the statehouse, could be shut down as soon as Wednesday. He cited “several violent incidents” in the area as the impetus for the decision, but also pointed to unsanitary conditions in the park, where people who are unhoused live.
“It’s not safe to walk through the park,” Gilmore, the city’s deputy executive director of parks and recreation, told CBS4. “We need to take back the park.”
Gilmore could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday morning. A spokesman for Mayor Michael Hancock said more information would be released later Tuesday.
Eric Lazzari, executive director of the nonprofit Civic Center Park Conservancy that is the lead caretaker of the park, told The Post that Civic Center Eats shut down for the season last week. That event brings food trucks into the park to serve lunch on select days during warmer months.
When asked about the impending park closure, Lazzari said, “I do not have any comments at this time.”
Denver has closed off public space in the Civic Center area before, most recently Lincoln Park in 2020, the state-owned grassy area just east of Civic Center Park across Broadway. The city health department did so for several weeks for a rat infestation and other safety and sanitation issues.
When the park reopened, it was subject to an 11 p.m. curfew aimed a keeping people from camping in the park illegally.
In his comments to CBS4, Gilmore did not mention people experiencing homelessness as a factor in the new shutdown. He told the station, however, that the park will get an upgrade of its camera system, as well as rehabilitation of the grass and trees.
The park will be fenced off for at least two months.
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