Denver Urban Gardens, Central Platte Valley Metropolitan District, Downtown Denver Partnership Partner to Breathe New Life into Neighborhood.
We are excited for the plans to transform a fenced-off area between Wewatta Street and Chestnut Place on 17th Street in lower downtown (LoDo) Denver into a dynamic community garden, sound garden and event space. Working in partnership with the Central Platte Valley Metropolitan District (CPVMD) and Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) we will design, build and manage the community garden and other enhancements slated to open in Spring/Summer 2024.
“This project is such a great example of a diverse partnership of private, nonprofit and government sectors coming together to create a place that improves the downtown experience,” said Andrew Iltis, vice president, Planning and Community Impact for Downtown Denver Partnership. “A community garden will give the district a way to manage a high-visibility area of downtown and get neighbors directly involved in improving their city.”
For two years, the space on 17th Street in front of Whole Foods Union Station and at the entrances to the RTD transit depot was closed to protect and preserve the land and trees during the period when there were far fewer people in the area due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the 1970s the modern community garden movement has been transforming neighborhoods across the United States. Reactivating this particular space as a DUG community garden will not only provide land for nearby apartment and condo dwellers to grow their own fresh, healthy, hyper-local organic food, but also build community and offer the gardeners a way to take positive climate action by enhancing biodiversity, sequestering carbon, building healthy soil and minimizing water use.
Recent research proves that community gardening positively impacts physical and mental health by reducing stress and anxiety, and increasing fiber intake and exercise which helps prevent cancer and chronic diseases. As many people are still struggling with the isolation imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Surgeon General recently declared an epidemic of loneliness, this benefit of community gardening remains especially poignant.
In addition to garden plots, the design will incorporate the creative use of sound and light to develop a tranquil environment for all users whether they are gardening, enjoying a meal or simply seeking respite from a busy day. In addition to the redesign, efforts to re-energize the area through activation include a weekday lunchtime concert series featuring local artists, free Saturday morning yoga classes and a pumpkin patch in the fall.