The Colorado culture and our affluent Denver-area counties make for public places that are done well. They are designed with continuity, accessibility, and style. Think of our parks, trails systems, and green space –– how they continue from one neighborhood or shopping center to the next. They provide nearby options for walkability, shopping, sports, and leisure. Trails take us not only though town but into the great outdoors and provide connection to mountains, rivers, and breathtaking hikes. These are some of the favorite things we love about where and how we live.
These local features are especially utilized during the warmer months. In contrast to our cold winters and wet springs, Colorado summer is a season-long event to be celebrated. It provides opportunities to seize and times to take it all outside to enjoy the bright, sunny days and warm evenings. Being outside brings us together to hike, to play games, to compete, and to spend time together. Our local towns also maintain quaint main streets and downtown areas that invite people to gather. Outdoor gathering zones draw people to assemble and socialize. It is an exciting site to see this congregating and bonding. These spaces are often full or overflowing with people who are there to enjoy moments together. In this issue we focus on some of our well-loved outdoor gathering areas.
Discovery Park in downtown Parker has been turned into a multi-purpose space to serve the community through all seasons. Centered around the Parker location for the Douglas County Library, Discovery Park offers an outdoor courtyard splash pad for families to cool off on hot days. Surrounded by benches and sidewalks, families can visit the library and water for hours. The nearby grass and cement area opens up on Thursday evenings to host a free concert series. In the winter, the cement is surrounded by a glass railing and turned into the Parker Ice Trail with hot chocolate available in the skate rental shop and firepits nearby to warm up chilly ice skaters. The jumbo sculpture, “Ball and Jacks,” was created by artist, Christopher Weed of Colorado Springs. He said the sculpture, like the park itself, speaks to a simpler time of connection to friends, family, and community.
Southlands Mall in southern Aurora is a favorite place to gather and has even been named “Town Square.” It is centered around the AMC dine-in movie theatre and a huge multi-use courtyard that provides an outdoor gathering space. The dining, shopping, and entertainment space joins people together for many different activities. The courtyard includes tables and chairs to sit and chat, a huge grass area with games, and a central fountain splash pad zone. The courtyard is transformed into an ice arena in the winter, The Pond, and even hosts a Holiday Hometown Parade. Along with these traditions, Southlands is home to many events and concerts.
The new Riverwalk area of downtown Castle Rock has added purposeful outdoor space and attraction to the historic county seat for Douglas County. The newly renovated section of town boasts paths and bridges along the river, an expansive pedestrian bridge connecting buildings on Wilcox street, and many outdoor gathering spaces. The Riverwalk area behind Town Hall includes Festival Park, a grassy area with firepits, seating, splash pad, and a pavilion. It is home to Castle Rock hometown events and the farmer’s market. The major renovation also includes mixed use properties in the downtown area for living, shopping, business, and recreation. This area of town is a popular and well-loved place to visit and brings the community together.