Denver’s river mile redevelopment project
After decades of providing fun to young and old in the city of Denver, Elitch Gardens will be moving in the near future. The amusement park has been located off Speer Boulevard since 1994. This news comes soon after the overwhelming approval by Denver City Council of the River Mile Development Project. Despite the approval, neither a closing date nor a new location has been announced.
The River Mile Redevelopment Project will be located on the 58-acre property, which is currently home to the Denver landmark’ and will soon house around 8,000 residential units. A portion of the 58 acres is planned to be recreational space. The project will also feature a 59-floor structure, which will undoubtedly add to the Denver skyline. It is estimated the project will take well over two decades to complete.
CU Denver freshman Andy Womer supports the River Mile Redevelopment Project but is not fond of using the current location of Elitch Gardens. Womer has been a regular visitor of Elitch Gardens for many years.
“[Elitch Gardens] is cherished by millions, and to relocate and move it yet again, is unacceptable,” Womer said.
Elitch Gardens was located on 38th Avenue and Tennyson Street prior to being moved to its current home near the Auraria campus.
Womer also mentioned his opposing acclamation for the project, saying, “I think it will improve [the quality of life in Denver].”
The project is expected to pump capital into local economy, as thousands of people are expected to be living in the housing units. However, such a massive construction site may be an eyesore for Denver, especially when considering the expected length of the building process.
Although good should come from this redevelopment project, like more housing in a time when people are moving to Denver in droves, it is hard to imagine yet another massive traffic inconvenience, this time for the next 20 years.
“[The construction] will only add to the congestion and confusion on Speer,” said Womer.
When it comes to Elitch Gardens, it is hard to say with certainty what the future holds, but a second move in a 129-year history does not suggest anything good.
This is not a problem concerning just Elitch Gardens but the amusement park industry as a whole. Amusement parks in Colorado only have around half a year to take in revenue, so setbacks that cause a park to close for an extended period of time are an earmark that things could be better.
Six Flags New Orleans was built in 2003 and was experiencing normal attendance, but after damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina, the park was shut down.
While Elitch Gardens undergoes rebuilding, it would be in the best interest of Premier Parks, the company that owns Elitch Gardens, to tackle the park’s issues. If not, they may certainly fade away
Meanwhile, Denver should invest in their infrastructure for the nearing surge in population on the 58-acre site.