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Denver will close Civic Center park near Colorado Capitol for safety, health concerns

City officials said the park and surrounding areas have become a “hotspot for violence, crime, drug sales and substance misuse"

A worker cleans up graffiti in Denver's Civic Center Park on May 31, 2020, following a night of protests against racism and police violence. (John Ingold, The Colorado Sun)

Denver will close Civic Center park, one of the city’s historic landmarks that has become a hot spot for homeless people to camp, because of safety and public health concerns, city officials said in a statement Tuesday.

City officials said the park and surrounding areas have become a “hotspot for violence, crime, drug sales and substance misuse, jeopardizing the public’s ability to safely enjoy one of Denver’s treasured outdoor spaces.”

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Officials cited concerns about rodents, disease spread, impacts on water quality, discarded needles and other drug paraphernalia in a statement in which Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said that conditions had reached a “tipping point.”

“This cannot and will not be allowed to continue,” Hancock said.

The park will be closed to the public starting Sept. 15. Officials called it temporary but did not provide an exact date for its reopening.

The city said it plans to restore the park’s greenery and historical stone structures that have been damaged by graffiti and fires and will require professional restoration.

The park faces the state’s Capitol building and Lincoln Park, which was fenced off last summer after the city cleared a large camp of homeless people who were living there. Officials had cited health and safety concerns for issuing Lincoln Park’s clean-up, also referred to as “homeless sweeps” by local housing advocates.


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