The Architects’ plan for City Loop includes numerous one-of-a-kind, colorful, fabricated constructions, along with water features, lighting, and buildings (kiosks and “comfort stations”). Are these designs working anywhere else? Version 1.0? No thanks.
Why is the Dustin Redd playground in disrepair? Because the City never maintained it. After the community barn-raising that built Dustin Redd, Parks and Recreation employees remarked to neighbors (proudly, it almost seemed) that they had no materials, means, or plan to maintain it. And so they did not. Each time a bolt or chain broke, the City roped off a feature, until very little remains for children to use. Meanwhile, other cities have restored and maintained similar playgrounds for modest cost.
City Park already has several fountains. Why are the fountains in City Park in disrepair?
The Gates Interactive Fountain on the museum plaza has been turned off most of this summer. Someone drove a vehicle onto the plaza and destroyed critical parts of the fountain. The city has been slow to repair the damage because only one maintenance worker in the department has the expertise to repair the city’s many dysfunctional water features.
The historic Thatcher Fountain in the Esplanade circle, near East High, has been repaired in recent years only to lapse into dysfunction as its underfunded repairs fail almost continuously. Repair workers have frequently been seen there this summer as well.
The Electric Fountain in Ferril Lake has been repaired on the cheap so many times that it mostly operates at minimal capacity. City Park visitors often see a boat tied up next to the fountain while workers toil away inside it trying to make it work.
What about City Loop? What about those free-standing water pipes? Denver Parks and Recreation: until you demonstrate you can maintain and service the fountains already in City Park, don’t add any new ones! There is nothing that says “government on the cheap” quite so sorrowfully as elaborate water features collecting dust instead of visitors.
And how about City Loop’s tubes and artificial rocks and other fabricated elements? Where is the plan for keeping all of these things clean and operational? Where will replacement parts come from? Will all of this be maintained by City employees or contracted out?
Will the maintenance plan include keeping the lights on for security purposes? And, by the way, will those lights be visible to the neighbors across York Street? That’s you, City Park West.