Get to Know Your Greenway
By: J.J. Clark
SPREE Staff Writer
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A few short blocks off the banks of the South Platte River, through an area of Denver where heavy industrymeets urban housing on every block, you will come upon West-Bar-Val-Wood Park. This park is a vast open space surrounded by a mixture of warehouses, active industrial shipping centers, and residential blocks.
Just three blocks west of Valverde Park on the South Platte River trail sits West-Bar-Val-Wood Park. From atop the large hill of Kentucky Blue Grass, Denver’s skyline is crisply visible. The hill is covered with a collection of established evergreen and Cottonwood trees. This hill is perfect for sledding in the winter and rolling down in the summer.
The day I visited the park it was filled with several different groups of children, who ran circles in the baseball diamonds, rode bikes around the park, rolled down the hills, and packed the playground. Most were on a pre-summer vacation day-in-the-sun from Valverde Elementary School, just two blocks away. Two baseball diamonds fill a portion of the expansive flat open space in the park and their outfields create a seemingly endless space for the kids to run and play. The tree-covered hill offers shade and a quiet place to watch the city.
This park is a reminder of the power of urban parks. It is the front yard to houses, multi-unit residential buildings and active industry. This park gives an incredible focal point to a neighborhood that exemplifies multi-use urban land.