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Globeville: Setting the Pace

Take a stroll with Globeville’s weekly walking group.

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On warm Thursday nights, Globeville’s Argo Park sounds like an urban symphony. A basketball bounces up and down a concrete court. Mariachi music blasts from a parked low-rider. Kids clamber up and down the playground equipment. And a group of women—the Globeville Walking Group—chatter rapidly in Spanish about their workdays, the kids, and what’s for supper.

They start walking east, headed for the nearby Platte River Trail, their gathering spot for the past three years. The Walking Group is supported by Groundwork Denver, a nonprofit that works on health and environmental issues in the neighborhood, including performing energy audits on homes. It also connects people to resources such as the trail, which many of the walkers didn’t know how to access even though they live just blocks away.

You can’t blame them; the trailhead is practically hidden behind the massive DenCol Supply Company, one of many inaccessibility issues that frustrate Globeville residents. Ofelia Martinez, who attends the Globeville Walk every week, arrived in Globeville 14 years ago from Mexico and made a home for her kids and husband. She loves how the area feels close, almost closeted. Her friends are down the street. Her kids play in the park. Still, she wishes there was an easier way to buy groceries and diapers. (A community survey found that 89 percent of the area’s Spanish speakers worry daily about finding healthy food for their families.)

On this evening, the group—flanked by giggling kids—marches south toward downtown. They scamper out of the way for the legions of bikers who are clocking their nightly rides. They stop at Globeville Landing, a tiny park with signs that explain the neighborhood’s history. They pass a group of homeless men who ask to give the kids lemon candies, which they politely refuse.

Soon, the group hopes to make the walks year-round. They’ve met with Denver Parks and Recreation and the mayor’s office, which have plans to install a concrete path around Argo Park. It’s a little closer to their homes and a little warmer than the riverbank path in the winter, so they can keep up their calorie-busting when the temperatures drop.

The group keeps walking as the sun starts to set, throwing blue-orange rays across the sky. The kids have been complaining about how sore their feet are for the last 30 minutes—in a mix of Spanish and English—but they trod on. A trio of girls stop to pick yellow flowers near the riverbank and place the blooms in their hair. It’s dark by the time the group makes it way back to Argo Park, where the mariachi music, the laughing kids, and the basketball thrum go on.

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