Our 18 wishes—ranging from realistic to far-fetched—for making Denver an even dreamier place to live.
A swimming hole we actually want to dive into
Don’t let the colorful flotilla of kayaks, SUPs, and waders at Confluence Park fool you: Technically, you’re not supposed to swim in the South Platte except in areas designated as safe for swimming by the Department of Environmental Health—which currently number zero. The reasons: Besides the 600 cubic yards of waste Urban Drainage pulled out of the river in 2012, the South Platte also contains unsafe levels of E. coli, which naturally spikes in the summer months—just in time for bathing suit season. Yes, the city has been working to improve its signature river, but if we really want to make the South Platte somewhere we can splash, everyone has to chip in by disposing of waste properly and picking up after pets. Then we could safely enjoy this Confluence Park oasis we’ve dreamed up (illustrated below), complete with affordable kayak/tube/SUP rentals, public chaises, food carts (including Little Man Ice Cream and Lucky Pie Pizza), a stage for live bands with free (!) Friday evening performances, and an adults-only VIP area away from the rowdy kids. We’re pretty sure it’s what Denver’s urban planners originally had in mind.
Not into swimming in rivers? We have one more wish for the landlocked but water-obsessed:
An adults-only (read: pee-free) swimming pool downtown
What better spot to take a dip than atop the tallest building (56 stories) in Denver? Our pitch: Transform the rooftop of Republic Plaza into a no-kids-allowed pool with a to-die-for view. Some other amenities we wouldn't mind:
- Infinity soaking pool with a swim-up bar
- A separate splash-acceptable pool with water toys like a volleyball net and beach balls
- Frozen margarita machine courtesy of Marg’s Taco Bistro
- Evening float-in movies projected onto a pop-up screen
- Free library of books and magazines you can borrow while you’re there
- Floating beer koozies
- Snack bar with local goodies like Tuffy Kickshaw’s popcorn, Jackson’s Honest Potato Chips, treats from Maria Empanada, and more
- A kids’ pool on the ground floor with daycare and the Missy Franklin Swim School, so Mom and Dad can indulge on the roof guilt-free
A tidier Wash Park
We’re super jazzed about the money being put into Wash Park—$880,000 for improvements along the diagonal road, $340,000 for a new southern entrance, and an upcoming $18,000 construction project on a tennis court shelter—but we wish more dough were being spent on everyday maintenance. For the past half year or longer, we’ve noticed an unpleasant uptick in the amount of discarded plastic bottles littering the ground, weird objects like orange traffic cones sticking out of Grasmere Lake, and overflowing trash bins along the running paths. We realize that keeping Denver’s most popular city park clean is an epic undertaking, considering estimates put annual visitors in the millions and the park shares a maintenance budget and staff with about 70 other parks. But as taxpayers—the park’s budget comes from the general fund—we’re concerned: There’s got to be a better way to manage the refuse. After all, it doesn’t matter how nice the new picnic areas are if there’s trash everywhere. But let’s not throw all of this on Parks and Rec. Denverites: Please pick up after yourselves.