NewsDenver7 360 | In-Depth News, Opinion


What will changes coming to Red Rocks mean for those who visit?

Posted at 10:24 PM, Jul 30, 2018

Editor's Note: Denver7 360 stories explore multiple sides of the topics that matter most to Coloradans, bringing in different perspectives so you can make up your own mind about the issues. To comment on this or other 360 stories, email us at See more 360 stories here

MORRISON, Colo. -- Red Rocks Amphitheater is about to undergo a makeover and some of you are not too thrilled about it. But the city says there is a ton of misinformation floating around.

The city of Denver owns Red Rocks and has proposed changing the planter boxes with the juniper trees all the way up both sides of the seats. Some of the trees have been there since the amphitheater was constructed in the 1930s.

“We are simply proposing taking out some of the dead and dying trees,” said Red Rocks spokesman Brian Kitts. “The healthy trees will stay.”

The venue sees a flood of tourists, fitness buffs and local foot traffic every day. And for some, any change to the amphitheater is met with resistance.

"Don't fix what's not broken," said Kenny Sweet, who was visiting from out of state.

"I mean, it's such a natural place, so taking out any part of that is kind of sad," said Laura Renzelman, who moved to the Denver area about a year ago.

Plans call for ripping out those dead and dying trees, putting railing around the planter boxes with trees, and installing flooring in part of the box so people can stand on that instead of dirt.

“People like to sit there and stand there during shows," Kitts said.

“I don't think it's necessary," said Sharon Gurule who grew up in metro Denver. “I mean, it won’t be the same.”

"The coolest concert venue in the world, so I don't think you should change anything about it," said Maddi Lansville, who exercises at least three to four times a week at Red Rocks.

But others see no harm in the proposed changes.

"I think change is always kind of scary to begin with, but once it happens – you kind of see the benefits of it,” said Chad Fruithandler.

And some see the proposed railings as a safety measure that could prevent harm.

"Especially after a couple drinks, you need that rail to be able to go up and down,” said visitor Joanna Fields.

A recent guest commentary in the Denver Post titled “Save Red Rocks from the Plague of Development” suggested "…we will be halfway back on the road to 'corporate box seats’ if the boxes were to be modified at all.”

Kitts said that's flat out untrue.

"We're not out to put luxury boxes there,” he said.

So, what’s next?

“There is no timeline right now,” Kitts said. “And I think that's another misconception."

The bottom line: Even though changes are likely, they won't happen soon or without thoughtful consideration.

"There have been incremental changes over that time, including the addition of towers on both sides of the stage,” Kitts said.