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Activists say new Denver park over I-70 doesn't include enough trees, green space

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Posted at 6:30 PM, Dec 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-07 20:34:13-05

DENVER – Following the ribbon-cutting for a four-acre cover park over a section of Interstate 70 in Denver’s Globeville neighborhood, local activists are speaking out about the park's lack of real green space.

“The community wanted green space. It's well known, it’s in our plans. District 9 is the least tree canopied part of the city and we know trees clean the air,” said Ean Tafoya, former co-chair of Colorado Environmental Justice Action Task Force.

Tafoya said the soccer fields, amphitheater and playground are nice, but the park lacks real grass and trees which would help filter out pollution.

“We’re in the shadow of a refinery. We’re over a highway, a gas plant, and Purina. So, just because you have a place where you can gather doesn’t mean you can exercise without negative impacts on your health,” Tafoya said.

Tafoya said one of his main concerns is what the recreation field is made out of.

“The AstroTurf is something I’ve been really concerned about and the community’s been concerned about — which is a toxin that we actually just banned at the Capitol this year,” Tafoya said.

The park is a part of the $1.2 billion Central 70 Project and is located over a section of the new lowered I-70 between Brighton and Colorado Boulevards.

The Colorado Department of Transportation and Denver city leaders said the park isn’t completely done. Eventually 180 trees, as well as a real grass lawn, will be planted.

“I think it's really important anytime that you have a tough political decision and you come to resolution and settlement — that in order to repair those relationships and avoid repeating the past we need to be talking to each other,” Tafoya said.

Tafoya said now that the ribbon has been cut, he hopes city leaders open the door for future conversations about what community members want and need.