1) New Pickleball Courts at MLK Rec Center
In response to pickleball’s rising popularity, this summer Denver Parks and Recreation over-striped the two tennis courts at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, allowing the courts to be used for pickleball as well as tennis. DPR is “working with the pickleball community to identify if these courts may become permanent,” says Cynthia Karvaski, DPR communication specialist. The pickleball courts at Congress Park were closed this year due to concerns about noise violations, which prompted DPR to offer six new court locations at the MLK Rec Center and to also explore other possible locations throughout the city. Determining factors for court locations include noise mitigation, permitting issues, snow removal, and maintenance feasibility.
2) Boychik Expanding to Stanley Marketplace
Boychik, a Middle Eastern-inspired food stall and restaurant, is moving into the Stanley Marketplace in late 2023. Boychik, from the Yiddish term for “endearment,” will take over the space where the restaurant Chook was formerly located. Boychik spokesperson Victoria Hagen notes, “Boychik is expected to offer traditional eastern Mediterranean comfort cuisine with modern interpretations, featuring healthy, fresh ingredients and flavors. Think dishes like pita wraps with shawarma, hummus bowls, salads, and delicious dips and spreads in the sunny, south-facing full-service restaurant at Stanley Marketplace.”
3) I-70 Express Lane Tolling Now Live
Drivers now need to pay to use the Central 70 express lanes between Interstate 25 and Chambers Road. Cars were given free access to the express lane during the testing period, which was extended from February to July to fine-tune the live tolling equipment. The new fees vary by time of day. Between 6 and 8:59am, express lane drivers with an ExpressToll pass or switchable HOV transponder will pay up to $4.50. Prices are reduced during less busy hours and will be displayed on overhead traffic signs. The evening commute (between 4pm and 6:59pm) is $2.50 for pass holders. License plate fees will apply to drivers without an ExpressToll pass and is more expensive at all times of day, with costs above $10 during the morning commute. Express lanes are free to motorcyclists, commercial transit, and carpoolers with three or more passengers and an HOV transponder. To learn more, visit expresstoll.com.
4) DEN Reserve Reduces DIA Screening Time
Ranked the third busiest airport in the country and following its busiest summer ever, the Denver International Airport rolled out a new program to expedite security screenings. DEN Reserve allows passengers to make a TSA reservation up to three days before their flight. Den Reserve passengers may then skip the standard DIA security lines and simply check in during their appointed time at the DEN Reserve Bridge Security TSA Checkpoint. Learn more at flydenver.com/denreserve.
5) Pauline Robinson Library Temporarily Closes
On Aug. 27, Denver Public Library (DPL) closed the Pauline Robinson branch in Northeast Park Hill to begin a renovation project that is expected to take a year. The construction project is funded by the Elevate Denver Bond program that was passed by voters in 2017 and that provided DPL with $69.3 million to renovate several branches. The project at Pauline Robinson will increase the size of the branch to expand the community rooms, staff spaces, and learning areas. For the interior, the branch will receive new furniture, book shelves, technological equipment, and heating and air conditioning systems. For the exterior, the project will upgrade the book drop, parking lot, and landscaping features. Residents who patronize the Pauline Robinson library can use the pickup holds at the Sam Gary branch, and DPL is also collaborating with community leaders to supply offsite services.
6) Funding Supports Additional Hours at Sam Gary Library
Sam Gary Library is now open an additional 12 hours per week, thanks to funding from Strong Libraries, Strong Denver, or Initiative 2I, which voters overwhelmingly supported last November. New hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 9am to 6pm; Wednesday from 9am to 8pm; and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Sam Gary Library branch supervisor Kit Cusker explains, “Adding morning, evening, and Sunday hours makes the library more accessible to all. We’re excited to connect with the community more and welcome everyone to enjoy all the books, plus the computers, Wi-Fi, free printing, study rooms, family events, and our Idea Lab.” The funding, an annual increase of $36 million for the Denver Public Library system, includes financing for more staff and extended hours while also covering facility upgrades, increased book collections, expanded programming, subscriptions to Tutor.com for library card holders, and the use of Launchpad tablets that do not require internet access.