People traveling along Boston or Dayton streets north of Central Park Rec Center have probably noticed the massive pile of dirt or heard the clamor of construction. This is Westerly Creek North.
To the south, Westerly Creek has been rebuilt with meandering curves and wide gradual banks to carry storm water during heavy rainfall. Until recently, this northern section still had narrow, sharp turns and erosion created a deep channel can steep cliffs. As part of a $12-million project to revamp the remaining 64 acres of Westerly Creek Park, the channel is currently being rebuilt to match the southern portion, creating both an effective flood plain and an open space park. The park will have trail connections that seamlessly blend with the adjoining parks, Uplands Prairie East, Uplands Prairie West and Westerly Creek to the south.
“Westerly Creek North is really the heart of the Sand Creek Greenway in Denver. It will be a gathering place for people all over the city,” says Kate Kramer, executive director of the Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership.
The project began in March and will be completed in two phases: phase one includes the earthwork and the pedestrian bridge; phase two will be the irrigation, trails and landscaping.
Despite the two major July storms while diversion of the channel was under construction, the drainage way was still able to accommodate floodwater and send it to Sand Creek. Though the actual channel required re-grading, and diversion points between the old and new channels needed to be re-established, the re-work due to the floods was minimal, according to Charlie Nicola, vice president of Forest City. But planting, originally planned for November, will now have to wait until spring due to recent flooding.
When the project is completed, Westerly Creek North will be a major link in a spine across the city for walkers and bikers. “We feel incredibly happy that this is being done and pleased and impressed with the design and construction of this park. It will be a beautiful part of nature for everyone,” Kramer says.