Denver Closes Crime-Ridden Park Indefinitely To Clean Up Safety Risks Like Needles, Rodents, Human Waste

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Harry Wilmerding Contributor
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Denver officials announced Tuesday they are shutting down Civic Center Park on Sept. 15 for at least two months to address growing safety and sanitary concerns, including needles and human waste.

“It’s not safe to walk through the park,” Scott Gilmore, Deputy Executive Director of Parks and Recreation, told local station CBS4 during a phone interview. “We need to take back the park,” he said, highlighting growing violence and crime. (RELATED: Denver Spends More On Homeless Than its Students And Police)

Residents reported 15 crimes in the park within a month, including a homicide on Aug. 6 and two assaults last week, according to data from the Denver Post.

“The current challenges within Civic Center Park have reached a tipping point, creating conditions that put the public’s health and safety at risk,” Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said in a statement.

“This cannot and will not be allowed to continue,” he added. “This is the people’s park, and we are taking steps so that everyone can once again feel safe and welcomed there.”

Hancock noted increasing amounts of trash, human and hazardous waste seen in the park, as well as graffiti and fire damage to historic structures.

During the closure, the city will clean and restore the park, including upgrading irrigation, surveillance and lighting systems, according to the mayor’s press release. The city will also trim trees, restore turf in the park to combat the rodent problems.

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