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Game Plan for a Healthy City

Game Plan for a Healthy City is a citywide and long-range parks and recreation plan to help the city respond to challenges including growth, limited water resources, and changes in our climate. The plan proclaims easy access to parks and open space as a basic right for all residents, and establishes our city's parks, facilities and recreational programs as essential for healthy environment, healthy residents, and a high quality of life for everyone.

The updated Game Plan says parks and public spaces are vital elements of urban infrastructure and recommends propogating them and their associated programming by:

  • Every Drop: Make the park system more resilient and environmentally sustainable
  • Every Person: Ensure equity in distribution of parks, resources and recreational programming so all residents have the opportunity to improve their personal health and well-being
  • Every Dollar: Manage resources to ensure long-term operational health of the park and recreation system
  • Uniquely Denver: Provide park spaces and recreational programming that reflect Denver's community and cultural identity

Game Plan Reader's Guide

How did we get here?

The Game Plan’s previous emphasis on the vision of “a city in a park” and the core values of environment, engagement, equity and sound economics influenced how Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) invested in park and recreational amenities throughout the city. These core values will provide a foundation as we look to the community to update the Game Plan.

Below are some of the Game Plan goals that have been accomplished since it was adopted in 2003:

Increased parkland & recreation centers

  • More than 630 acres of parkland and parks have been added totaling nearly 6,000 acres.
  • One new state-of-the-art recreation center was completed in 2011, another will be complete in 2017, and four recreation centers were remodeled and expanded.

Increased Denver’s tree canopy

  • Tree canopy in residential areas increased from 18 percent in 2003 to 20 percent today.

Reduced water used in park irrigation

  • Today, DPR has more acres of park but uses 850 million gallons less water than in 2003. Over 75 parks now utilize centrally controlled irrigation systems providing automatic watering adjustments resulting in lower water use. Since 2003, DPR has converted more than 580 irrigated park acres from potable water to treated recycled water.

Improved pedestrian and bike connectivity

  • More than 30 miles of paved trails were added for a total of 85 miles of paved trails. DPR completed some “missing links” within the trail system including the Westerly Creek trail.

Responded to evolving recreational needs

  • In 2003, there were no disc golf courses nor dog parks. Today DPR has created three disc golf courses and nine dog parks. DPR is also building the Ruby Hill Bike Skills Course, the second bike skill area in the city.

Protected and Enhanced Natural Areas & Healthy Waterways

  • 1,250 acres of prime natural resource areas have been protected and over 2.5 miles of gulch waterways have been restored throughout the city. The “River Vision” projects are transforming what were once dumping grounds into a series of vibrant parks along the South Platte River including improved water access and environmental education opportunities.

Revitalized and Protect Mountain Parks

  • Mountain park resources have been renovated and restored, including: trail improvements at Summit Lake and Red Rocks, renovations to Echo Lake Lodge, and new trails, a bison overlook, and road and parking improvements at Genesee Park.

Protected, preserved and rehabilitated historic parks, parkways and structures

  • Some of the city’s most historic parks received significant investment for rehabilitation including Civic Center’s Voorhies Memorial and Greek Theater, Cheesman Pavilion and theWashington Park Boat House. At City Park the bandstand was restored, Prismatic and Thatcher Fountains rehabilitated, and work on restoring Sullivan Gateway is beginning.
  • Civic Center and Red Rocks were designated National Historic Landmarks. 


Read the Executive Summary (PDF)

Chapters (PDFs):

  1. The Process
  2. Responding to Change
  3. (3.1): System of Play
    (3.2): Green Neighborhoods
  4. A Connected City
  5. Mountains to Plains
  6. Sustainability
  7. Equity
  8. Engagement
  9. Sound Economics
  10. Next Steps

Appendix (PDF)
Financials (PDF)

Name Organization/Affiliation
Florence Navarro, co-chair  Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board
Darrell Watson, co-chair Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Past President
Sharon Alton Downtown Denver Partnership
Jay April Denver Golf Advisory Board
Mark Bailey The Park People
Erin Brown  Denver Office of Children’s Affairs
Rebecca Born Northeast Neighborhood Area Resident (Park Hill)
Brad Cameron INC (Parks and Recreation Committee)
Councilman Jolon Clark Denver Council District 7
Fran Coleman Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board
Noel Copeland Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board
Tracy Davis Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee
Chris Frampton East West Partners
Julie George Southeast Neighborhood Area Resident (Southmoor)
Anthony Graves Mayor’s Office Director of Regional Affairs
Michael Guiietz Northwest Neighborhood Area Resident (Jefferson Park)
Jennifer Hale  Southwest Neighborhood Area Resident (Harvey Park) 
Karen Higel Denver Public Schools Athletics 
Fabby Hillyard Mountain Parks Foundation
Mike Hughes Central Neighborhood Area Resident (Hilltop) 
Cindy Johnstone INC (Parks and Recreation Committee)
Michael Leccese Urban Land Institute
Sonrisa Lucero Denver Office of Sustainability 
Jeremy Matsen Denver Department of Finance
Jackie Miller Great Outdoors Colorado
Jennifer Moreland Denver Public Health
John Noble Far Northeast Neighborhood Area Resident (Montbello) 
Councilwoman Deborah “Debbie” Ortega Denver Council At-large
Erik Ortiz Colorado Health Foundation
Jason Robinson Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board 
Kendra Sandoval­ Historic Denver
Catherine Dockery Denver Commission on Aging 
Ken Schroeppel University of Colorado Denver
Rachel Steele The Greenway Foundation
Regan Suhay Boys & Girls Club Metro Denver 
Myles Tangalin Mayor’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Jamie Torres West Central Neighborhood Area Resident (Villa Park)
Tim Wohlgenant Trust for Public Lands

Phase 1: Evaluate Existing Conditions

  • April 2017:  Existing Conditions Report (PDF)
    The existing conditions report culminates the first phase of the 2017 Game Plan update and documents the existing state of the entire parks and recreation system to uncover key issues that the Game Plan should address.

Phase 2: Public Outreach & Drafting of Goals/Objectives

Phase 3: Prioritize Draft Recommendations

  • May 2018: Phase 3 Survey Prioritizes Recommendations 

  • During Phase 3, additional data and feedback was collected during public forums, task force meetings, staff workshops and an online survey. This input revealed community priorities and built on what was learned during Phase 1 & 2. This feedback will be used to further refine the draft strategies and influence the final report, focusing on the development of action steps and metrics to realize goals and strategies. 

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Task Force Meeting 1: July 14, 2016
presentation | meeting summary

Task Force Meeting 2: October 27, 2016
presentation part I | presentation part II  | meeting summary

Task Force Meeting 3: January 26, 2017
presentation | meeting summary

Parks & Recreation Advisory Board meeting: February 8, 2017

Public Open Houses: March 21-23, 2017
meeting boards

Task Force Meeting 4: March 23, 2017

Public Open Houses: November 28-30
Watch full video presentation 
Download video presentation slides (PDF)
Download meeting boards with strategy details (PDF)
View the public feedback summary (PDF)


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Denver Parks & Recreation

Main Office

201 West Colfax Ave, Dept. 601
Denver, CO 80202
(720) 913-1311
Additional Contact Information


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