We’ve already given you our Reviews in Review, our favorites from among the many terrific things we experienced and wrote about in 2013. But there were other highlights of 2013 that didn’t necessarily get written up by the In Good Taste Denver team, but which had an impact on us nonetheless. And there are also things we’re hoping will happen to Denver and surrounding areas in 2014 that will keep it “in good taste” in our books. So, in a different kind of New Year’s roundup, we present:
14 High Hopes for 2014…or…Which Way Denver?
1. Union Station: The DIA of the 19th and early 20th centuries, then left to rot. Finally reinvigorated with a new hotel, restaurants and public spaces. This may redefine the LoDo urban experience.
2. South Platte RiverFest: Started in 2013, will this year’s celebration spark a new focus on the potential of Confluence Park as a year-round center of adventure and entertainment?
3. Denver Botanic Gardens: A year-round oasis of beauty in the city, we can’t wait for the upcoming Chihuly glass exhibit, new cafe and science pyramid.
4. RiNo/Uptown/Lo-Hi/Santa Fe/Riverfront: Once places you just didn’t venture into, now vital, hip and where all the cool cats go. In 2014, whole new areas will be reintroduced. Wish List: 5 Points and East Colfax awaken to build on their illustrious past!
5. Homelessness: Wading through trash and human waste… panhandlers on many streetcorners… Homelessness is dehumanizing and damaging our city. Surely we can do better.
6. 16th St Mall: Will the city and property owners work together to stimulate exiting, fresh, useful new development? We call upon Mall property owners to be more civic-minded and invest in making Denver’s #1 tourist attraction a true showcase!
7. Foodie/Brew scene: Food trucks, micro-breweries, ethnic eateries, artisanal foods, locovorism… What will be the break out trend for 2014? Our wish: support Denver’s truck fleet in new and unique ways.
8. Colorado Symphony Orchestra: Will Denver respond to the newly invigorated symphony? Will the community support an enhanced concert hall to celebrate this cultural treasure? Will Denver’s parks once again host beautiful classical music this summer? We hope so – on all accounts. We can always count on City Park Jazz. A celebration of summer in the city, diversity and great jazz with beautiful views of the best of what Denver has to offer. Mark your calendars now for June-August.
9. Marijuana: Will Denver profit or suffer from a bold new approach to managing weed? Only time will tell if the Mile High City stays on top, or goes up in smoke.
10. Urban Design/Architecture: With all the building going on in Denver, the architecture is, overall, boring. Ditto with recently re-designed downtown plazas. Let’s hope developers in 2014 start thinking long-term and invest in better design. Maybe the city can entice better design through tax breaks or some other scheme that will reward high quality, striking design that we’ll enjoy for decades to come.
11. Big Thinking: Our excellent Mayor envisions a visionary Airport City in the vacant fields around DIA; but we need a Vision for the urban heart where people actually live. In Spring 2014, we’ll get it when the survey Imagine2020 is released. We offer a few Denver BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals): rehab and beautify the Cherry Creek corridor from Colorado Blvd. to Confluence Park; improve streetscaping in commercial areas all over the city; unite Auraria Campus and downtown with a massive green space/festival park by submerging Speer Blvd (and Light Rail) between Colfax and Auraria Pkwy.; entice property owners in key locations downtown to develop their properties or allow temporary uses other than parking lots; cap 1-25 between 15th St. and 20th St. with a park to block out noise and pollution and blend Highlands with Riverfront; unite top tourist areas with a free trolley service (Cherry Creek/ Downtown/ City Park/ Commons Park). Think Big Denver.
12. Leafy Greens: Virtually all trees and other greenery struggle to survive in Denver’s high plains desert climate. For years, many trees planted to shade sidewalks and streets have died and not been replaced; notice how many tree grates around town have a blank hole where a tree trunk should be. Unacceptable. City, business owners and residents – please take care of your trees and replace them if they die!
13. Art Scene: The Denver Art Museum’s upcoming “Modern Masters” promises to be spectacular. Hopefully they’ll share the love and collaborate with The Clyfford Still Museum, Kirkland Museum and most importantly, the artists of Denver’s burgeoning arts scene. Perhaps some arts festival inviting attendees to participate in making their own art, inviting local guest artists to show and sell, foodie trucks to feed the masses, etc. Blockbuster shows come and go, but the fruits of community collaboration linger.
14. Sustainability: With every investment, every building permit, every city investment, consideration of ecological sustainability is a must. As recent floods, fires and droughts have proven, our world is changing. Denver must lead in thinking long-term and investing wisely.
What are your thoughts? What do you celebrate about 2013 and hope for, for 2014? Also, check out 5280 Magazine’s list of Wishful Thinking for our fair city. Great stuff to get us all thinking. And for a list of some of the highlights of what’s coming to town in 2014, read our blog from the folks at VisitDenver.
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