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Civic Center and Rotary Centennial Selected as Frontline Parks

Each month, City Parks Alliance recognizes two “Frontline Parks” to promote and highlight inspiring examples of urban park excellence, innovation, and stewardship across the country. The program also seeks to highlight examples of the challenges facing our cities’ parks as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures, and urban neighborhood decay.

Civic Center Park
Civic Center is the primary green space in the center of Denver, and as such, it serves as both regional and neighborhood park.  The urban park hosts the Rocky Mountain region’s largest public festivals, political rallies, and public celebrations.  The neo-classical architecture in the park provides the perfect backdrop to one of the city’s largest public art collections.  Surrounded by the City County Building, Colorado State Capitol, Greek Theater, Voorhies Memorial and the McNichols Building (formerly the Carnegie Library), its importance is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places and the Civic Center Historic District, a Denver Landmark District.  The experience is a draw for hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.

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Civic Center

In 2005, a comprehensive master plan was adopted for the park, which recommended the formation of a non-profit organization, the Civic Center Conservancy.  The public-private partnership has grown significantly through passionate volunteerism to restore, enhance and activate Denver’s historic Civic Center.  In 2007, the Better Denver Bond invested $9.5 million in the complete rehabilitation of the park’s historic structures.

Rotary Centennial Park
Long Beach’s Rotary Centennial Park has been called a “ribbon of green” due to the contrast of its colorful landscaping and art elements against the monotones of apartments that surround it. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Rotary International in 2005, the Long Beach Rotary Club raised $100,000 to help design and construct a 1.2-acre park at Pacific Coast Highway and Junipero Avenue. This city-owned undeveloped land along the former Pacific Electric right-of-way is surrounded by a densely developed area with nearly 80 percent of the residents living in apartments with no backyards.

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Before & After

Long Beach Rotary involved the public and stakeholders throughout the design process.  Community input was translated into plans that incorporated a solar system theme with art installations of planets, a sundial sculpture, benches, turf, trees, playground equipment, and a shade shelter. These creative elements have made Rotary Centennial Park one of the most unique and inviting parks in the city and a welcome addition to a park-poor neighborhood.  The Rotary’s involvement didn’t stop with the park’s creation.  Every month since the park opening, Long Beach Rotarians have held work parties to help clean, repair and maintain the park.

Frontline Parks is generously supported by DuMor, Inc. and PlayCore.

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