UPDATE: As of 2007, the City & County of Denver rejected this proposal for the redesign of Civic Center Park.
Civic Center Park lies in the heart of downtown, but many Denver residents avoid the park because of the homeless people and drug dealers who camp out on the lawns. A proposed redesign of the park by Daniel Libeskind, who designed the new wing of the art museum, modernizes the park while maintaining its classical ambience.
The proposal keeps the historic Greek Amphitheatre and all classical elements of the park. The design would open the McNichols Building, which currently houses the City Treasury, to the public. The McNichols Building would be restored, and a restaurant and gift shop added. A water plaza that could be converted to an ice rink in the winter would also be built. Conservationists decry the design by saying it goes too far, while others applaud the proposed revitalization of Denver's historic park.
A series of Town Hall meetings were held at various locations around Denver during September and October 2006. The public's comments will be incorporated into a report, which will be presented to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board in January 2007. The Parks and Recreation department also surveyed residents on the redesign project.
Denver mayor Robert Speer first envisioned Civic Center Park in 1904, but construction did not begin on the park until 1919. The City Beautiful movement inspired Speer (namesake of Speer Blvd.) to create a classical aesthetic for the park that included the Greek Theater and Colonnades. The park's designed has remained virtually unchanged since the early 1900s.