By Sara Martin
The Globeville neighborhood is reimagining urban spaces with a pocket park.
The new pocket park is a work in progress and is filling in the space which was previously occupied by tiny homes from the Colorado Village Collaborative at 4400 N. Pearl St. Pocket parks, which are small open spaces found typically in urban areas, often provide a break from the bustle of surrounding city life for communities. Oftentimes, they can be used for small events, play areas for children, and as spaces for relaxing and meeting friends.
To kick off the start of the new park, Globeville First, a neighborhood organization, hosted a gardening event where neighbors and community members each lended a hand. Filling new planter boxes with some hearty winter plants and flowers was the main goal of the event, hoping to provide some greenery as Colorado enters the colder months.
The event was funded by the Denver Economic Development Office through an activation grant created for beautification projects.
“A pocket park is a park where there’s not exactly room for a larger scale park. It’s limited in size and it’s used to bring some greenery and trees that are much needed in our neighborhood,” said Gayle LeRoux, a Globeville resident.
The space that the pocket park is filling faced some discourse and concerns previously from residents when the land—owned by the city of Denver—was turned into an area for small homes built for people experiencing homelessness. The spot was not maintained beforehand, often experiencing dumping and small grass fires according to LeRoux.
“We have these two highways that we’re living in the middle of and we’re surrounded by pollution. I just felt like it wasn’t a good place to bring people to, since we still need to figure out the solution for the pollution for our residents,” said LeRoux.
Also attending were members from Denver Parks and Recreation, Colorado Compost, and the Birdseed Collective, which is a nonprofit community outreach organization. Haley Gabbard, who is the strategic partnerships and government liaison at Colorado Compost, was at Saturday morning’s event supplying compost, which helps provide nutrients and keep the soil rich for plants to grow.
Colorado Compost is a public benefit company whose goals are to provide accessibility to composting in urban areas and to combat climate change.
“This grant is a perfect example because it’s a neighborhood beautification and activation grant from Denver Economic Development Office,” Gabbard said. “We’re helping provide trees to homes and helping provide compost at home. (Colorado Composting program) is free to the community members and homeowners (of Globeville).”
As the morning went on, kids and adults alike had the opportunity to get their hands dirty, and afterwards enjoyed the basket of fruit and Mexican conchas.
“We’re just neighbors. We just feel like this is the time to get together and plant some plants and try to make the corner a bit more beautiful,” LeRoux said.
LeRoux has been a resident of Globeville for 25 years and her husband’s family has lived there for two generations.
The Globeville pocket park is slated to receive more garden planters soon from the grant to continue working on transforming the community space.