Denver, CO

Needles litter playground equipment at Denver park

David Heitz

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The City and County of Denver has closed the playground at Governor’s Park because it has been overrun with needles.

People experiencing homelessness frequent the park, which has a sharp’s container for needle disposal. Still, children and parents kept finding needles in the playground equipment.

“The needles kept coming and we wanted to be sure the kids that wanted to go to the park were safe from needles,” said City Councilman Chris Hinds, who represents district 10.

Governor’s Park is a tiny pocket park located at the foot of the hill of the governor’s mansion lawn. The address is 701 Pennsylvania St.

People experiencing homelessness sometimes sleep in the park at night. For a while in 2019, tents even were pitched at the top of the hill, just a stone’s throw from the governor’s mansion.

“This park reflects everything of Denver the good and the bad,” wrote Google reviewer Michael Alfaro. “From happy pups to homeless people right next door to the most powerful person in Colorado….. (The) park is always filled with homeless people and they trash the place in the mornings. Pretty sad that its right next to the governor’s mansion.”

Dog park coming to Quality Hill Park

Meantime, there’s good park news for district 10, too. Hinds revealed during his Facebook chat last week that a dog park is coming to Quality Hill Park. The park is at 498 E. 10th Ave., at the corner of Pennsylvania Street.

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“It has been fenced off to make changes to the park itself to turn it into a dog park,” Hinds said. “Hooray, we’re finally getting our first dog park in district 10.”

More than 70,000 people live in district 10, Hinds said, with 18,000 people in Capitol Hill, the city’s densest neighborhood. The median age for residents of district 10 is 31, and there are dogs aplenty.

Hinds said the dog park at Quality Hill Park will be temporary until a permanent dog park is built for the district.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at local newspapers in Los Angeles, Detroit, and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am living proof that people can rebound from mental illness with proper treatment, even after experiencing homelessness. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living here.

Denver, CO
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