THE EYES HAVE IT – Civic Center Park going the way of Afghanistan

While the Biden Administration has surrendered Afghanistan to the Taliban, Denver has similarly surrendered Civic Center Park to drugs, rats, and the homeless, now forced to admit defeat and close the park.

City officials announced recently that the park, “Will shut down for the foreseeable future due to crime and other safety risks to public health” according to The Denver Channel. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has observed the gradual but steady decline of Denver. Homelessness and crime are on the rise, along with the downstream problems of drug use, trash, human waste, and rodent infestations.

Even if local residents are not aware, New Yorkers, 2000 miles away have taken notice. The New York Post reported on Civic Center Park, observing that “It has devolved into a haven for drug users, crime and human waste.” New York City has its own share of such parks.

The park didn’t turn sour overnight. Over a year ago the park was trashed during the George Floyd riots and although the riots eventually stopped, the decay did not.

Where have the Mayor and other city officials been? A doctor watching a patient progress from a cough, to a fever, to sepsis, to a ventilator, then finally deciding to do something, is not a good doctor. Rather than dealing with problems years ago when they were small, officials talked much but did little.

When John Hickenlooper was still Mayor, he implemented a plan to end homelessness in 10 years called “Denver’s Road Home.”. That was in 2007. 14 years later, Hickenlooper’s road has led to the Governor’s mansion then the US Senate, but for Denver there was no road home, only a road to more homelessness.

Hickenlooper’s DRH budget was more than $40 million and the plan “operated without a clear, updated mission or purpose” according to Denver‘s City Auditor in 2015.  This sounds much like President Biden’s disastrous Afghan withdrawal plan. 

As Denver closes and cleans up the park, the homeless will simply be relocated to another park or neighborhood, which will become the next rat and drug paraphernalia haven to be cleaned up in the future.

What about some attention to the underlying problem of homelessness in Denver? Programs like Step Denver, emphasizing sobriety, work, accountability, and community seem a more sensible approach rather than simply rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking Titanic.

Under Denver’s present leadership, the Mile High City is becoming the Mile High Mess, a city trying to decide which direction it wants to head. Is Denver becoming Chicago, a dangerous city with dozens of shootings every weekend? Or is Denver going in the direction of San Francisco, sidewalks filled with the homeless and human waste?

Denver residents are seeing the leadership they voted for. The ballot box is one way to reverse course before the city becomes another American urban blight.