Northside Park

Denver, CO

An abandoned sewage treatment plant transforms into a unique neighborhood park

Wenk Associates led master planning through construction for the visionary development of a park from an abandoned sewage treatment plant located a short distance from Downtown Denver.  The 13-acre site was severely blighted, and the plant remains were vandalized and graffiti-covered.  Completely razing and removing the plant would have been too expensive because of high demolition costs, so no appropriate or economically feasible use could be identified for the site. Wenk Associates suggested reuse of the plant infrastructure, presenting a viable solution, which resulted in a net savings of up to 25% of demolition costs.

The design for the park included adaptive reuse of many plant structures that were incorporated into elements such as seating adjacent to multi-purpose play fields and park shelters.  A concrete-lined drainage channel was re-routed through the park to create a series of wetlands to improve water quality and create wildlife habitat.

The Northside Park project was recognized nationally with a Design Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects and a Phoenix Award from the Environmental Protection Agency, and was featured Landscape Architecture Magazine in May 2001.


“I was a little surprised this wasn’t more controversial.  But the community was enthusiastic about leaving the skeleton to show their kids and grandchildren.”

Bill Wenk, FASLA - interview for Landscape Architecture Magazine


City and County of Denver, Parks and Recreation




American Society of Landscape Architects, National Merit Award for Design,  2001

EPA Region 8, Phoenix Award for Excellence in Brownfields Redevelopment, 2001

American Society of Landscape Architects Colorado Chapter, Honor Award for Design and Land Stewardship Award, 1999