If you were wondering what the shrouds covering the Voorhies Memorial in Civic Center Park were all about, be rest assured that it's not the work of Christo, the off-the-wall curtain artist. (Although that would be fun too).
No, the Civic Center Park Restoration is underway and the fabric panels draped over the structure are there to create a temperature controlled environment to protect new masonry and grout. They seem to add some mystery and a sense of anticipation, too - if you're inclined to get excited about historic restoration projects.
The entire $9.5 million project consists of restoring three 90 year-old structures in the park: The Voorhies Memorial, The Greek Theater and the balustrade which connects the two. In recent years, these structures have been deteriorating with stone blocks scaling and chipping, drainage pipes rusting away and, occasionally, a loose piece of masonry falling to the ground. No one has been hit with falling masonry that we know of, but It really was time for the city to act.
Thanks to the efforts of the Civic Center Conservancy, the Better Denver Bond Program, Denver Parks and Recreation, and dozens of cooperating businesses and citizens, the project should be complete by mid June - just in time for summer.
At the kickoff information meeting held January 14, Mayor John Hickenlooper reminded the audience that the vision of Mayor Robert W. Speer, under whose administration the park was created, was that Civic Center Park was "to encourage prosperity to abide with us - to be a cornerstone of civic beauty". Mayor Speer, according to historian Thomas J. Noel, believed that municipal beautification could lift the spirits of the citizenry in troubled times. Considering the present challenges we face, some uplifting of the spirit sure couldn't hurt.