2021 | APA Colorado Honor Award for Public Engagement
2020 | ASLA Colorado – Merit Award for Equity, Inclusion & Diversity

St. Charles Place Park is located adjacent to the St. Charles Recreation Center in Denver’s Cole neighborhood. Valerian worked closely with Denver Parks & Recreation and the St. Charles Recreation Center for nearly five years to create a new vision for the park. Working closely with members of the recreation center, a volunteer group of youth formed the St. Charles Ambassadors to represent the interest of the community and assist with the redesign of the park. The Ambassadors hosted community meetings to gain valuable input about the park from the nearby residents. Valerian worked one on one with the St. Charles Ambassadors to create a cohesive plan for the park while mentoring the students in the process.  As part of the collaboration working with the Ambassadors, Valerian developed the Building Bridges {insert link}document to memorialize the teaming process with the planning team for the park.

Bridges work to connect people, places and ideas. A bridge between public and private entities can connect both physical spaces and communities, creating greater purpose and a sense of place.

The park was one of the volunteer sites for Greater & Greener Denver 2019 and included efforts to install new playground equipment, plantings, and an Ambassador Mural on the adjacent parking garage with the Denver artist Detour.  The park was constructed over three phases and completed in the Summer of 2021. Improvements include three nature playgrounds with swings, climbers, slide, water pump, log borders and boulder walls, a large grass mound, decorative gateways with lighting, additional plantings, trails, new sidewalk, and a new accessible entrance at the recreation center.

Photos courtesy of Scott Dressel-Martin

“We watched first hand as the Valerian team built a bridge between the historic Cole community and its new neighbors from the River North neighborhood to create a public-private partnership to reimagine St. Charles Place Park. The Cole community, the RiNo neighborhood and all of the stakeholders involved in the St. Charles Place Park playground appreciate Valerian’s leadership on this project.”



Denver Parks & Recreation


Cole Neighborhood, Denver, CO

In Collaboration with


Building Bridges Document (Original)

Project Images