By Raetta Holdman

DENVER (CBS4) – Civic Center Park is a real treasure in the middle of Denver, and it’s the perfect place for Independence Eve. The park was the vision of Mayor Robert Speer.

(credit: CBS)

It’s likely he would appreciate how it has become a focal point for everything from festivals to political rallies and protests.

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Denver architect Dennis Humphries has a soft spot for Civic Center Park. He’s one of the founding members of the Civic Center Conservancy.

(credit: Denver Public Library)

“It’s also interesting that the area of the park that most people don’t understand was totally covered with residences and businesses, and that it was really what I refer to as a kind of urban renewal project to tear down all the buildings and create this outdoor space,” Humphries said.

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Speer would also find a way to get the wealthy citizens of the city to pay for the park, not just the open space, but the Voorhies Memorial as well as the Greek Amphitheater. Thanks to a who’s who of Denver founders, it’s celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

(credit: CBS)

“It was designed by local architects, the flanking arms of the colonnade extend and inform the space of the amphitheater,” Humphries said. “Our goal was really to find ways to restore the brilliance of what Mayor Speer had in mind of creating this central gathering place.”

(credit: CBS)

Independence Eve presented by Anadarko starts at 4 p.m., and music starts at 5 p.m. Fireworks are expected to start at around 9:30 p.m.

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Raetta Holdman