By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4)– Denver’s image may be one an outdoor-friendly city, but in reality, there’s work to be done.

“I would say we are sort of desperate for a community amenity like this that attracts people to it attracts new people, visitors and locals,” Andrew Iltis is the Economic Development Director for the Downtown Denver Partnership.

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(credit: Downtown Denver Partnership)

He says with the help of individual neighborhood groups, they are working to connect Denver.

“It’s a 5.280-mile trail that encircles the downtown core, it really connects all of the neighborhoods that are kind of near downtown,” Iltis said.

Right now, the 5280 Trail- as it would be called- is mostly on paper with renderings showing the route, and what each segment could look like.

In Capitol Hill, it would mean changes to Sherman Street. Lincoln Park would see upgrades on Mariposa and in the Ballpark neighborhood, 21st would be a focus.

(credit: Downtown Denver Partnership)

Rob Toftness rides that stretch of road often on his bicycle.

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“It’s a good corridor because it’s quiet and I just think it could be better utilized,” he said.

It’s the first segment of the proposed trail to see changes with a goal of one day functioning as a street, park and plaza. Already, trees waiting to be planted are lining the street.

“Any improvement is a good improvement,” Toftness said.

But when it comes to seeing any real construction, Iltis says it will be years, with funding being their biggest hurdle.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s going to take time, it’s going to take a lot of different funding partners, including private partners, to come to the table to get this thing to move forward,” Iltis said.

It’s a big vision, but if accomplished it might help bridge that gap between Denver’s image and what the city really has to offer.

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For the 21st Street phase of the 5280 Trail, the city is still looking for community input. Here are links to that survey as well as the complete development plan.

Karen Morfitt