Reynolds Landing to see river improvements

Drops in river channel to be made safer; old house offers opportunities

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Tucked away behind Breckenridge Brewery along the South Platte River, Reynolds Landing is quietly becoming another jewel in the crown of public improvements along the once-neglected waterway, officials say.

“It really is a chance to create continuous recreation along the river,” Littleton Mayor Debbie Brinkman said. “People love to engage with the water, and this is a fun project.”

Developing Reynolds Landing has been a lengthy process, Brinkman said, starting with the 2005 acquisition of the property from the Superchi family, who farmed the area for decades. Much of the park's infrastructure, such as the parking lot and bathrooms, was built in 2016.

The park is part of larger efforts by the South Platte Working Group, a consortium of dozens of municipalities and counties that line the river, to reconnect city dwellers with a river that saw decades of disregard, Brinkman said. The group funds projects at the park through a wide variety of grants and municipal funds.

Next on the working group's agenda for Reynolds Landing: softening three drops in the river's course through the park to reduce hazards to swimmers and boaters.

“The upstream drop is particularly hairy,” said Laura Kroeger, a program manager at the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, one of the South Platte Working Group's primary partners. Kroeger spoke about the park at an April 23 city council study session.

Kroeger said the drops are “a public safety issue the district is really concerned about.”

The plan is to create smaller, safer drops in the river's course, Brinkman said, and create pools of calm water for children to play in. Ultimately, Brinkman said, she'd like to see visitors be able to get in the water at the park's upstream end and float the length of the park and get out to do it all over again.

The park also offers another opportunity for civic engagement, after the city acquired the final private home within the confines of the park, said Littleton Public Works Director Keith Reester.

Though the Superchis sold the park to the city 15 years ago, they retained rights to a home in the middle of the park, Reester said, but family matriarch Barbara Superchi passed away in 2018, and the city took possession of the house.

The city hasn't yet decided what to do with the old Superchi house, Reester said.

“It's yet to be tackled, but it's an exciting chance to do something great,” Reester said.

Brinkman said she'd like to build on the success of Carson Nature Center, to the south in South Platte Park, and use the house as an educational amenity.

Ultimately, Brinkman said, the park's future is up to citizens.

“We have an opportunity, thanks to the South Platte Working Group and our funding partners, to do something really great here,” Brinkman said. “We can put together a cool plan and build something future generations can enjoy.”

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