The Reynolds Landing is a unique and valuable resource to the Littleton community. But its greatest asset, the river, has deteriorated over time and has become hazardous. As part of the restoration process, they plan to create access to the water that will allow for a healthier, more diverse experience, restoring the river to its former vibrancy and making it an asset to the community once again. Enhanced river health and enhanced recreation can lead to more diverse uses and a greater appeal to a broader audience, from kids to grandparents, as well as an enhanced connection between communities and nature.
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. Littleton Mayor Debbie Brinkman said it would be a great way to provide continuous recreational opportunities along the river. “People love to engage with the water, and this is a fun project,” he said.
Brinkman said Reynolds Landing has been a lengthy process, starting with the 2005 purchase of the property from the Superchi family, who farmed the area for decades. A large portion of the park’s infrastructure, such as the parking lot and bathrooms, was built in 2016. Brinkman said the park is one piece of a larger plan by the South Platte Working Group, a group of dozens of municipalities and counties that line the river, to reconnect city dwellers with the river. Grants and municipal funding are used by the group to fund projects at the park.
A project next on the working group’s agenda for Reynolds Landing is reducing the hazards to swimmers and boaters by softening three drops in the river’s course. “The upstream drop is particularly scary,” 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. She added that the drops are a public safety concern for the district.
As part of the plan, Brinkman said, smaller, safer drops will be added to the river’s course and pools of calm water will be created for children to play in. The ultimate goal, Brinkman said, is to be able for visitors to get into the water at the upstream end, float across the park, then get out and do it again. The city has also acquired the final private home within the park’s boundaries, which is another opportunity for civic engagement, said Littleton Public Works Director Keith Reester.
Although the Superchis sold the park to the city in the early 1990s, the family retained the right to the home located in the middle of the park, Reester said. However, Matriarch Barbara Superchi died in 2018, and the city now owns the house. There has yet to be a decision about what to do with the old Superchi house. “It’s an exciting opportunity to do something great, but we have yet to tackle it,” 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 great here,” Brinkman said. “We can put together a cool plan and build something future generations can enjoy.”.