Arapahoe Steps At Calvary Church Golden

The Heart of Golden Doesn’t Miss a Beat

When the historic Calvary Church in downtown Golden, Colorado, was granted rights to develop a section of Arapahoe Street in downtown Golden, Colorado, they called Civitas to brainstorm. Considering multiple options over several years, the church was unwavering in their goal to create a space that would build community and serve as the heart of the city. Aligning with Golden’s 2030 plan to make the city more green, walkable and social, Civitas helped to envision a plaza that has since become a popular town square.

In its original form, the inaccessible street was too steep to function as a gathering space. But the hillside perch offered vistas of the Rocky Mountain foothills, and a valuable location at the heart of the city. Taking inspiration from iconic public spaces such as Rome’s Spanish Steps and Barcelona’s Parc Guell, Civitas saw the site’s steep topography as an opportunity to physically adapt the space to enhance relationships between neighbors and communities that had felt disconnected.

To achieve the vision, the former right-of-way was transformed into a large central plaza nestled between terraces and grand steps, intertwined with the historic tree canopy along with new foliage and colorful plantings of native grasses and seasonal flowers. Integrated ramps make all levels of the terraced park accessible, while custom benches, seating areas, lighting and brick and stone patterns – recalling Golden’s mining camp history – serve to animate the space.

The design lays the groundwork for growth, including an expanded parking deck that has helped to address a city-wide need not only for parking but also for event space, as well as infrastructure built into the terraced steps for future use as an amphitheater. The lively, lushly landscaped public space has recently opened to accommodate festivals, art and farmers markets, chili cook-offs and community celebrations while providing additional connectivity and parking for the busy city center.

Golden, Colorado, U.S.

Master planning, landscape design

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