3825 Shoshone Street
Sat and Sun 10AM–4PM
Architectural Style: Aztec Ball Court
Year Built: 1994
The garden was started in 1994 due the violence that had plagued our community. From 1992 to 1994 there had been 108 children killed by the hands of other children and Troy Chavez was among those victims. Although there were many children who were innocent by-standers this was a result of the change in how gangs became in Denver and the consequence of that change. In response to the tragedy, Margaret Montano and Ana Chavez de Quintana along with other parents in the neighborhood formed Parents for Peace and organized marches to raise community awareness. This garden was created to honor the memory of the children who were victims of violence and to remind the community to always fight to make things better.
The Troy Chavez Memorial Peace Garden is a sanctuary for neighborhood kids and is designed to encourage reflection of potential violent actions of youth who are at risk. It provides a sacred space for young people to labor with contemplation about the direction in life they should choose as well as learn about the environment and our planet. Many of the neighborhood residents are descendants of Mexican origin and the garden art reflects that heritage and ancestry.
Denver Urban Gardens partnered with the community to build the park in 1994 in order to give youths an opportunity for meaningful work. The garden is laid out in the form of an Aztec Ball Court, and t he garden site, which was once a drug and alcohol haven, was donated by Leprino Foods.
Multiple plazas and points of interest can be seen from the garden. There are smaller gardens for individual work, and in the back of the garden there is a greenhouse and plots for people to grow their own vegetables and flowers. The garden is beautiful year-round because various art pieces give meaning to the gardening experience. The tiles were painted by family members and friends of those who were victims of violence as a way of offering healing to those who lost someone. Muralist Emanuel Martinez painted a mural with the assistance of the youth as well as Frank Guerrero who completed a stone carving of Quetzalcóatl as you enter.
Denver Urban Gardens (DUG)
Denver’s community garden history dates back to the 1890s. Encouraged by Mayor Stapleton, city residents planted Victory Gardens during WWII. Mayor Pena spearheaded a Community Garden Program in the 1970s as well.
DUG was formally incorporated in 1985. The idea was the brainchild of Chris Cordts, a CSU Extension Agent. The first gardens began in the Highland neighborhood to give a small group of Hmong women a place to garden, and now gardens are established in primarily low-income neighborhoods. 30 DUG gardens are school based and 20 gardens serve specific communities like churches and food banks, and are not open to the public.
www.westword.com/news/troy-chavez-memorial-peace-garden; dug.org; troychavezfoundation.weebly.com/garden.