From lane closures to scarce parking — anyone who frequently drives the streets of Denver has an idea of what construction zones to avoid and when. And in a city with so many options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks avoiding a few troubled areas is nothing more than a mere annoyance — that is, unless you are an employee or business owner of one of the shops in those construction zones.

Unfortunately for those who live and work in these zones, it’s more than an annoyance. Take Brighton Boulevard in RiNo for example, a strip that local favorites from Mister Tuna to Rebel and Izakaya Ronin call home. The popular boulevard has been subject to a transformative construction project for the past 20 months. And while these renovations aim to have a positive effect on the community, it seems that they have had a negative effect on some business owners — even contributing to the closure of one restaurant. Now, the 20-month transformative project which included the addition of sidewalks, bike lanes and stop lights will begin to wind down and the RiNo Arts District is throwing a street party to celebrate.

“We know that being in the midst of a construction zone has required tenacity on the part of our west-side businesses over the past two years,” said RiNo Art District President, Jamie Giellis. “We want to celebrate and commemorate this momentous project wrapping up and remind visitors and residents alike that this side of RiNo is bursting with life and activity.”

Photo courtesy of RiNo Arts District on Facebook.

However, the entire construction project isn’t totally over. This first phase of the project (29th Street to 40th Street) will reach “substantial completion this week.” Currently, the event promises you’ll be able to “ride your bike on our brand new cycletrack, walk on the brand new pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, or drive down a street free from cones.” Which, admittedly is a big step for Brighton. However, some projects might linger (the sidewalks at the intersection Brighton and 38th were still missing over the weekend). The rest of the development (40th Street to 44th Street) is said to wrap up in the Summer of 2019.

The party will take place this Thursday, June 21, at the intersection of 35th street and Brighton Boulevard from 4 to 8 p.m., with an official ribbon cutting at 2:30 p.m. And it will be attended by Mayor Hancock and members of the RiNo General Improvement District. In addition to the ribbon cutting, these locations throughout RiNo will entertain with free food, drinks, live music, live mural painting,  giveaways and more. 

City Gate – 2890 Brighton Blvd
Industry Denver -3001 Brighton Blvd.
Converge Denver -3327 Brighton Blvd.
The Source – 3350 Brighton Blvd.
Urban Cyclist – 3434 Brighton Blvd.
Whole Meds – 3450 Brighton Blvd.
Plinth Gallery – 3520 Brighton Blvd.
Catalyst – 3513 Brighton Blvd.
Great Divide Brewery – 1812 35th St.
Mockery Brewing – 3501 Delgany St.
Collegiate Peaks -3655 Brighton Blvd.
Natural Grocers -3757 Brighton Blvd.
Blue Moon Brewing -3750 Chestnut Pl.
Zeppelin Station -3501 Wazee St.
RiNo Made Store – 3501 Wazee St. #109

And if free food, music, booze and art weren’t enough the event will even reward guests for visiting eight or more locations on the featured list. With the party passport, attendants who make it to at least eight spots can return their passport to the RiNo Made store to be included in a drawing to win one of several giveaways including food, drinks, a new bike, free night at The Source Hotel and more.

“This opening signifies so much more than the construction of Brighton Boulevard being done,” said Giellis. “This is a chance to move into a new era for the west side of RiNo and celebrate the past and future of the area.”

RiNo has certainly been through the ringer. And this party will be a welcome end to the lengthy construction that its residents and our community have had to endure. We are looking forward to hassle-free parking and open lanes once again and if that excites you, head to the intersection of 35th street and Brighton Boulevard from 4 to 8 p.m., and for the official ribbon cutting at 2:30 p.m.

Additional reporting by Brittany Werges.