One square block unites communities

12:17 PM, Dec 1, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - A once-vacant field of trash, dirt and other reminders of urban decay has now transformed the most-diverse square block of Denver into one of its most vibrant as well. The aptly-named New Freedom Park at 13th and Xenia provides the surrounding refugee community with a place to gather, play and plant.

"He's from Senegal. He's from Nepal. He's from Sudan," said Netra Kafle while getting ready for another game on the park's soccer field.

It's a crowd that rivals any World Cup match you've ever seen.

"Where are you from?" shouts Kafle.

"Burundi," replies the teen.

Kafle tells him he is from Nepal.

"I spend every hour of my day here," says Kafle. "I've made a lot of friends."

9NEWS photojournalist Corky Scholl spent the last year and a half chronicling the birth of New Freedom Park in east Denver. The park, built with the input of the community, was really the brainchild of the Trust for Public Land as well as Denver Urban Gardens.

"The approach we had for this park was really to have the community design it for us," Wade Shelton told Scholl.

Shelton is with the Trust for Public Land.

During the many months Scholl spent talking to the residents of the nearby Grace Apartments he learned more about a community that is made up of close to 90 percent refugees.

"Some people here may not know the person next door, but when they come outside to (New Freedom Park) and their kids are playing together, they're going to start talking to each other," said Rasulo Rasulo, who is from Somalia.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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