Ezra Salazar smiled as he ran up the concrete steps to the top of Gene Leahy Mall’s metal slides.
The 3-year-old joined a crowd of children at the top, some with wax paper in hand, a few waving to their parents below, all eager to slide down one of the park’s most iconic features.
The slides have gotten a lot of use since the downtown park’s reopening July 1.
Tens of thousands of people visited Gene Leahy Mall during its opening weekend, both to see the park that was under construction for more than three years, and to take advantage of dozens of free events.
The overhaul of the mall and two other downtown parks began with the formation of the fundraising nonprofit Downtown Riverfront Trust.
Including a city contribution of $50 million, the Downtown Riverfront Trust raised about $400 million for the three-park project.
The Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (MECA) manages the park.
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Construction on the mall started in March 2019. Heartland of America Park and Lewis & Clark Landing are in earlier stages of renovation and expected to reopen in 2023.
Below are some of the new and improved features at the revamped Gene Leahy Mall.