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Parker is a home rule municipality in Douglas County, Colorado, United States. As a self-declared "Town" under the Home Rule statutes, Parker is the second most populous town in the county; Castle Rock is the most populous. In recent years, Parker has become a commuter town at the southeasternmost corner of the Denver Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 census the town population was 45,297; the estimated population in 2014 was 49,857. Parker is now the 19th most populous municipality in the state of Colorado.
Parker is located in northeastern Douglas County at 39°31′10″N 104°45′57″W (39.519488, −104.765833). Its northernmost border follows the Arapahoe County line, and the city of Aurora touches the town's northeast border. The center of Parker is 23 miles (37 km) southeast of downtown Denver. Castle Rock, the Douglas County seat, is 15 miles (24 km) to the southwest. Unincorporated communities that border Parker are Dove Valley to the northwest, Stonegate to the west, and The Pinery to the south.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 20.5 square miles (53.1 km2), of which 0.02 square miles (0.04 km2), or 0.08%, is water. Cherry Creek flows through Parker on its way north toward Denver.
As of the census of 2000, there were 23,558 people, 7,929 households, and 6,525 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,615.2 people per square mile (623.4/km²). There were 8,352 housing units at an average density of 572.6 per square mile (221.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 92.60% White, 1.71% Asian, 1.01% Black, 0.45% Native American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.88% from other races, and 2.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.80% of the population.
There were 7,929 households out of which 52.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 71.8% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.7% were non-families. 13.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 1.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.96 and the average family size was 3.27.
In the town, the population was spread out with 34.0% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 43.4% from 25 to 44, 15.0% from 45 to 64, and 2.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $74,116, and the median income for a family was $77,384 (these figures had risen to $80,679 and $89,154, respectively, as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $52,070 versus $35,700 for females. The per capita income for the town was $27,479. About 1.7% of families and 2.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.2% of those under age 18 and 2.1% of those age 65 or over.
Parker currently has one local magazine and one local paper. Search Parker Magazine is the local magazine and the Parker Chronicle is the local paper. Parker also receives the county-wide channel, Douglas County 8, which broadcasts school sports events and assorted programs run by residents.
Parker is served by Douglas County School District RE-1. Douglas County School District has among the highest level of students in Colorado. Students have scored, on average, 12 to 19 percent above the state average. The district was rated 9th in the state in 2009. The Pine Lane Elementary School had the largest student enrollment in Parker until Mammoth Heights Elementary opened in January 2007 and took the overload.
Two of the three principal high schools in the area, Ponderosa and Chaparral, have a cross-town rivalry and compete annually for The Pride of Parker trophy. Legend High School opened in 2008, as Douglas County's ninth High School.
Private schools in Parker include:
For other Parker and Douglas County school information:
Parker Secondary Schools
Parker also has four public charter schools:
The Town maintains 10 trails with over 27 miles of concrete paved, multi-use trails, over 6 miles of natural surface equestrian trails and a 1.8-mile natural surface, multi-use loop trail. The Cherry Creek Trail runs along Cherry Creek, north and south through Parker. Bicycling, hiking, nature walks, and cross-country skiing are all popular uses.
The Rueter–Hess Reservoir is located west of town and is not yet open for recreational use. Nevertheless, planned activities there include fishing, hiking, and non-motorized boating. No natural streams flow into the reservoir, instead, water rights owned by the Parker Water and Sanitation District provide water delivered via Cherry Creek and a local canals. If filled to capacity, surface size would be 1,140 acres.
The Parker Recreation Center is located alongside Lincoln Avenue and has several amenities such as gyms, swimming pools, fitness and cycling studios, sports and fitness classes, and more.
Notable individuals who were born in and/or have lived in Parker include:
This climate type is usually found in the outskirts of true deserts in low-latitude, semiarid regions. It has a cooler, wetter winter resulting from the higher latitude and mid-latitude frontal cyclone activity. Annual precipitation totals are greater than in tropical and subtropical desert climates. Yearly variations in amount are not as extreme as in the true deserts but are nevertheless large. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "BSk". (Tropical and Subtropical Steppe Climate).
The town currently maintains about 250 acres of developed parkland and more than 900 acres of open space.
The Wildlife Experience, now part of CU South Denver, is an art and natural history museum located in Parker.
Parker is also home to the Parker Arts, Culture, & Events Center (PACE). It is a venue that hosts art exhibits, art classes, theater productions, and concerts. It is the official home of the Parker Symphony Orchestra, a community orchestra established in 1994, that offers a full season of orchestra concerts annually. The Parker Symphony was formerly the South Suburban Community Orchestra.
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