At a meeting January 21, members of the Stapleton Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) finalized language for its annual report to the Stapleton Development Corporation (SDC).
CAB advises SDC on implementation of the Stapleton Development Plan, better known as the Green Book. The report concluded that “overall implementation of the Green Book has proceeded well” and the urban planning results (infrastructure, parks, market-rate housing, etc.) “exceed…the original concepts” in many areas. CAB observed, however, that “rental and below-market-rate housing development is falling well behind the pacing of market-rate residential development”.
Third-quarter housing statistics prepared by Forest City show that both market rate rentals and affordable-for-sale units are at about half of the desired levels. From Stapleton’s inception, housing has been viewed as a primary means for achieving community diversity.
The committee reviewed a preliminary analysis of Stapleton census numbers prepared by State Demographer Elizabeth Garner, a Stapleton resident. Drawn from the 2014 American Community Survey, the numbers show a consistent trend when viewed historically and geographically. Over time and proceeding from west to east, Stapleton has become more affluent and less diverse racially, ethnically and in terms of income. Stapleton as a whole far exceeds Denver in terms of owner-occupied units, median home value and household income.
Some CAB members criticized the draft report for dividing Stapleton into “East” and “West” blocks. Others explained that the Census Bureau reports data by census tracts that use Central Park Boulevard as the dividing line. CAB member Damon Knop said the data point out that diversity has gotten “worse” as development has moved east. Others suggested the comparison should not be to Denver as a whole but to similar neighborhoods such as Cherry Creek or LoHi (lower Highlands). CAB Co-Chair Lucia Correll reminded the members that the Green Book envisioned a Stapleton that mirrors the diversity of Denver as a whole.
Garner has been invited to present the final numbers from her analysis at the February 17 CAB meeting.
CAB also expressed concern with uncertainty over funding to complete trunk open space improvements in Filing 10 (far northeast) and some major capital improvements such as the widening of Central Park Boulevard bridge over Sand Creek.