As Stapleton has developed, a number of committed volunteers have been meeting monthly to review the actual development against the vision in the Green Book (Stapleton’s Development Plan) and to work with Forest City on meeting the vision.
“Stapleton in many ways is better than what the Green Book called for,” says Jim Wagenlander, a Park Hill resident who has been on Stapleton’s Citizens Advisory Board for 23 years. “I don’t think any of us anticipated it would turn out as successfully as it has. And some people just want to talk about that. And maybe some don’t ever want to talk about that. I think both have to be discussed. In a few areas we’ve fallen short and I don’t think you sweep that under the rug. But that doesn’t dismiss the other successes.”
The Housing and Diversity Committee, which meets monthly, has been concerned for a number of years that the products that have been built at Stapleton don’t meet the goals and projections set in the Green Book for rental and affordable homes.
Rental and affordable homes are a key component of the social justice principles on which Stapleton was created. Two of the principles in the Green Book are: create a community that accommodates a diversity of people—ages, incomes, races, occupations and lifestyles…; and facilitate the development of affordable housing…through a broad mix of housing types, densities and price ranges.
The Stapleton Affordable Housing Plan states it “assumed that approximately 8,000 for-sale dwelling units and 4,000 multi-family rental units will be developed at Stapleton upon final buildout.” As of April 30, 15.3% of the total (all rental and for-sale combined) 6,350 units at Stapleton were rental, half the percentage “assumed” in the Housing Plan.
And Forest City’s contract calls for 10% of all for-sale units to be affordable. As of April 30, with a total of 5,380 for-sale units, only 4.78% were affordable (housing statistics are provided by Forest City each quarter).
Members of the Housing and Diversity Committee have been raising concerns that a range of factors, including the marketing of Stapleton, the cost of homes, and the lack of housing diversity, have contributed to a less diverse population than the Green Book envisioned (as shown in the photo above)—and that, in turn, has influenced how people perceive Stapleton.
Tom Gleason, vice president—public relations for Forest City Stapleton, Inc. says, “It is human nature to seek simple solutions for complex challenges. Forest City has created housing diversity at Stapleton that includes rental homes for low income families transitioning from homelessness, Somalian refugees, and others earning as little as 30% of the Area Median Income in addition to our market rate rentals that attract middle and upper income tenants. And, our for-sale housing, which in the early years started in the middle $100s for affordable and market rate homes and went to more than $1 million, has been marketed widely throughout the broad community, including communities of color.”
How is Stapleton perceived?
Angela Williams, a Stapleton resident and this area’s state representative answers, “Outside of Stapleton the perception is viewed as an upper class gated community. When you look at diversity from a socio-economic, housing and people of color perspective, we know it’s just not present at Stapleton and these areas could use improvement.”
Councilman Chris Herndon, when asked how he thinks Stapleton is perceived outside the community, says, “The perception of Stapleton runs the gamut…The vision of Stapleton is to be an inclusive community and there are some facets where we’re doing a really good job with inclusivity and there are certainly other factors we can do better on. When people look at the demographics of Stapleton along the lines of race, Stapleton is not a reflection of the city and county of Denver, so there are people that think from a race standpoint Stapleton is not as diverse as it could be…I wouldn’t say Stapleton is solely unique to have challenges along the lines of diversity, I would say they’re pretty similar to the challenges of other communities in Denver and far NE Denver.”
Kevin Marchman, board chairman of the Stapleton Development Corporation, says, “What I hear is that Stapleton is a gated community. I don’t think that, but I can see why you come to that conclusion…I come up here (the 29th Ave. Town Center) and shop. It’s not unusual to me that I’m the only black person there… People are asking me all the time, why isn’t Stapleton more diverse?”
Why don’t more people of color move to Stapleton?
At a recent Housing Diversity Committee meeting, Alice Kelly, a Park Hill resident who has been active in the Stapleton Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) for over 20 years, talked about an African American couple she knows who lived at Stapleton and moved to City Park North because they felt more comfortable there. Park Hill resident and recently named president of the Stapleton Development Corporation (SDC) Tammi Holloway said, “I think it’s almost too late (to change the perception of Stapleton).” She says she has friends who can afford to live at Stapleton and looked at Stapleton, but have chosen to drive longer distances and live further from the city because they don’t feel comfortable at Stapleton.
Angela Williams says, “Diversity is more than just affordable housing. We have a lot of different groups at Stapleton that are very active. Business groups, mom groups, singles groups, LGBT groups. But we do not have a group for people of color. We have a community at Stapleton that embraces inclusion for all residents. And we have a community that would put gates up around Stapleton if it were possible. People of color that have socio-economic status (to move here) have told me Stapleton just is not embracing. Park Hill is one of the most diverse embracing communities I know. You’ve got all kinds of people who live there. It’s a different feeling when you’re in Park Hill. It doesn’t matter what color you are.”
Why have rental and affordable for-sale housing lagged?
The Affordable Housing Plan states, “Forest City shall endeavor to develop or cause to be developed Affordable Housing Units at a pace consistent with the pace of development of market-rate housing at Stapleton.”
“That continues to be our endeavor” says Gleason, “but the affordable for-sale housing program has a number of challenges that has limited its success, not only at Stapleton but throughout the City of Denver. Gleason said those challenges include a limited pool of interested buyers who can qualify for a mortgage, restrictions on the amount of allowable appreciation and the restrictions the program places on owners when it comes time for them to sell their homes. “
Councilman Herndon, who is familiar with the city’s efforts to make affordable housing available to a greater number of people, says, “Economic conditions had a hand in changing the dynamics of the community. With that we had a lag in affordable housing product. It certainly prevents diversity from happening as fast as it could.” He also acknowledges the importance of timeliness, “because one thing we don’t want to do is build and not have the occupancy, so timing is always a key piece of development. We certainly want things as best as we can, but we have to make sure that the market conditions are right. But understanding that this (affordable housing) is a requirement, I appreciate Forest City as they continue to let us know as a city where we have challenges…and sit at the table with us and find ways we can better it.”
Although affordable for-sale homes are only at 50% of their goal relative to market priced homes that have been built (4.78% rather than 10%), Forest City has exceeded a requirement that 20% of all rental units be affordable, with 28.6% of rental units being affordable as of April 30.
Alice Kelly, at a Housing Diversity committee meeting, acknowledged that there was market pressure for single family homes. “The community was growing. Young people were looking for housing and that’s what they wanted.” She added that Forest City President John Lehigh has told her, in regard to housing products, “This development is market driven.”
But Kelly and Bev Haddon, President of the Stapleton Foundation, both said they think having one-third rental housing would have created a more diverse community.
Wagenlander agrees and points out, “This is the city’s property…If we don’t provide rental housing, we’re denying housing to a lot of young families and minorities and different groups that are well represented in Denver but have not been able to move to Stapleton.” He adds that Jim Chrisman, senior vice president at Forest City, has said Forest City will fill in now with more rental. “Even if that happens, the image of Stapleton is now being set,” says Wagenlander. “I don’t know of anybody who thinks of Stapleton as being diverse. The failure to get the one third rental units developed skewed the demographics for the community and that just becomes self-reinforcing.”
Kelly adds, “Years ago when the SDC Board was searching for a master developer…what attracted some of us to Forest City was that they had a terrific track record of building affordable housing all over the country. The vision of the Green Book is that you should be able to live where you work and work where you live whether you are a table waiter or a CEO.”
Damon Knop, a Stapleton resident says, “If I moved (I won’t), that would be why. Even if it’s 95% great, I would move because my kid goes to a school with all white people instead of how it was when I went to East. There were tons of rich people and tons of poor people and you’re just going to school together. At Stapleton it’s total keeping up with the Joneses going on here. It’s not what I thought I was buying.”
Tammi Holloway concurs with Knop about the value of a diverse community. “When I went to East, I didn’t know if I was rich or poor. Now I know. But when I was at East I didn’t know. The socio-economic status of your parents didn’t trickle down to you as a child. We all just got along.”
Gleason says, “The projection for one third rental units was for full build-out of Stapleton, and we are several years away from reaching that point. It is important to remember that the very earliest phases of development at Stapleton did include 466 units of rental housing. And since that time, 645 more units have been completed, with another 152 coming in the next three months.”
Is it too late?
Jim Wagenlander thinks it’s not too late to change the perception and a lot can still be done. “Forest City has said it needs to reflect market conditions and economics whenever the issue (of rental and affordable percentages) has been raised, but that’s avoiding the requirements that are contained in the documents they signed. If those agreements are followed, I believe the kind of diversity that was a goal and a commitment of Denver and Forest City and the community originally can be satisfied.”
Damon Knop acknowledges Forest City is catching up on the rental housing, but adds, “It’s kind of too late to change what Stapleton is looked at as. Whether we can change it a little here and a little there to make it more diverse as we build out, maybe. They say they will build the 10 percent (affordable for sale), but it’s hard to imagine they will save all their losses til the end.”
Tom Gleason says Forest City intends to honor that commitment, which is why it sets aside lots for “Income Qualified Homes” as it moves forward with the development of market rate homes. “We have the lots and we have the commitment, all we need are interested and qualified buyers. We would welcome more help from the Stapleton Citizens Advisory Board in attracting those buyers.”
What can be done to reach the goals?
Stapleton’s Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) has, for years, been writing an annual report to the Stapleton Development Corporation (SDC) saying the measurements for diverse housing aren’t being met and SDC has passed on the reports to Forest City. SDC board member Justin Ross, who has repeatedly spoken out on the issue said at the March SDC meeting, “As a board, we haven’t been very thorough with addressing the report over the years. We’ve been very lackluster at best… I can’t remember in my history where there’s been some real formative response to CAB’s report…we still have this affordable housing looming over our head that’s not being addressed. The numbers aren’t getting better.”
At an SDC meeting in January 2012, after intense discussions about what SDC should do, a motion was made to stop land sales to Forest City. It was voted on and didn’t pass. SDC then formed a committee to work with Forest City and the City to look at changes in the affordable housing program, which all agreed wasn’t working well. Forest City, the City and SDC worked to gain City Council approval of several measures to increase the potential for the Stapleton affordable for-sale program to succeed.
The changes will help existing homeowners sell their homes, “But,” added Justin Ross, “those changes weren’t an incubator for Forest City to build additional affordable housing. Affordable housing is a requirement at 10%. It is not up for discussion. We’re still drastically lacking and this board needs to do something about it.”
Tom Gleason says, “In addition to setting aside lots to meet the affordable for-sale commitment, Forest City will continue to work with the City of Denver and SDC to address the shortcomings of the program. Until the affordable for-sale program becomes more appealing and responsive to the needs of qualified buyers, it will continue to struggle. Members of the Stapleton Citizens Advisory Board were appointed to that position because they were considered active, credible members of their community. They can play an important role in creating a more racially and economically diverse community at Stapleton by more actively promoting the affordable housing program.”
With Forest City’s recent submission of a General Development Plan (GDP) for the large remaining parcel of land north of 56th Ave. (referred to as Section 10), the Citizens Advisory Board unanimously approved a resolution requesting that Forest City “take into consideration” putting an appropriate and adequate amount of affordable and market rate rental housing there. On June 26, the SDC board voted in favor of the resolution and Tom Gleason agreed Forest City would take the resolution into consideration. SDC also asked Forest City to bring a plan for meeting the housing goals to SDC’s August meeting.
“After 23 years, I have to be an optimist,” says Jim Wagenlander. “I think the city may have to be the one to engage itself in this process. That’s a shame because the whole concept of Stapleton was that the SDC board and the CAB would be the players to try to hold the developer to the vision and the legal requirements of the Green Book.”
Kevin Marchman, board chairman of SDC says, “I have made a personal commitment…I know the three decision makers over there (at Forest City), and we have to work together on this.
“I am extremely fortunate to have the experience I’ve received (as Assistant Secretary of Public and Indian Housing [U. S. HUD] and former executive director of the Denver Housing Authority [DHA]). What good is all that experience if I don’t do something in my own backyard? This project has the opportunity, before the window is closing.
“SDC has to step up. We’re the ones who signed the contract. I just want to make sure that we don’t continue to have the reputation that I sometimes hear we have.”
Whoever says Stapleton is diverse is smoking crack. Who was Stapleton named after again? Hmmmm
Well the Stapleton expert has to once again come onto the scene after more than 12 yrs. and educate an entire social segment. Where to start? what is the avg. sale in Stapleton? 438k, what is the avg. education in Stapleton? over 80% college educated. what is the avg. income in Stapleton over 80K annually. What is the Latino population in Denver? 31% Where are the lawyers? earning 350 an hour. is where they are.
Lets use this as a simple baseline. Where is the Latino mi pueblo mkt. in Stapleton? I don’t need to here the residents want whole foods and forest city can’t sign an organic grocer. Mi pueblo mkt. on east Colfax isn’t big enough to serve the Latino community the cars are lined in the streets.
Where is the discounted land combined with free Latino skilled labor and donated materials? non existent. The Stapleton expert is not here to research ,educate, and publish a failed policy.
Financing you say? can’t qualify for a mortgage? The expert will now educate this idiotic statement. Up to 41K annually for income restricted mortgages. What person of color black 20% of us population, Latino 31% of Denver population earn above this amount annually? Its less than 20% That’s why they can’t qualify!.Do you need a chart? get a small business lawyer at 350.00 an hour he can design one.
The answer? a participating debenture. you don’t need the imt.org. Less than 3% down payment, when the property is sold a higher % is given to the debenture holder. In this case its the underwriter. The city of Denver who can originate and sell bonds. Constructed on designated property.in the Stapleton neighborhood.
Maybe around the jail. that way everyone will feel comfortable. People of color will be close to home? raciest you say? No problem visit the jail I did. Who is in there? blacks and Latinos. There are very few college educated people in jail. I am not here to educate you once again.
Have you tried to rent a subsided apt? THE ANSWER IS NO THERE IS WAITING LIST OF OVER 18 MONTHS. WHY WASN’T THE GROVE TARGETED FOR SENIORS at 30% of the area income?
Lets move on. Where is the black community leaders? absent. why? they are not welcome. Where is forest city? selling land and building a 50 million dollar overpass. is where they are.
Too late to change? Stapleton is 50% built out. There is plenty of time to turn this sinking battleship around?
Where is the minority real estate brokers? absent. You got gays here. Why? because they are two income earners that’s why. No kids, plenty of income because they do not have a leaching wives.
Who is in control? Forest city? no. Its the city of Denver who has a 10 yr. plan to end homelessness. They own the land. Not only that when the Stapleton expert stated more than12 yrs. ago why wasn’t there any second bidder on the Stapleton airport. No one produced an answer.
So stop building for the college educated, two income earners and their privileged kids and star catering to the bottom third of society.
I agree with Chris! Stapleton is diverse and falls in line with the latest statistics. Based on the US Census Bureau, Demographics are essentially 70% white, 21% Hispanic, 4% black and 5% all others. All are welcome to live here and work. Let’s not make this a racial issue! People have a choice!
North Aurora right next door is 27% latino. Stapleton feel very yuppy to me and I am white. I am glad to live in North Aurora where the minorities ARE the majority. It does not fall in line with the demographics of Denver or Aurora. Even Stanley Market, which is in North Aurpra is being marketed yo the ultra white Stapleton.
Sorry for the typos. Stanley is being marketed to the ultra uber white Stapleton that is NOT who we in Aurora want to be. No more gentrification! We do not want to be Parker.
The data for Stapleton being weighted by the inclusion of Denver County is interesting, and not at all surprising – now that it was pointed out. The sources I quickly pulled for my previous post didn’t emphasize the boundaries involved, and I wouldn’t have thought about Denver County being included without seeing an exact map. However, if you look at the rest of Denver, the article still has an overly simplified view of what people will do when deciding where to live. Is is very easy to find multiple articles showing data of how, over the last decade or so, with stagnating middle class income growth, people have been sorting themselves into “like” groups for political views and economic levels.
You might impact the median income level in Stapleton, by simply providing below market housing. Deciding that it will also change the racial diversity in a significant way is not paying attention to nation-wide trends, or even trends in Denver and Colorado. If you look at all of Park Hill, there is an economic and racial sort that has happened in going from south to north over an extended period of time. If you look at Highland, Cap Hill, and Five Points, and apply the “gentrification” label – a trend that happens all over the US (San Francisco, Brooklyn, etc), you can see the same thing.
People want to live by others with similar beliefs and viewpoints. This sorting happens everywhere. Rural versus city. “Gentrified” neighborhoods versus not. New development versus old. I understand the reasoning behind wanting one of the largest redevelopment projects in the US to have a range of housing. But offering below-market housing is a overly simplistic solution to a neighborhood that was offering a significant number of $1M+ homes before the housing crash.
The simple fact is that there are very local employment opportunities that are linked to very high income. This created a market demand in Stapleton for certain housing segments, and the builders applied capitalism. Thinking that simply providing below-market housing will reverse anything is ignoring several decades of what has happened in the US, Colorado and Denver.
The comments from “the business side” regarding the risk of below-market housing sitting empty is not 100% profit driven or made-up reasoning to make commenters go away. The surrounding area will naturally, due to its pricing and desire to accumulate investment value, assert rapid upward pressure in multiple ways. Which is the whole process associated with the word gentrification. The Stapleton redevelopment is new, so it hasn’t gone through the process seen is several Denver neighborhoods over decades.
My point is that the solution is completely inadequate to address the problem at hand. It only attempts to partially, and inadequately, solve the first order issue of initial house pricing and completely ignores multiple other real-world secondary and tertiary issues. And puts the onus of solving the problem completely on the developer. The few comments provided so far demonstrate that the community has built a certain image, irrespective of what the developer and builders built or are going to continue to build.
A few thoughts come to mind as I read this… Affordability and racial / ethnic diversity are intertwined but distinct problems as Camille noted. Tammi, Angela and others have observed that friends with the economic means to live in this expensive neighborhood have opted to live elsewhere because they didn’t feel comfortable in Stapleton. The suggestion to raise visibility I think is excellent. Forest City has one of the more impressive marketing machines I’ve ever seen. Committing to funding and resources to promote Stapleton to diverse communities in a focused measurable way seems like a natural step — i.e., a real marketing plan with budgets, actions, and people accountable. It seems like no entity really truly has ownership over racial / ethnic diversity goals, though.
In terms of affordable housing, this should be an easier area to drive accountability — not to say that it will be easy. But without accountability to specific measurable goals I think the bleak picture King paints is poised to become our reality. The milestones and measures community groups negotiated with Forest City on the Brooklyn Atlantic Yards project could be a helpful model to consider. Below are some links:
…I do apologize in advance for the multiple post if applicable.
I must point out that the numbers mentioned in the census for Stapleton are inclusive of the population at the then City and County Jail at Smith Road & Havana. Without this population Stapleton falls GROSSLY below the numbers that represent the rest of Denver Metro. Would absolutely love to converse, lunch, coffee or have a beer if someone is interested as I value all of the comments above.
…as a participant of the original article, I agree with a great majority of the posts here on both sides. I’d like to dig in more and would love to do so over coffee if anyone is interested but I’d really like to bring out a very striking point. Per the census results, and I might add, conducted by Stapleton’s very own Elizabeth Garner, the portion of minorities is very inclusive of the population at the County Jail previously located at Smith Road and Havana. If you were to remove that portion from Stapleton’s mix, we far well below the racial diversity that a portion of this article is trying to address. The numbers become quite startling when comparing to the rest of Denver Metro.
I read with interest the article in the July 2014 edition of the Front Porch which posed the question: “Why isn’t Stapleton more diverse?” What struck me most about the article is how it avoided the reality of the current economic situation in Stapleton and the rest of the country. Although there were allusions to changes in economic circumstances, apparently no one who was interviewed wanted to come out directly and address the issue. I could have sworn these people were all lawyers.
Simply put, the Green Book world does not exist anymore. It is an anachronism as is the “Housing and Diversity Committee” (Who came up with that name? Sounds like something out of an old USSR 5 year plan ala Dr. Zhivago.) The Green Book was written at a time when the market was influenced by those in government who were of the opinion that everyone deserved a home – with no application of any standards of affordability. This view was driven by the Al Sharptons of the world who stopped legislation which would have prevented the disaster that caused the housing market to implode and more importantly for the leftists, would have stopped all of those obscene profits made by the capitalists). This utopian view of the world faded rapidly when it ran into the reality of the market and the bursting of the housing bubble. You can lay the blame where you want, but the bottom line is that there were too many people who were inhabiting homes they could not afford. The government has since attempted to adjust, but old ideas such as government driven diversity are slow to die – especially when there are votes to be purchased.
In today’s world, the H&D Committee needs to take into account the tightening of the formerly loose lending standards which led to the bursting of the housing bubble and the current state of the market. When you do that, it is apparent that not everyone is going to be able to afford a home or even a new rental; the market is still government controlled but with a somewhat different emphasis. The liberals are facing a conundrum as a result because the two policies cannot coexist. In addition, when you couple the changes in lending standards with the performance of the economy over the past five plus years and the adverse effects of the socialistic policies pushed by our esteemed leader in the White House, the picture looks even more bleak for any real change in the near future (I think that was his word). The jobs are not being created which enable people to be able to afford the cost of homes or apartments today.
My suggestions for the current dilemma faced by the H&D Committee and residents who just do not know what to do about the current situation:
1. The H&D Committee needs to get out of growth management. I think the word is disband. If you do not want to disband, then I request you join the current world.
2. For those who do not feel Stapleton is diverse enough but still want to stay behind the nonexistent gates, I suggest you spend some of your own money — buy some homes and rental units and resell or lease them at below market figures – or better yet, give them away. The builders of this community, who are not facing the same market that existed when the Green Book was written, should not have to bear the brunt of your personal, leftist ideas of how the world should be which is essentially a world based on building something with money that does not belong to you.
3. For those of you who are upset, dismayed or whatever because the area is not more “diverse” and who may not want their kids to go to school with just white kids (this term was used by an interviewee in the original article; can you imagine substituting any other color and not getting harangued or at a minimum drawn and quartered?), I have a relatively straightforward solution for you as well – you can always sell out and return to where you were more comfortable. You could even sell to a member of the diverse population with which you are concerned (don’t forget this will cost YOU), but at least the effect on diversity would be a positive two fold result – fewer white people and more people of color. Seems to be a “win-win” for the diversity team.
I have lived in many different places during the course of my life – both within and without the United States. I have found that an area will be as embracing as you want it to be. Do not rely on the government for your utopia; you will only end up being disappointed. The great thing about America is that if you don’t like a place, no one is forcing you to stay. As noted in the original article, there are lots of other places in Denver or the rest of the country for that matter, where you can embrace just about anyone or anything that one wants. Let us keep the government out of Stapleton as much as possible. Let us keep Stapleton moving, growing and thriving. I thought about using the word “beautiful” but decided to engage in self censorship lest someone take offense. Remember, we are all part of the market – just make sure when you suggest something that you espouse the spending of your own money rather than someone else’s.
The story centers around diversity being a measure of housing – mainly the amount of rental versus for-sale and the amount that is classified as affordable. As was put into the Green Book as the goals for Forest City to achieve (as they wound up being the developer that was selected).
As mentioned elsewhere, that’s a pretty simplified view of diversity. Things were mentioned like East HS and Park Hill. East HS has a diverse mixture due to schools boundary encompassing all of Park Hill and a swath through City Park, Congress park, Cap Hill and up into Five Points. As some, or parts of those neighborhoods run a gamut of socio-economics and racial mix, it’s not surprising that East reflects that.
If we actually try to look at how realistic the Green Book goals are, regardless of how well intentioned that might be, we can look at the various demos around Denver using the East HS boundary as a rough guide (taken from sites reflecting data from the 2000 US Census and rounding to nearest 1%).
Denver: 88% White, 5% African-American, 4% Asian. 32% Hispanic/Latino. Median Income: $55271
Stapleton: 70% White, 10% African-American, 4% Asian. 13% Hispanic/Latino. Median Income: $112491
South Park Hill: 77% White, 8% African-American, 2% Asian. 9% Hispanic/Latino. Median Income: $100650
North Park Hill: 44% White, 37% African-American, 1% Asian. 14% Hispanic/Latino. Median Income: $67005
NE Park Hill: 14% White, 51% African-American, 1% Asian. 30% Hispanic/Latino. Median Income: $33645
Congress Park: 82% White, 4% African-American, 2% Asian. 8% Hispanic/Latino. Median Income: $79252
Cheesman Park: 82% White, 4% African-American, 2% Asian. 9% Hispanic/Latino. Median Income: $61882
Cap Hill: 79% White, 4% African-American, 2% Asian. 11% Hispanic/Latino. Median Income: $38282
Five Points: 57% White, 15% African-American, 2% Asian. 23% Hispanic/Latino. Median Income: $50674
A couple other stray mentions:
Highland: 57% White, 2% African-American, 1% Asian. 37% Hispanic/Latino. Median Income: $50821
Washington Park: 92% White, 0% African-American, 2% Asian. 4% Hispanic/Latino. Median Income: $93535
Lots of numbers, which says???
Denver, as a whole, is largely White. American sort themselves socio-economically, more-so over the last decade. As long as Stapleton is “market driven”, it’s going to conform to US, Colorado, and Denver-wide trends over the neighborhoods lifetime. The median income in Stapleton is very high – compared to the city and other neighborhoods. That has certain ramifications that cannot be dictated by what was written in the Green Book.
Being sensitive to diversity, seems to be more of a mindset and perception, rather than a fact. In my opinion this article does more to create divisiveness than promote diversity.
Based on the US Census Bureau, emographics are essentially 70% white, 21% Hispanic, 4% black and 5% all others.
Why should Stapleton being any different than the rest of Colorado – or Denver for that matter? Is Wash Park, Highlands or Park Hill any different? Not so much.
The Front Porch only creates some illusion that the City of Denver and the planners of Stapleton have somehow failed. I disagree.
I read this article yesterday with great interest as part of a mixed family renting in Stapleton. Very sadly today as my husband came to join us at the pool after picking up food, he was asked if he was the delivery guy which I assume had something to do with his dark skin despite the fact he was wearing a swim suit. Makes me really wonder if purchasing a home in this community is the best thing for my family. What perceptions will people have of my children who are mixed? Glad at least to see that people are discussing it.
My thoughts are all over the place on this article. My biggest issue is how on one hand it seems to acknowledge that there are multiple types of diversity that are lacking in Stapleton (racial, economic), but then continuously lumps those 2 together (if Stapleton had cheaper housing, it would have more racial diversity). The caption under the first picture is particularly insulting. We don’t know the economic status of the people in that photo! It could be diverse economically. Why the assumption that a group of white people can’t be poor, or lower middle class? The people pictured could represent 15 countries, religions, GBLT, etc. If you are referring to racial diversity, clarify that. To make it seem that the only diversity that counts is the kind you can see is dismissive of the many ways that Stapleton IS diverse.
As a part of an African-American family in Stapleton, I would love to see more racial diversity. Another thing this article was lacking was any comparison of Stapleton’s diversity to the rest of Denver. That seems like a huge oversight in an article claiming that Stapleton lacks diversity. I Googled out of curiosity, and a document by the Piton Foundation lists Stapleton as being 10% African-American, and 13% Latino. By comparison, my search indicated that Denver is 5% African American, and 18% “Hispanic.” That’s just a quick search, so if someone has more accurate stats I’d love to read them. But if these are true, Stapleton is doing pretty well attracting African-American families. Not as great with Latino families, but not horrible. I think it’s important to use actual figures, and compare Stapleton in the context of the greater city.
Stapleton is clearly a mostly white neighborhood. But there is diversity here. All of the African-American, Latino, and Asian families that I know in Stapleton paid market value for their homes, and we pay the same ridiculous taxes. Subsidized housing is not the (only) solution to racial diversity. Perhaps those of us who live here and love it need to be more visible to prospective home buyers. I also know some families of color who wouldn’t live here if the houses were free. Stapleton is not everyone’s cup of tea, regardless of race. That’s okay. I would actually NOT be interested in living in Stapleton if I were low income, regardless of race. I can’t concisely articulate why, but I see the affluence of Stapleton as a bigger barrier than race. Just using the public schools as an example, my child hasn’t even started K yet, and I’ve already been asked for $70 for supplies, $1000 for the giving campaign, to buy spirit wear, and have attended probably a dozen fundraisers. It must be hard for families that have to tell their children “no” to so many of the extras that just seem standard in Stapleton. Dance classes, karate, swim lessons, gymnastics, music lessons…
I’d love to see more pieces on diversity. As much as I love my ‘hood, I don’t love how the bat signal gets sent out seemingly every time a young person of color walks down an alley or drives slowly down the street. I’d love to see discussion about how we can balance protecting our property with not racially profiling. Once we figure that out, perhaps even more families of color will be interested in moving to Stapleton.
Stapleton is actually a very diverse community. We have tall white wealthy residents, short white wealthy residents, not to mention wealthy white residents with at least three different hair colors.
I agree that this is a complex issue. However, the reality is there is little moderately priced housing, particularly single family homes, in Stapleton. Add to that the fact that taxes are about twice what they are in the rest of the city, and middle income people are priced out. My son and daughter-in-law, both teachers (and people of color, btw) for example, don’t feel they can afford Stapleton. They feel their single-family home in northwest Denver is a better deal than a townhouse or rental here.
Being a resident of Parkhill. The first impression I get when i go into Stapleton is that of exclusivity, not inclusiveness. It starts with outreach. I was born and raised in Tulsa Oklahoma, a city that is still very segregated. What I do know is you have to start with the people that are running things so to speak, you have to have outside parties come in and look at the bigger picture. You see there is still this ideology that people that don’t have a high income are somehow, not as worthy. My perception of that comes from one my sons attending Mcauliffe middle school. There is a definite difference, some of the mothers that live in Stapleton don’t speak and say hello; I don’t know weither it’s fear or just flat out,” you don’t have so why should I bother.” It’s an attitude shift. To welcome people, that are supposedly different you have to get out of your comfort zone. I think sometimes Stapleton is in a perpetual “comfort zone”, and that has to change.