Stapleton Joins the Denver Sustainable Neighborhood Network
The Department of Public Health and Environment at the City and County of Denver welcomed the Stapleton Community into the Sustainable Neighborhood Network on Dec. 20, 2017. Members of the Stapleton United Neighbors (SUN) Sustainability Committee drafted and submitted the application earlier in the month with support from Councilman Christopher J. Herndon, Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership, Stapleton Mortgage & Realty, the SUN board, and over 350 neighbors.
Community feedback and support was an important part of the application process. To date, 75 residents have requested to be involved in the implementation of planned sustainable activities. Of all community members who provided input, projects of most interest were (as shown in the figure at right): a tree planting event, an electronics recycling event, and a trash pickup event, all of which have been identified as priority year one projects. The stated goal of program participation was to connect people and build community in and out of Stapleton while promoting sustainability. In turn, proposed projects were aligned with the five broad goal categories (Air, Land, Energy, Water, People) and associated target areas established by the Sustainable Neighborhoods Program, with priority given to projects that would benefit not only Stapleton but neighboring communities as well.
Year-one priority projects included in the application were:
Air: A tree planting day in community parks.
Aligned to the “Trees and Vegetation” target area, this project will improve our parks, reduce solar gain and improve air quality. Neighboring communities will be invited to participate through respective Registered Neighborhood Organizations (RNOs) and the city’s Parks and Rec Dept.
Land: An electronics recycling drive.
Aligned to the “Chemical Pollution” target area, this project will decrease the chemical pollution in our city’s ground and water. Envisioned as an annual event, neighboring communities will be invited to participate through their respective RNOs. SUN will promote the city’s e-cycle program as part of this effort and work with recycling centers directly to make the event as cost-effective as possible.
Energy: A renewable energy & energy conservation fair.
Aligned to the “Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation” target area, this project will need the most effort. The goal will be to serve as host to an expo for residents, of Stapleton and neighboring communities, interested in learning about their energy options from vendors, city services, nonprofits and experts.
Water: A Trash-Pickup Day at Westerly Creek.
Aligned to the “Storm Water Management” target area and done collaboratively with the Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership, this project will span the portion of Westerly Creek from Aurora to Sand Creek. It would have downstream benefit for the South Platte, which collects storm water from Westerly Creek. As a traveling event, neighboring communities would be invited to areas identified for cleanup.
People: A Sustainability-themed movie & dinner night.
Aligned to the “Community Outreach” target area, this project will increase the community’s awareness, engagement and social vitality of the neighborhood. Envisioned as an event that can happen a couple of times a year, the sustainability-themed entertainment would double as a fundraising event. Proceeds would go to Denver-based sustainability programs.
In the early stages of the program, the SUN Sustainability Committee will organize, promote and execute our projects. A parallel effort to the projects themselves will be establishing “Green Teams.” The goal of the Green Teams will be to identify committed residents with common interests who can organize and execute events themselves, with the SUN Sustainability Committee serving in a supporting and administrative role.
The details of a communitywide kickoff meeting will be announced in the second half of January. If you would like to participate in the implementation of this plan, please email SUN Sustainability Chair Geoff Horsfall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUN Monthly Meetings
SUN hosts meetings on the third Tuesday of each month, 6:30–8:45, in the Central Park Rec Center Multipurpose room. SUN’s next in-person meetings will be Jan. 16 from 6:30–7:30pm for Outreach, and 7:30–8:45pm for the Board of Directors meeting.
Discussion of the organization name Stapleton United Neighbors
The SUN board has reviewed themes in community feedback and opinions about the community name from multiple sources of communication. The board has discussed that although the call for SUN to change its name is not coming from the majority of the community, it is still within SUN’s charge to propose an action to the community based on the strength and nature of this voice. Over the coming weeks, the SUN board will begin preparing a proposed change in the SUN bylaws, which is the mechanism by which SUN would remove Stapleton from its name.
During the Outreach meeting in January (6:30pm), the SUN board will summarize feedback received from the community via multiple sources in 2017: in-person (Dec. 11), email (ongoing), and online (two instances: spring and fall). After communicating the range and depth of feedback received, evolving plans for a community vote on a proposed bylaw change later this spring will be described. The language that would be proposed for a community vote and the accompanying consideration of regional impacts of any such change will continue evolving in early 2018. Any proposed change to SUN’s bylaws must be posted 30 days in advance of a vote, and must pass with 67 percent of a vote of community members over the age 18.