1) Sprouts Construction to Start by June
David Friedman spoke briefly at the annual meeting of Stapleton United Neighbors in May to announce that his development, located between 35th and 36th on the west side of Central Park Blvd. “is about to break ground. It will include Sprouts and 12,000 feet of additional retail.” It is scheduled to be turned over to Sprouts the first of April 2020 and will likely open in May 2020. He added, “The residential component has fallen behind the commercial, but we’re hoping to have something to announce there fairly quickly.”
2) Upcoming Development in Stapleton
At the annual SUN community meeting Jim Chrisman, representing master developer Brookfield, identified upcoming development projects. At the northwest corner of Central Park Blvd. (CPB) and Montview, construction on 10,000 sf of retail is expected to begin in about two months. (Not stated by Chrisman, but reported earlier, it is expected to be a drive through coffee shop, a restaurant and another retail shop.) At the northwest corner of CPB and I-70, Evergreen Development has purchased 10.9 acres for retail development (Evergreen developed the Eastbridge Town Center and is now developing the retail center on the northeast corner of 56th Ave. and CPB.) At the northeast corner of 46th and CPB will be a physical therapy hospital, and north of that will be a Home2 Suites Hotel. Just south of the Central Park A-Line Station, plans for residential and shops that were previously announced by Forest City are under consideration by the new master developer, Brookfield. A decision on that will “probably” be made later this summer, said Chrisman.
3) New Aurora Beer Garden Being Planned
A new restaurant and entertainment venue, identified in documents as “Beer Garden at Stapleton”—but not yet officially named—is planned for 2323 Dayton St. in Aurora. According to the site plan filed in May with the City of Aurora, the family-friendly business will include a restaurant, bar, and outdoor entertainment area with volleyball courts, bocce ball, and outdoor patios. The Planning Commission hearing is tentatively scheduled for August 14, 2019.
4) Carjacking at Quebec King Soopers
The Denver Police Department confirms that the May 20 carjacking that took place at the King Soopers on 2810 N. Quebec St. was not a random act. According to Sgt. Daniel Dunn, District 5: “The victim was delivering pharmaceuticals to the King Soopers Pharmacy and was targeted for the pharmaceuticals.” DPD has made an arrest, but the investigation is ongoing.
5) Stolen Vehicle Leads to Eastbridge Fatality
Stapleton’s Eastbridge neighborhood was the site of a traffic fatality on May 8. According to District 5 Police, “an officer was behind a vehicle that was hesitating for a green light. The vehicle eventually went through the green light and pulled away from the officer. The officer ran the plate and discovered the vehicle to be stolen out of Lakewood.” When the officer attempted to pursue the stolen vehicle, the driver ran a red light and was killed when an oncoming vehicle hit the stolen vehicle. Sgt. Daniel Dunn says, “The stolen vehicle then crashed into a light pole and the driver was pronounced deceased at the scene. The officer never got close enough to initiate a traffic stop and was not in pursuit.”
6) A-Line Passenger Killed Crossing Tracks at Central Park Station
Listening on headphones, enjoying a conversation, hurrying because you’re late—these simple acts most people engage in daily can be deadly if engaged in near train tracks. On April 26, a pedestrian was struck and killed by an RTD Train at the Central Park station. “We know this person was distracted and walked into the path of the train. You would have to consciously open the gate to cross when the train is approaching,” says Laurie Huff with RTD Public Affairs.
An estimated 2-3 “near-misses” take place each week across the entire RTD commuter and light rail system, says Huff. “A higher number of near-misses take place at the Peoria and Central Park stations on the University of Colorado A Line.” RTD defines a “near-miss” as “an incident in which an individual comes within a second or two of being hit by a train.” Though train operators may see an individual on the tracks, it takes 1/4 to 1/2 mile for the train’s brakes to stop the train fully. “Even if a train operator sees someone, they can’t stop a vehicle of that size and speed quickly,” says Tina Jaquez, RTD Public Affairs and Media Relations Manager.
A system of bells, lights and gates alerts pedestrians to trains, but handheld devices, engaging conversations, and other distractions mean people are not always as alert as they need to be when near the train tracks. “People need to be mindful,” says Jaquez, pointing out that RTD’s safety equipment also relies on passengers engaging in safe behavior.
7) Bike Lane Coming to CPB: Montview to 36th
The design process is underway for a protected bike lane on Central Park Blvd., from Montview Blvd. to 36th Ave. A community meeting requesting input was held at Central Park Rec Center on May 29. For information about upcoming meetings and other new Denver bike lanes, visit www.denvergov.org/bikeprogram.
Elevate Denver Bond funds will pay for these improvements. Heather Burke, Denver Public Works Public Information Specialist, stated in an email, “The 8 high-comfort bikeways…will be installed in 2020 and will add about 9 miles of bikeways to the city’s bike network.”
8) Not the Indianapolis 500…Just Another Day on MLK and CPB
Numerous traffic accidents along Stapleton’s main thoroughfares—MLK and CPB—have left residents frustrated and concerned, as suggested by a flurry of posts on community Facebook groups. Can the City step in and help slow traffic to increase safety? District 5’s Traffic Officer Dion Dyson says the City’s traffic engineers routinely do random assessments based on their review of traffic data including speeding tickets, red light violations, accidents, and other information.
When asked what residents can do, Dyson says “all you can do collectively is call 311 and express your concerns, and ask for a new traffic engineering assessment.” Dyson ascribes some of the increase in accidents to the City’s exponential population growth. “People are selfishly driving in the bubble of their own realities,” says Dyson. He cites texting and even the use of hands-free devices as distracting drivers and causing them to be unaware of their actual speeds.
Heather Burke with Denver Public Works says “we’re prioritizing safety improvements along corridors that have been identified as high injury networks through Denver’s Vision Zero Action Plan. High injury networks are corridors that are experiencing high rates of serious injuries and fatal crashes, such as Federal Boulevard and Colfax Avenue. Both MLK and Central Park Boulevard have not been identified as high injury network corridors at this time; however, we will keep an eye on crashes that occur along these stretches as the Stapleton area continues to evolve.”
9) Improvements Coming to Fred Thomas Park and Sand Creek Regional Greenway in 2020
The City has allocated $2.5 million for a new irrigation system at Fred Thomas Park and $3 million to complete the Sand Creek Regional Greenway. According to Cyndi Karvaski with the City of Denver, the new irrigation system at Fred Thomas will shift all water use at the park with the exception of five acres to non-potable water in 2020.
Karvaski shared: “The RFP for design (along the Sand Creek) is being developed right now and should go out in June or July. The design will identify locations for improvements along the entire trail corridor in addition to designing a concrete trail where the trail is currently dirt and add the soft surface side path where the grades allow for it….The project has $3 million identified in 2020 for construction and the goal is to have the construction out for bid in the third or fourth quarter of 2020.”
“We are really excited. This has been more than a 30-year effort by three cities and many staff and volunteers. This is the last stretch of the Greenway that was intended to be completed,” says Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership Executive Director, Beth Nobles. “While the trail’s surface in Denver will be completed with this funding and cause for celebration, the thought that the trail is to be ‘done’ is not quite accurate. We still have plenty of work to do in habitat restoration, building trail amenities, volunteerism, environmental education and public outreach.”
The funds for these improvements are from the 0.25% sales tax voters approved in Nov. 2018, under Ballot Measure 2A. The tax will bring estimated revenues of $37.5 million this year for Denver open spaces and parks.
10) TIF and Special District Taxes in Stapleton
Because Stapleton is being built with funds from tax increment financing (TIF), Denver taxes for the city, for Denver Public Schools and for Urban Drainage, instead of going to those entities, are going toward Stapleton infrastructure for 25 years. When the TIF ends in 2025, residents will see no change in those taxes on their tax bill, but that tax money will again flow to those original entities. Mike Guertin from Denver Urban Renewal Authority, which manages the TIF, told attendees at the annual SUN meeting that recent projects with TIF funds included widening of the Central Park Blvd. bridge, the new fire station north of I-70, grading and drainage for a new school site in Section 10 (north of 56th Ave.) and along 56th Ave. near Dallas.
The additional tax Stapleton residents see on their tax bills for Westerly Creek Metro District (WCMD) will continue after the TIF ends to pay the debt on long term financing incurred for local development in Stapleton (pools, pocket parks, alleys, residential streets).
11) Women’s Self-Defense Seminar Coming to District 5 in August
Community Resource Officer LaTrisha Guss with District 5 Police informed the Front Porch in an email that DPD plans to offer another free self-defense seminar for women and girls in August. See https://frontporchne.com/article/womens-self-defense/ for our story on a previous seminar. Date and time TBD.
12) DSST: Stapleton Changes to DSST: Montview
DSST: Stapleton’s name change to DSST: Montview was announced Thursday, May 16 after an almost two-year academic and reflection process. Students thought about and discussed the meaning of school names, wrote essays and made presentations arguing for or against the change. After much debate and deliberation, a school wide vote showed the majority favored the change. “The decision to change the founding campus name emerged as many of our students have come to believe that the Stapleton name no longer represents the rich and diverse community our school serves,” wrote principal Dan Sullivan in a letter to parents announcing the decision. The students then considered new names within guidelines provided by the DSST administration. They settled on a location identifier using major street names. The middle school favored Montview and the high school favored Central Park, but since DSST: Conservatory Green High School is located on Central Park Blvd., Montview was selected.