1) MLK Extension to Peoria
The MLK extension project remains on schedule for a November 2019 completion, according to Tasha Jones of Brookfield (the developer of Stapleton). The MLK and Moline bike routes are 10-ft wide, concrete, off-street, multi-use paths located on both sides of the road. The north side route is a shared route with the 12-ft wide Sand Creek Regional Trail along the Bluff Lake Frontage from Iola Street to roughly Moline Street – where users have an option to continue using the Sand Creek Regional Trail along Sand Creek or continue adjacent to the MLK roadway on a 10-ft multi-use path to Peoria Street. Click for MLK Extension graphic
2) Park Hill Golf Course Sale Announced
A June 21 announcement that the 155-acre Park Hill Golf Course will be sold to a developer has raised a thorny issue with strong feelings on both sides. Should the land remain exclusively as open space, as former mayor Wellington Webb is publicly calling for, or should some portion of it be used for housing and local amenities?
Clayton Early Learning, which manages the land to produce income to serve low-income children, announced on June 21 that it had reached an agreement with Westside Investment Partners and the deal is expected to close July 11. The city paid $2 million in the 90s for a conservation easement to restrict development on the land. Letters from Clayton and Westside posted in Denverite indicate Clayton filed to terminate the conservation easement agreement.
In email correspondence Clayton told the Front Porch: The conservation easement remains in place and will convey with the sale of the property. The golf course manager, Arcis, had a right of first refusal to purchase the property, but Westside negotiated a deal to acquire that right from Arcis. And no terms of the sale were available.
3) Bike Repair Kits at Denver Libraries
Check out a bike repair kit for two hours with a library card, which you can get instantly if you don’t have one. Each kit contains basic tools to repair tires or adjust your ride: • One dual-valve pump with pressure gauge for inflating tires • One set of Allen and 15mm wrenches for minor adjustments • One adjustable wrench for minor adjustments • One set of tire levers to remove/replace a tire • Tube patches, sandpaper and glue for patching a hole in a tube • Illustrated instructions (English/Spanish) for fixing a flat tire.
4) Free Summer Meals for Kids
The Summer Meal Program provides free breakfast and lunch at more than 50 schools, 5 days a week, for all children under the age of 18 regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Adults can purchase breakfast for $2 and lunch for $3.50. Find locations, dates and serving times at: http://foodservices.dpsk12.org/summer-meal.php, or text “FOOD” to 877-877 to get locations. Visit kidsfoodfinder.org to find non-DPS school sites that are serving summer meals.
5) High Tech Ele. Gets New Name: Willow Ele.
High Tech Elementary School has decided on a new name beginning with the 2019-20 school year: Willow Elementary School. This summer, the school will be undertaking a complete rebranding, with new name, logo, website, signage and more. The name change was necessitated when a California-based network of charter schools called “High Tech High” cited trademark infringement. ‘A renaming ceremony is planned for 5-5:30 p.m. on Aug. 16 at the school, and will include a willow tree planting ceremony on the grounds.
6) Denver Discovery School Update
The DPS Board of Education approved Denver Discovery School’s (DDS) innovation plan in June. The reimagined DDS will center on “building positive school culture for students and staff, as well as building academic systems that support rigorous instruction. Educators will also work to institute a Project Based Learning model that allows students to experience interdisciplinary connections and real-life relevance of content areas,” according to Will Jones, DPS. Student enrollment in mid-June was 173, including 35 incoming 6th graders. Jones declined to share information on teacher retention, which has been a concern at DDS in the past.
7) Housing Planned for Old Strip Club on Colfax
Two empty lots and a former strip club will increase low-income housing availability along E. Colfax Ave. Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) confirmed that Mercy Housing Mountain Plains will lease the land at 8315 E. Colfax (the defunct PT’s strip club) and an adjacent lot at 1500 Valentia to develop a property with 83 income-restricted apartments. Mercy intends to lease the ground floor to an affordable early education provider.
An empty lot at 7900 E. Colfax Ave. near Trenton, will become home to those suffering from brain injuries, with priority to those experiencing homelessness. Brothers Redevelopment, Inc. (BRI) will build a 72-unit building for the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado (BIAC), which plans to provide not only housing but on-site services.
Both developments are slated to open in 2022. Developers and DEDO will share project details at the East Colfax Registered Neighborhood Organization meeting, July 16, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. at Counterpath, 7935 E. 14th Ave.
8) Retail Construction: Sprouts & Beeler Park
Construction is underway at two new retail centers in Stapleton. A Sprouts grocery store with an additional 12,000 square feet of retail is being built between 35th and 36th avenues on the west side of Central Park Blvd.
The Shops at Beeler Park is under construction at 56th and Central Park Blvd. The project by Evergreen Development (which developed the Eastbridge Town Center) will include a gas station, a car wash, dental offices, Paw N Play (a pet boutique) and Box State Barbers. Other leases haven’t been finalized.
9) New Stop Sign at Dayton and 25th
In May, the City of Aurora switched the location of two STOP signs at 25th and Dayton, leading to some unhappy business owners and drivers who had hoped for a 4-way stop at the intersection. Julie Patterson of the City of Aurora said by email, “the city requires certain traffic volume criteria be met per the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for an all-way stop to be warranted. Data collected in the study indicated that the traffic conditions at that intersection do not warrant an all-way stop at this time.”
10) Vigil about Inhumane Detention Practices
Despite rainy weather, about 200 community members attended a vigil at the GEO detention center in Aurora on June 21 as part of a national day of action. Participants sought “to make clear our unwavering commitment to defend human decency.” They brought shoes as symbols of those who have died in detention or in the desert trying to reach the U.S. Activist Gloria Leyba said, “Abuses against migrants cannot be normalized. Our voices honor the dead and join in fury against inhumane practices.” The GEO facility located 1.5 miles from Stapleton was among several cited for safety violations in the June 2019 Inspector General’s report. Violations included: expired food; segregation practices that violated standards and infringed on detainee rights; failing to provide outdoor recreation space; prohibiting contact visits. For the full report, click here. For background see https://frontporchne.com/article/immigrant-detention-center-next-door-accountable/
11) Parents Group Forms to Discuss School Safety
On June 6, a group of parents concerned about school safety met in the Sam Gary Library for the first time. The group calls itself Parents for School Safety and is apolitical. They discussed multiple avenues to combat the problem of school shootings. More specifically, they focused on immediate school safety measures like metal detectors and security guards. They also discussed the challenges facing behavioral and mental illness distinction and treatment in schools. Additionally, they spent some time discussing the possibility of working with the Moms Demand Action School Safety sub-group. In the end, they decided to focus on small-scale and immediate solutions. The group will meet again in August. Their current goal is to learn about what legislative progress is being made in school safety and school security by hearing from speakers. Interested people should contact Rachel Baumel at email@example.com.
12) Low Income Housing Opens at 17th and Peoria
The Paris Family Apartments, a 39-unit development for income-eligible families at 1702 Paris St. in Aurora, hosts an opening ceremony on July 12 at 10am. The new facility includes two- and three-bedroom units, and those with income levels up to 50% of the area median income, including those with housing vouchers, are eligible to apply for a unit. Residents will have access to a host of on-site wraparound services including after-school tutoring, mentoring, job training, and employment assistance. Brothers Redevelopment Inc., (BRI), which specializes in affordable housing, built the $13 million development.
…City & State News Updates
KG Vaccinations Fall Dangerously Low in Colorado
In June, Gov. Jared Polis signed Executive Order B2019 006, which seeks to increase Colorado’s kindergarten (KG) immunization coverage rates by instructing the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to “work with communities with low immunization rates to determine root causes, identify local strategies, and provide educational information about vaccines.” The Executive Order came on the heels of a failed effort in the state legislature during the last session, to make it more difficult for parents to opt-out of vaccinating their children. In June, CDPHE released data from the 2018-19 school year showing a decline in KG vaccination rates for 4 vaccines in Colorado, including MMR, Hepatitis B, Polio, and Chickenpox. Statewide, KG vaccination rates for these diseases and DTaP are well below the 95 percent threshold needed to prevent an outbreak. For more information, see frontporchne.com/article/vaccinations-choice-others-children/