1) The LUME Closes
The LUME at Stanley Marketplace has closed. It opened to much fanfare in November, hosting an immersive exhibit featuring the art of Salvador Dali. The large Stanley hangar space was transformed into a multi-media, multi-sensory experience during its three-month run. Grande Experiences, an immersive art company based in Australia, had planned to make The LUME a permanent fixture at the Stanley featuring continuous immersive art displays. Stefanie Jones, who handled marketing for “Dalí Alive,” says “the Grande Experiences ownership team decided to move The LUME elsewhere for the time being.” She did not have additional information about the company’s reasons for the move or plans for the future. Grande Experiences did not respond to requests for an interview. In 2021, Grande Experiences staged a “Van Gogh Alive” immersive show that brought 80,000 visitors to the Stanley. The Stanley hangar is once again available for private events.
2) United Flight Training Center Expansion Continues
Expansion of the United Airlines flight training facility on its 23-acre campus in Central Park is well underway. Most of the exterior structure of the new four-story building near Quebec Square has been finished. Two new full-motion flight simulators are scheduled to be installed in June and the building is expected to be completed at the beginning of 2024. Already the largest facility of its kind, the new building was needed to meet United’s target of hiring an additional 10,000 pilots by 2030. Every nine months pilots must train at the center to stay up-to-date on certifications, and at any given time there are approximately 600 pilots using the facility. Once completed, the facility will have 52 full-motion simulators and 28 fixed training machines. United plans to hire for 1,800 jobs in Denver this year, both at the airport and at the United Flight Training Center.
3) Denver Discovery School Closing
The Denver Public School Board voted unanimously to close Denver Discovery School at the end of this school year because of low enrollment. It currently has 93 students and was expected to enroll just 62 students next year. Board member Scott Esserman called it “an institutional failure.” The middle school has endured numerous problems since it opened in Central Park and has seen enormous turnover in principals and teachers over the past 9 years. Since 2017, the school failed to meet academic expectations. Families that currently have students enrolled at Discovery will be allowed to transfer to a new middle school of their choice. A spokeswoman for DPS said the district is in active discussions about how Denver Discovery’s vacated space will be utilized after the school closes in May.
4) WCMD Election in April
The Westerly Creek Metropolitan District (WCMD) will hold elections for three board positions this spring. Ballots will be mailed out to Central Park residents April 10-17 and must be returned by May 2. WCMD is the quasi-governmental entity that was created in 2000, along with the Park Creek Metropolitan District, to fund and construct the infrastructure of the Central Park neighborhood. WCMD has been the entity in charge of imposing the taxes, and now it is transitioning to help with operations and management. (For a full explanation of how the special districts operate, consult the January 2022 Front Porch edition online.) Six candidates are vying for the board and the top three vote-getters will be seated. Candidates were asked to submit short biographies. Front Porch has edited them for length. They are listed below in the order they will appear on the ballot.
Jack Seward has worked for Central Park’s Master Community Association (MCA) for eight years. He also serves as a board member for Central Park United Neighbors (CPUN).
John Karner has a background in municipal finance and economic development, having worked for Denver’s Department of Finance as it coordinated the creation of Central Park’s special districts.
Barbara Dornseif did not submit a bio by our print deadline.
Robert Marsh, a retired urban planner, is currently serving as a WCMD board member and is seeking re-election to lead WCMD’s transition to ownership of community assets.
Matthew Blackburn is a certified public accountant who formerly worked on compliance issues for Denver’s Wastewater Management Division and on expenditure forecasts at the Department of Public Works.
Brendan Loy is an attorney and father of three. He says he is running to ensure that Central Park’s infrastructure is well-run and its money is well-spent.
For more information about the election or the work of WCMD, visit www.westerlycreekmetro.org
5) Three’s Company
One of Denver’s most popular food trucks, Yuan Wonton, will soon occupy a brick-and-mortar storefront on Fairfax Street, just across from Park Hill’s Long Table Brewhouse. Owners Penelope Wong and Rob Jenks never thought they wanted a traditional restaurant of their own and this venture will be far from conventional. They are teaming up with Pho King Rapidos, a Vietnamese food truck, and Sweets & Sourdough, an artisan bakery. Each of the three businesses will have separate days when they operate and a sign outside will illuminate which business is serving that day. They also plan to host some collaborative dinners. Jenks says he hopes the new restaurant will open in May.
6) Changes to Denver Compost Program
Starting April 1, Denver residents will no longer be able to throw compostable plates, utensils, paper towels, or pizza boxes into their green compost bins. A1 Organics, the state’s largest recycler of organic material, announced that it will only accept food waste and yard waste. It will also accept only three-gallon certified compostable bags used to hold food scraps. The company said the change was made because too many people were throwing non-compostable items into the bins, which takes time and labor to remove. A1’s press release says, “simplifying what we accept supports our goal to keep food scraps and yard and plant trimmings out of the landfill to prevent harmful methane emissions while creating marketable compost.”