1) Pearl Wine and Market Breaks Ground
Pearl Wine and Market has broken ground in Beeler Park. Dustin Chiappetta opened Pearl Wine in Platte Park with his brother and friends in 2015, and he is now excited to expand the business by opening the Pearl Wine and Market in his home community of Beeler Park. Chiappetta held a wine tasting event at the MCA (Master Community Association) Cube in November to celebrate the project and connect with the community.
The European-style market will offer aisles of grocery options along with a pasta bar, seafood counter, butcher stand, and pizza oven. The market will also have a wine store, coffee shop, and ice cream joint. Most food products will originate from local farmers and family-
owned businesses that provide ethically sourced ingredients.
Dustin says the best part of this endeavor is offering a gathering space for residents in the community. He designed it to be a spot where people can eat dinner or grab groceries while chatting with friends and mingling with neighbors. Pearl Wine and Market will be located on 56th Avenue and Central Park Boulevard, and it will open in the summer of 2024.
2) Mayor’s Homelessness Plan Update
Residents of Northeast Denver expressed frustration that Mayor Johnston’s House1000 initiative is asking the neighborhood to bear more than its share of the burden to shelter homeless people. In the meeting at MLK Recreation Center on Nov. 9, the mayor and other city officials announced that the former DoubleTree Hotel at 4040 Quebec Street will be transformed into a shelter with 289 units for up to 450 individuals. It will be managed by the Salvation Army.
The city had already announced that two other nearby hotels would be used for unhoused individuals. The former Best Western at 4595 Quebec Street contains 198 units and the former Stay Inn at 12033 E. 38th Avenue will offer 96 units. The House1000 plan aims to get 1,000 people off the streets by the end of December.
Northeast resident Rosie Belville told the mayor that she thought the process was being rushed. “We’re not here to say we don’t want to find a solution [to homelessness]. But we are here to say that we’ve invested money and time to make this community vibrant and we expect you to do the same for us. Not erode our property values. Not put our children at risk.” Mayor Johnston pointed out that DoubleTree was in a commercial area, a mile away from the nearest school. “Under the criteria we looked at—proximity to transit, proximity to services, not close access to school sites— this meets all those criteria.”
Adding to the tensions surrounding the homelessness issue, just 10 days after the town hall meeting, residents living near 26th Avenue and Beeler Street reported that several brush fires were set by an unhoused man who had been living in the open space. The Denver Fire Department extinguished the fires and the Denver Police Department confirmed that an adult male was arrested and charged with arson. No other information about the incident was available by press time.
3) McAuliffe’s Innovation Status
In response to rumors that the Denver Public School Board was preparing to rescind McAuliffe’s innovation status and terminate several faculty members, parents of students at McAuliffe International Middle School organized a morning “walk-in” rally. On Nov. 14, students, parents, and faculty met outside of McAuliffe before school, holding signs and delivering speeches to protest the school board and defend the school’s innovation status.
Being an innovation school equips McAuliffe with the autonomy to determine its school calendar, staff structure, academic curricula, and budget priorities. These freedoms have yielded successful results, with McAuliffe consistently ranking as one of the top-performing middle schools in Denver. The reaction from McAuliffe parents and teachers was also exacerbated by the many recent conflicts that the school has experienced with the board. In the last four months, the school board fired McAuliffe Principal Kurt Dennis, launched an investigation into a de-escalation room, suspended the interim principal Micah Klaver, and now might consider revoking its innovation status. The board said that it may address the innovation status of McAuliffe in the upcoming weeks, and Front Porch will provide continuing coverage as the situation develops.
4) Second Place for Northfield High School and East High School Boys Soccer
An attempt for the Northfield boys soccer team to win three championships in a row came up short in November with a 2-0 loss to Battle Mountain in the 4A championship game. The game provided a rematch of the championship in 2022. While Northfield won last year, this time the Battle Mountain Huskies from Edwards played a strong game that had them controlling the action and scoring two goals to win the rematch and secure the championship.
The three-year run for the Northfield Nighthawks included many impressive achievements. Since 2021, Northfield went 56-1-1, they won back-to-back championships, and they had a perfect 19-0 record in 2023 while pursuing a three-peat. Although Battle Mountain knocked them off the throne, the Nighthawks gave the Northfield community an inspiring run of exceptional soccer.
The Denver East High Angels also finished in second place after losing a tight contest in the 5A championship game. East High won the championship last year and were going for a repeat against the Broomfield Eagles. This was a riveting game that featured Broomfield scoring first on a bicycle kick, East High tying it three minutes later on a free kick, and then two overtime periods in which neither team could break the deadlock and a penalty shootout was needed to settle the score. Broomfield won the shootout to earn the title, but the Angels played a great game in their second consecutive championship appearance.
5) Drybar Coming to Central Park
Drybar is opening its third Denver metro salon in December at the 29th Avenue Town Center in Central Park. The national chain has more than 140 locations across the country. While the salons don’t offer cut or color services, its famous blow-dry styles are popular for special occasions. In keeping with the “bar” theme, the hairstyles are named after cocktails, such as the Manhattan, the Cosmo, the Mai Tai, the Old Fashioned, and the Southern Comfort.