1) La Fillete Opens in Montclair
French bakery La Fillette has moved into the historic Montclair neighborhood. La Fillette previously operated a small space on 8th and Colorado, but in April the bakery moved into a much bigger space on 14th and Krameria and instituted several changes to the restaurant. Whereas the previous space was take-out only, now it offers customers a sit-down restaurant that fits 65 people in the bakery and on the outdoor patio. La Fillette also added new French items to the menu. While the bakery still serves its classic pastries—such as eclairs and macarons—it now also provides omelettes and French toast. Additionally, La Fillette obtained a liquor license for the new location and is now serving alcoholic beverages for its brunch customers.
2) Two NE Denver Arts Festivals
Northeast Denver is preparing to host two arts festivals during the spring. The Denver Arts Festival will be held in Central Park during Memorial Day weekend on May 27 and 28. The art booths will be located in the Conservatory Green Park at 49th and Valentia. The space south of 49th will provide a Kids Art Zone, while the area north of 49th will feature art exhibits, liquor venders, and a stage for live music. The festival is free for all visitors, and the event will be open from 10am-6pm on Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday.
The Park Hill Arts Festival will host its event the following weekend on June 3 and 4. The festival is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its annual event, and the booths will be positioned in front of the Park Hill Masonic Lodge at 4819 Montview Blvd. The festival will feature over 100 artists and numerous booths that exhibit diverse crafts, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, woodwork, glasswork, and jewelry items. The event will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm, and this is the first year in which the event will also livestream on the Park Hill Arts Festival Facebook page.
3) Northfield High School Developments
Northfield High School is undergoing some changes: it has begun training a new principal and it is preparing to leave the Northeast Denver Innovation Zone. The search for a new leader began earlier this year when current principal Amy Bringedahl announced her impending retirement, and in March the school selected Jessica Rodriguez Bracey as its next principal. Bracey has over 20 years of experience in P-12 education while working as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, and athletic director. Bracey has worked at Northfield High as a Principal Resident since 2020, and she will now spend the next year serving as a co-principal while Bringedahl helps Bracey prepare for the new role and facilitates a smooth transition for the school. Bracey will co-principal with Bringedahl through the 2023-2024 school year and will then take over as the principal of Northfield High.
The school is also undergoing another transition after voting to exit the Northeast Denver Innovation Zone (NDIZ). Prior to the vote, NDIZ consisted of four schools, including McAuliffe International, McAuliffe Manual, Swigert International, and Northfield High School. But in April teachers at Northfield expressed concerns that a new plan for NDIZ would cause disorganization for the school and curtail union rights for the staff. This led to 70 teachers at Northfield filing a petition with DPS and holding a vote to exit the zone. A majority of votes from the teachers is required for a school to exit an innovation zone, and 73 percent of Northfield teachers voted to leave NDIZ.
This has implications for NDIZ and Northfield. For NDIZ, this is the third school to exit the zone in the recent years, as Willow and Montclair voted to sever ties with NDIZ in 2021. With Northfield being the largest school in the zone, its departure could reduce the amount of funds that NDIZ receives and the types of plans that it can implement. Northfield will keep its innovation status and the autonomy afforded to innovation schools, but the school will now be responsible for developing its own plans regarding school calendars, budget priorities, and staff structures.
4) New High Plains Bike Park
Northfield’s new pumptrack opened in April and its features are now being enjoyed by bikers. Located in High Plains Park on 57th Ave and Elmira Ct, the 15,000 square-foot park is constructed with an asphalt surface and was designed by the Velosolutions pumptrack company. The long track wraps around in a loop, and the cyclists can ride along the track while cruising at a calm pace or flying at blazing speeds. Frequent curves enable bikers to showcase their technical skills, periodic jumps permit them to get massive air, and a deep bowl right beside the track is ideal for performing exciting tricks.
5) Modern Market at Anschutz Campus
A Modern Market restaurant recently opened across from the Anschutz Medical Campus. This location on Colfax and Peoria makes it convenient for staff or visitors on the Anschutz campus, residents living in the neighborhood, or drivers passing along the corridor. The checkout counter in the restaurant enables customers to quickly get various meals, including salads, bowls, sandwiches, and pizzas. All items are free from antibiotics, hormones, additives, trans fats, or artificial flavors.
The “Mini Market” is a unique aspect of the NW Aurora restaurant. This is the first location that has shelves beside the checkout counter offering food and lifestyle products that are exclusively made by local companies and Colorado brands. For instance, the Mini Market offers energy bars and health drinks made by the Colorado company Skratch Labs, and the market sells organic hair and soap products that are made by the Boulder company Alpine Provisions. Modern Market Brand Director Sarah Attid says that this new concept of selling products created by local companies has been so popular in the NW Aurora location that the company is now planning to also implement these Mini Markets into all future restaurant locations.
6) Central Park Playground Nears Completion
The Central Park Playground is nearly complete and preparing to open. The renovation project that began last year cost $2 million, and the new design will include new slide features, swing options, and climbing areas. Kids can also jump on trampolines, run through mister arches, spin on merry-go-rounds, or roll down sloping hills. Additionally, kids can cool off while playing in the winding river features, and families can relax while sitting in the many gathering areas.