Readers respond to the July Front Porch article, “Why isn’t Stapleton more diverse?”
Due to market forces, not everyone will be able to afford a home
By Jim Edwards
See below: The Green Book (GB) world does not exist anymore. It is an anachronism as is the “Housing and Diversity Committee.” (The name sounds like something out of an old USSR 5 year plan ala Dr. Zhivago.) The GB was written when the market was influenced by those who were of the opinion that everyone deserved a home—with no application of any standards of affordability. Lending requirements and the market changed when the housing bubble burst. You can lay blame where you want for that event, but the bottom line is that there were too many people who inhabited homes they could not afford. Unfortunately, ideas such as government driven diversity are slow to die—especially when there are votes to be purchased.
When one accounts for the current government lending requirements and market forces (yes, that dirty word called “profits”), not everyone is going to be able to afford a home or even a new rental. When you add in the performance of the economy over the past five plus years and the adverse effects of the socialistic policies pushed by our leader in the White House, the picture looks even more bleak for any real change in the near future (his word). Service jobs do not permit people to purchase homes.
- H&D Committee: Become relevant or disband. A change of name would be a good start.
- Stapleton not diverse enough, but you want to stay behind the nonexistent gates: Spend some of your own money—buy some homes or rental units and resell/lease them—or better yet, give them away. The builders of this community, who are not facing the same market that existed when the GB was written, should not have to bear the brunt of your leftist ideas on how you think the world should be which is simply building something with money that does not belong to you.
- For those of you who are upset, dismayed or whatever because the area is not more “diverse” and as a result requires your children to go to school with just white kids (an interviewee’s term in the original article, not mine; Can you imagine substituting any other color without being publicly flogged?): Sell out and return to where you were more comfortable, but make sure you sell in a diversified manner. The effect would be positive and two fold—fewer white people and more people of color. A “win-win” for the diversity team.
- Keep the government out of the Stapleton market as much as possible. Keep Stapleton moving, growing and thriving. (See proposed solution 1.)
Remember, we are all part of the market—just make sure when you espouse change it entails the spending of your own money rather than someone else’s.
We must concentrate our efforts and build on what we have started
By Kevin Marchman, chairman, SDC board
First, some history on the decision to move Stapleton to DIA. If the region was going to grow, the confines of Stapleton were already obsolete. Many will remember that when Denver had inclement weather, heavy airline volume, inadequate airside facilities, well, good luck in having a pleasant trip home. Stapleton became the object of national scorn and, yes, jokes.
After the airport moved, the Stapleton Development Corporation (SDC) was created in 1995, to primarily negotiate and work with the eventual master developer, Forest City, for the sale and lease of developable properties at the former airport site, Stapleton.To date, the results of the collaboration of the SDC, Forest City and others have been admirable. That said, our work is not finished and lingering issues persist.
One of those issues is the diversity or lack thereof, of the existing population. The term diversity, particularly housing diversity, means different things to different folk. I wish to highlight what some of those things may mean.
Building a new community from an old airport site is a tremendous undertaking. A community is not just houses, but also businesses, infrastructure, schools, parks, shopping, roadways, event spaces and the like. A community is a place to raise your kids, enjoy your neighbors, feel safe, a place in which you can acknowledge your presence and others, all others. This is what diversity means.
Diversity also means having a range of ages, folk with different social economic backgrounds, multi-ethnic origins, gender preferences and yes, the prickly issue of racial composition. It is my observation that you cannot have much of this if the elements of a community lack home affordability.
During my SDC tenure, I’ve heard every story and concern possible; that Stapleton is a gated community, that some people don’t like shopping with other people, Forest City is only going to build what is profitable (read: no affordable housing), Stapleton parents don’t want their kids schooling with kids from other neighborhoods and worse. Enough of that.
What we will do, must do, is to concentrate our efforts in a meaningful, demonstrable, and positive direction and continue to build on what we have started. Some ideas: I have urged, and SDC board agrees, that we become even more engaged in every aspect of our growing community. Also SDC has begun working with SDC staff to more widely promote Stapleton to a broader population. This would include our aging parents and friends who are looking for more ranch-style homes (first -floor bedrooms). There are others. We need to listen and take advantage of every feature of Stapleton to further strengthen our community.
Our elected officials, Mayor Hancock, Denver Council President Herndon, DPS President Haynes, among others have worked tirelessly over a very long period to guide the old Stapleton site to the neighborhood it is and will become.
The SDC is committed to working with anyone or group interested in making Stapleton the best new community in the country.