Message from the President
Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
I hope this message finds you in good health. Urban Dweller, Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods' (CHUN) monthly e-newsletter, is available online. Here is the latest from Denver's largest, oldest registered neighborhood organization and advocate:
Membership challenge focuses on new milestones. Since 1969, CHUN has taken on the most pressing issues facing Denver neighborhoods. Denver is stronger when we elevate the voices of all, especially those who have been historically marginalized and underrepresented; essential to this pursuit is the growing support of members and community partners. Last month, CHUN launched its membership challenge. If we sign up/renew 25 more members, CHUN will reach a new member milestone. The first 25 members who renew or join by July 15th will be entered into a drawing for one $75 gift card to Ivy on 7th. Visit chundenver.org/membership to learn more.
Local economic recovery yields boost in local small business support. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on Denver's post-pandemic economic recovery. This month, we welcomed local eateries like Ritual Social House, Irish Snug, and others back to our membership program. In addition, new individuals and households from Congress Park, Alamo Placita, Uptown, and Governor's Park have joined our mission. We are excited to have them as thought partners, neighbors, and supporters. As you plan your next outing, be sure to support these and other local favorites.
Changes to CHUN's executive committee. This month, the CHUN board unanimously supported Debbie Young's appointment as Vice President of Communications. Debbie and her husband, Gary, have been residents of Congress Park for more than 15 years. A graduate of the University of Texas, with a communication major and a business minor, Debbie brings more than 25 years of communications experience to our organization. This appointment represents the next phase of CHUN's organizational growth and evolution. Later this year, we will make modifications to our governing documents to ensure communications has a more formal role on executive committee going forward. If you have content or other story ideas for our social media, Urban Dweller e-newsletter, or other channels, email these ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Golden Triangle Neighborhood text amendment expected to go before Denver City Council this month. Denver City Councilperson Chris Hinds, who currently represents District 10 and a majority of CHUN's geographic boundaries, has proposed a text amendment to revise the zoning that applies to the Downtown Golden Triangle zone district. The updated zoning increases bonuses for rehabilitation of a Landmark structure, offers density incentives to support important citywide priorities like housing affordability, and focuses more exclusively on neighborhood connectivity. For more information, check out the details of the plan HERE. To weigh in on the subject, contact the Councilperson at email@example.com.
Neighborhood working group holds first meeting to discuss future of 123 Speer Boulevard. CHUN is leading the way in collaborative processes and developing solutions to complex neighborhood planning. On June 30th, CHUN along with other partner organizations met with PMG and Sheers Adkins Rockmore to discuss next steps and opportunities for the current home of Denver's Channel 7/KMGH. This working group is the result of an MOU we developed with the PMG in May. We were encouraged by this initial conversation and the group already generated some great ideas--ranging from outdoor amenities to pedestrian access along 7th Ave. In April, you will recall that CHUN asked Denver City Council and Community Planning and Development to establish a design review standards committee in and around Governors Park. As with the Golden Triangle neighborhood and 123 Speer, the purpose of such a formalized group is to provide feedback on various development projects and ensure responsible community planning. With more than 8 large scale projects in the works, we are particularly focused on ways to deliver more affordable and attainable housing, incorporate old and new structures, preserve small, locally-owned businesses, and myriad other issues. In the interim, we have invited other developers like Avalon Bay, who is developing the former site of Racine's Restaurant at 600 Sherman Street, to collaborate and identify creative opportunities in the neighborhood. CHUN believes this approach can be a model for the future, where all parties--private enterprise, small businesses, architectural innovators, and the local community--come out as winners.
Community enthusiasm grows for a new vision at 1290 Williams Street. The past four weeks have marked a new chapter for Denver, the Capitol Hill community, and CHUN. After 4 years of planning and a TON of work, our joint venture partnership with City Street Investors is underway. We now co-own and operate the historic Tears-McFarlane Property; renowned Denver architects Semple Brown Design have been tapped to spearhead the new cafe' design. You can see some of the recent coverage at Westword Denver, Denver CBS 4, and The Denver Post. In addition, the CHUN board will soon announce its long-term operations strategy and other community investment initiatives. I am filled with gratitude for my board colleagues and our community allies who have helped usher in this next phase of our 52 year history.
When citizen's work together, Denver wins. As the city emerges from the pandemic and citizens reconnect this summer, let us dedicate ourselves to working together and being solutions oriented. Each is essential to effective city governance.
President & Executive Director
Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods
Member of the Month
CHUN News and Events
Historic Tears-McFarlane Mansion on Cheesman Park to be renovated and revived to serve the community.
By Paul Suter
Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods, City Street Investors and Semple Brown Design are proud to announce the start of the renovation of the Tears-McFarlane Mansion and the design and construction of a new, freestanding café adjacent to the historic mansion along Cheesman Park. The team worked closely with the surrounding neighborhood on the vision for the mansion and how to incorporate new design elements and creative uses that would serve the community as a whole, while
providing a place for relaxation and enjoyment overlooking the iconic Denver park.
“The Tears McFarlane Mansion will be transformed into a space that captures the spirit of Cheesman Park, the people who live in the surrounding neighborhoods and visitors who want to enjoy part of Denver’s history,” said Travis Leiker, President and Executive Director of Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods (CHUN). “CHUN is thrilled to work with Semple Brown Design and City Street Investors—two firms perfecting adaptive reuse of historic properties and customized placemaking in
many of Denver’s neighborhoods.”
“The plans for the Tears McFarlane Mansion are really the manifestation of the community’s vision for the property,” noted Joe Vostrejs, Founder and Principal of City Street Investors. “It continues our practice of placemaking, which starts with taking the time to fully engage all of the stakeholders to ensure we’re delivering a place that genuinely meets the needs and desires of the neighborhood.”
As the first step in the eventual full renovation of the historic mansion, Semple Brown has, with its partners, designed a new café in the style of a conservatory that will replace the aging “Annex” building (completed in the early 1980’s). The new building will house many of the amenities the community asked for in Cheesman Park, including a place to enjoy coffee and pastries, a healthy lunch or a glass of wine with a casual dinner, all while sitting in the garden terrace or the glassy conservatory overlooking the park. The renovation of the historic Tears McFarlane Mansion will feature important upgrades with the goal of providing updated interior spaces that allow others to gather or meet on the main and lower levels. Many of the elements for these spaces where locals can work, meet, or recreate and enjoy the outdoor setting are still in development, with specifics to be announced later this summer.
“The Georgian style Tears McFarlane Mansion evokes the history surrounding the development of Cheesman Park and the progression of development moving east from downtown at the turn of the century. It embodies the bold spirit of Denver when the city was still in its infancy,” said Sarah Semple Brown, Principal, Semple Brown Design. “It’s a privilege to work on an unprecedented project like this one that will not only preserve an important part of Denver’s history, but activate it to benefit the community and the public realm.”
Work on the mansion is anticipated to begin later this year. It is part of a non-profit/private partnership between CHUN and City Street Investors.
CHUN board members compete in City-Wide Scavenger Hunt
CHUN, Harms Reduction and Capitol Hill Neighbors Clean Up the Hood
Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods and its community partners at Harm Reduction Action Center teamed up in June to do good in the neighborhood. Together, they cleaned up the streets and alleyways of both Congress Park and Cheesman Park. Special recognition goes to Anne McWhirter, CHUN board member extraordinaire, and Lisa Raville, the indefatigable executive director of HRAC, for organizing the day. MANY thanks to all who volunteered and helped beautify our neighborhoods.
CHUN President Travis Leiker joins other civic leaders for Denver INC Safe Outdoor Space Forum
On June 12, Travis represented CHUN as a panelist on this forum where they explored questions such as: How do temporary Safe Outdoor Spaces affect neighborhoods as they provide shelter and services for their residents? How does this approach fit in with the range of other approaches to help with homelessness? How are these spaces funded, and what impact are they having?
During the forum, they heard from neighborhood organizations where the first Safe Outdoor Spaces operated by the Colorado Village Collaborative were located. City Council, Colorado Village Collaborative, and Denver zoning administration representatives, and neighbors nearby and within existing Safe Outdoor Spaces gave their perspectives.
Listen to recording.
Semple Brown on Preserving Tears McFarlane & Historic Architecture
Chris Wineman of Semple Brown Architects and Designers spoke to CHUN members on June 9 about the restoration and redevelopment of CHUN's home at the historic Tears McFarlane (TMF) Mansion. He shared the renderings that were recently approved by the Landmark Preservation Commission, as well as other details about how this mansion will be preserved while helping support the non-profit activities of CHUN. Members heard about how Denver can both preserve its past and move forward to create special places for people to gather at the edge of Cheesman Park, as well as throughout Capitol Hill.
Semple Brown issued a press release on the renovation and the new café in June.
The TMF renovation and new café were also highlighted in the June 23 issue of Westword, on Channel 4 on June 28, in the Mile High CRE on June 28 and in the June 30 issue of the Denver Post.
CHUN Committee Reports
Community Engagement Committee
The CHUN Community Engagement Committee is focused on creating and implementing programs and activities that foster connection, stewardship, and fun for all.
Community Interviews and CHUN-Talkwa: A reminder that all CHUN board members are encouraged to identify someone who has an interest in their neighborhood. This could be a friend of yours, or someone that you would like to get to know more. Email board member Jamie LaRue at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 720-530-4294 to get involved.
CHUN at the ASLD Summer Art Market: Due to limited booth space, CHUN won’t be able to host a coffee cart at this years’ Art Student League of Denver’s annual Summer Art Market, August 28 & 29. However, we will be able to promote CHUN’s activities to visitors. We’ll be working with CHUN’s Membership Committee to develop creative ways to promote CHUN. As an incentive, those who join CHUN will be entered into a drawing for art created by a local artist.
Little Free Pantry: The Little Free Pantry was removed from its location at the Tears-McFarlane House due to the continued issue of someone with mental health issues throwing food onto the ground. We are working out details for a new location and will announce the results when finalized.
CHUN Variety Shows: Joshua Emerson is taking the lead on this activity, which will increase awareness of CHUN, raise funds and awareness of non-profits working in Capitol Hill, and showcase the talent of members living in Capitol Hill, through a variety show. If you have an interest in organizing this event, please contact Joshua.
Small Biz Bingo: To support Cap Hill businesses, we will hold a Small Biz Bingo over two months this fall. Participants will visit participating small businesses in Cap Hill and get their bingo card stamped. Participants who get a bingo can turn their cards in for a gift certificate to a participating small business. Everyone wins! More details coming soon.
We encourage your participation! Contact Vickie Berkley at email@example.com for details on volunteer opportunities.
History Matters Committee
It is the historic places and the stories that go with them that define our city. Our CHUN committee is dedicated to making sure Denver does not lose its history with all the growth and change around us.
At our outreach meeting on June 9, we were pleased to share how responsible development can be incorporated in the historic, architectural fabric of our neighborhoods. This CHUN committee is interested in preserving Denver's rich history through preservation, innovative neighborhood design and adaptive reuse of Denver's historic buildings. We highlighted projects spearheaded by developers who share these values, too.
** Thank you to CHUN staff photographer, Peggy Randall, for taking and finding these pictures.
Denver and Colorado News and Events
Showers for ALL: Homeless Showers & Laundry
Positive Actions Towards Housing (PATH) 2021 online event
Denver Provides a New Place to "Go"
Free Trees for Denver Residents
So Many Jobs, So Few People
Welcome Back Denver Days 2021
Denver Seeking Community Feedback for its Transportation Plan
Denver is kicking off a strategic transportation plan, called Denver Moves Everyone 2050 (DME) and is seeking community feedback through an online engagement tool: denvermoveseveryone.com.
DME will build upon the extensive work completed for the Denveright Comprehensive Plan 2040, developing a transportation plan that aligns future investments with community-developed mobility goals.
There are four major phases of the two-year DME project. Each phase will build on the next to ultimately identify near-, mid- and long-term projects. The project will be guided by community feedback coupled with knowledge and insight from industry leaders in transportation, energy, education, health and wellness and many more—a comprehensive approach to include all voices in the development of the plan.
Fun and Delicious 5K Fundraiser in October
On Sunday October 3, there will be a fast and scenic 5K in Denver's historic City Park with a sweet ending featuring all things FUDGE! There will be five kinds of fudge, hot fudge sundaes, other fudge goodies. You will also find a Drag Queen warmup and kid's face painting by Olivia Svaldi.
Join fellow runners and walkers to raise money for health in rural Nepal. Produced by Colorado Nepal Alliance and Shoes for Sherpas to benefit their women's health camp in Nepal.
5K starts at 9 am, Kid's Fun Run starts at 8:30 am! Register Now at www.OhFudge5K.com.
Two Downtown Denver Streets to Close for Set Up of Play Ball Park
Construction & Advanced Manufacturing Job Fair including IT (Information Technology)
SHHRP (Society of Hispanic Human Resource Professionals) in partnership with Denver Staffing Services is hosting a Construction & Advanced Manufacturing Job Fair including IT (Information Technology) . The goal is to bring together construction, advanced manufacturing, and IT industries to promote employment and apprentice opportunities. The job fair is free to job seekers who wish to explore these industries and identify new employment opportunities. SHHRP, Denver Staffing Services and its sponsors believe in and live DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion).
The Urban Dweller is published on the first, working Monday of each month. To submit your content via email, please click on the button below. Content is due by the 25th DAY of each month.