Message From the President
Greetings Friends and Supporters,
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 your community advocate.
Virtual Roundtables Continue. Earlier this month, CHUN hosted a virtual Lunch & Learn to address the impact online scammers have at the community level and when they take advantage of vulnerable populations. We heard from a series of speakers and thought leaders including those from the Denver Clerk and Recorder, the District Attorney's Office, AARP, and Edward Jones. Each of them provided a number of resources available to neighbors should they be a victim of an online scam.
Historic District Moves Forward. A group of neighbors is pursuing a new historic district adjacent to (and just East of) the existing 7th Avenue Historic District. If approved, it will include the East AND West sides of Steele Street between 6th Avenue and 8th Avenue. The merits of this proposal are compelling and CHUN issued a letter of support for this application. We have also called on the City to reevaluate the potential name of the NEW district. CHUN believes this district should reflect Denver's rich history and be named for someone whose legacy continues in the neighborhood...Judge Raymond Jones. As Colorado's first African American appellate court judge, Jones called 780 Steele Street home for decades. His arrival in the neighborhood represented an important shift, but it didn't go without the bigoted disapproval of many neighbors. Judge Jones advanced diversity, equity, and inclusivity and honoring his legacy is the right thing to do. If you support this measure, please send your feedback to Jennifer Buddenborg, Senior City Planner.
Giving back in the neighborhood. Thanks to the leadership of Vickie Berkley, Vice President of Community Engagement, CHUN installed a Little Free Pantry at 1290 Williams Street. The concept of the Little Free pantry is simple: Give what you can; take what you need. If you would like to donate nonperishable food or underwrite our support of this service, you can make a donation HERE or coordinate a food drop off by calling our office at 303-830-1651. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Good Neighbor Agreement Signed with the Patterson Inn, LLC. CHUN is pleased to announce its support for the Patterson Inn's rezoning from G-MU-5, UO 3 to G-MX-3. The proposed rezoning compliments small business growth, encourages community support; adopts a creative use for historic landmarks; and promotes neighborhood walkability and livability. As with any rezoning, we acknowledge some may have concerns about this application. To address these concerns, we executed a Good Neighbor Agreement (GNA) with the property's owner which requests ongoing communications with CHUN for the purposes of future license/permit applications, establishes parking requirements, and encourages environmental sustainability practices. You can see the GNA HERE.
2101-2105 Humboldt Street Rezoning. CHUN also announced its support for the rezoning of 2101- 2105 N. Humboldt St. from Planned Unit Development (PUD) to U-MS-2/2x. Jerry's Nut House will continue to operate on the site, with the addition of a neighborhood friendly hardware store. In addition to continuing the support for small, locally owned businesses, the property owners will work to improve the overall streetscape through climate appropriate landscaping and much needed beautification. Projects like these also advance CHUN’s pedestrian friendly, neighborhood goals.
Temporary Safe Outdoor Sites now in operation. Last week, I toured the 16th Avenue and Pearl Street temporary safe outdoor site (TSOS) for unhoused Denverites. Denver Community Church and the Colorado Village Collaborative are putting together a responsible, temporary support initiative in response to COVID-19's impact on the Denver homeless population. I will be touring the 13th Avenue and Grant Street site at First Baptist Church later this week. We anticipate having a Good Neighbor Agreement in place for both sites by December 31st.
Setting new records, reaching milestones. It is hard to believe, just four years ago a number of CHUN board members were sitting around a dining room table discussing how to fix the financial struggles and operational dilemmas facing our organization. After hard work, much needed administrative and cultural changes, and a dose of tenacity, my colleagues and I are pleased to report a few new milestones reached by this year's end. This is especially true, as it relates to membership. We are just $100 away from setting a membership milestone. In our 51-year history, CHUN has never had as many dues paying members as it does today. Nor have we raised as much funding from our membership program before. So many of you have stood with us during the challenging times, and I THANK YOU for this! If your membership has lapsed, I am asking you to stand with us again as we work to build on our continued successes in 2021.
CHUN is a big tent organization. We continue to stay the course in effectiveness, impact, and influence on the most pressing issues facing our community. I am extremely proud of our work, and we remain laser-like focused on our core values and mission. You are welcome here and you are a critical part of this organization's growing legacy. I love closing the year on a high note, and we have done it again. Even better days await us; wishing you a happy and healthy 2021.
Travis Leiker, MPA
President | Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods
Monthly Member Profile: Joy Wine and Spirits
From the Community
Safe Outdoor Spaces
Additionally, CVC and DCC will co-host the first monthly Good Neighbor Meeting on Tuesday, December 22 from 7:00pm-8:30pm.
These meetings will continue on an on-going basis and will take place on the second Thursday of the month from January-May beginning on Thursday, January 12. Good Neighbor Meetings will be facilitated by Frank Locantore and Zoom Links will be provided in future communications from CVC. Please subscribe to the CVC newsletter or contact them for more information.
Want to help support SOS program participants? The are a number of ways to help out:
For more information about this site and the site opening at First Baptist Denver, please visit the Konveio site organized by Interfaith Alliance.
Safe Winter Dining in Capitol Hill
Content contributed by CHUN Member Matthew Bossler, SHIFT Planning and Design LLC
Since late spring of last year, many restaurants and other small businesses have expanded operations into the streets and sidewalks of Greater Capitol Hill to keep themselves and their patrons safe. The City's Temporary Patio Expansion Permit Program, which allows for this to occur, was originally conceived as a summer-long program, but has recently been extended until Halloween, 2021. With this extension, participating businesses can realize a longer return on their investments in design services and physical upgrades. These upgrades have included tables, chairs, shade structures, gardens, and recently heaters and tents. While these elements of active street life are common elsewhere in the world, they are frustratingly lacking in even the most urban of districts in the U.S. Their addition to our public realm this summer has been an unexpected delight to urbanites of Capitol Hill.
Examples abound throughout CHUN boundaries, and are a critical lifeline for the community-serving businesses that serve as the backbone of our quality of life. Many of our favorite independent businesses have been forced to go under as a result of declining revenues, while others are understandably planning to shift to an entirely delivery/takeout-based model employing "ghost kitchens" outside of CHUN boundaries. Unfortunately, each trend portends a decrease in the number of community-serving businesses along Colfax and in our neighborhoods, and even threatens to leave a wake of shopfront vacancies. For this reason, our patronage throughout this winter and beyond is critically important to preserve what we love.
Haven't done it yet but want to give it a shot? Here's some tips. First of all, start strong by visiting some of the more interesting patios, such as The Corner Beet, an arts hotspot at 14th and Ogden, romantic dining location Barolo Grill at 6th and St. Paul, or the rich people-watching to be experienced at True Food Kitchen at Detroit and 2nd. If you're going during the day, pick a spot that is ambiently warmed by rich full-sun southern exposure and large thermal masses to absorb and reflect heat. Or if you're headed out at night, seek locations that provide supplemental wind shelters, overhead gas heaters, and/or heating pads under your butt. And BYOB! (Bring Your Own Blanket). Want to take it to the next level? Bring an electric heat blanket and a 10v rechargeable battery to plug it into to keep your whole body nice and toasty.
And if you are a restaurant or other small business seeking to take advantage of these opportunities, but struggling to make heads or tails of the situation, consider attending Downtown Colorado Inc.'s January 7th event "Portraits of Pandemic Placemaking" to learn more, or drop me a line directly. Above all, stay safe, stay warm, and stay in business!
Matthew Bossler (Congress Park)
Owner / Principal Urban Designer, Planner, and Landscape Architect
SHIFT Planning and Design LLC
matthew (at) shiftplandesign (dot) com
Spotlight: The Harm Reduction Action Center
All of this with 7 staff, over 600 volunteers, and 2-4 interns at any given time.
... The love I have for HRAC and everyone who dedicates their time and energy has grown more and more since I found them in 2016. Providing services during the pandemic has been an adjustment to say the least, but HRAC has not shut their doors ONCE! Donations are what help us continue serving our folks, and PPE costs a lot of money, but keeping ourselves and our community safe is what we do, it is harm reduction! So if you have the means, every bit makes a difference www.coloradogives.org/harmreductiondenver
My Capitol Hill Dream
By Ryan Keeney, CHUN Board of Directors
Capitol Hill is my favorite neighborhood in Denver and I plan to live here so long as I call this city home. Its walkability and eclectic mix of buildings from every era of Denver's history brings me joy. I rest my head in one of those small slot apartment buildings from the 1960’s which are so ubiquitous around here. Its relative affordability, along with a very reasonable independent landlord, has enabled me to establish myself here and I suspect that I will keep renewing my lease for some years to come. One day I would like to upgrade though, but as a young millennial a traditional house will likely be out of reach for me even earning a respectable salary. No matter though. I don't want much.
Most important is that the home face the street, so I can watch the world go by. A balcony or stoop would also bring great satisfaction, as it would provide me a sliver of outdoor space to call my own. A bedroom separate from the common area is also important, so that I can host guests and those guests will enjoy being hosted. Lastly, a dose of beauty and history, so that my soul is uplifted and I feel welcomed every time I come home.
This is my American dream. It is very different from that of my parents, whose suburban house in Indianapolis is cheaper to buy than a one-bedroom condo in Capitol Hill. But location trumps all that for me. This neighborhood in this city has on offer opportunities and experiences that other places simply can’t match. I would never be happy in a bigger space in a less vibrant neighborhood. I find that my energy is drained in such places.
Economic reality has forced me to massage my expectations. But I think with some luck I can have that home which I so desire. My Capitol Hill dream.
CHUN Installs a Little Free Pantry
Thanksgiving is a time for feeling grateful for the abundance in our lives. Due to the pandemic, however, many of our neighbors find themselves struggling to feed themselves and their families, some for the first time in their lives. According to news sources, a growing number of people are going hungry.
On November 27th, a Little Free Pantry was installed on the property of the Tears-McFarlane House, which is owned and operated by Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods (CHUN). With its installation, CHUN has joined a grassroots, crowdsourced solution to local need - whether it is a need for food, or a need to give. Vickie Berkley, VP of community engagement and board member of CHUN, and leader of the project, said, "This is a small act, but if there was a Little Free Pantry in each Denver neighborhood, it would make a big difference."
The concept of the Little Free pantry is simple. Give what you can. Take what you need. Neighbors helping neighbors. "We may feel powerless in tackling the larger issue of hunger, but we can put a few cans of food in a pantry to feed someone who lives nearby," said Vickie.
If you would like to donate nonperishable food or need food, the Little Free Pantry is located at 1290 Williams Street, on the northwest corner of the Tears-McFarlane property. If the pantry is full, you can leave food on the porch, where it will be brought inside at the earliest convenience. The food items will be moved to the pantry when room is available. For questions, email email@example.com
Bicycling Infrastructure Projects in Capitol Hill
By Venita Currie, Senior Associate at GBSM, Inc.
Denver’s Department of Transportation & Infrastructure (DOTI) is continuing to build out the city’s bike network, aiming to add 125 miles of new bike lanes by the end of 2023. One approach to reaching this goal is through Denver’s Community Transportation Networks Program, which is significantly building out the bike network in the city’s core where population densities are higher to increase the number of Denver households within ¼ mile of a high comfort bikeway (a primary goal of the Denver Moves: Bikes Plan).
As part of this plan, DOTI is working with communities to create a complete transportation network in South Central Denver through the South Central Community Transportation Network Plan (CTN).
The existing bicycle network in Capitol Hill is displayed on the map below. Currently, the Capitol Hill neighborhood is lacking north-south and east-west connections for pedestrians and people on bikes. For folks who walk and bike in the neighborhood, challenges exist especially at busy intersections that are difficult to cross and navigate.
The South Central CTN team has been working with the Capitol Hill community over the past year to understand mobility challenges and opportunities for improving connections to places people want to go. Specifically, the team has focused on creating three north/south routes and adding an additional east/west route. In the Spring of 2020, the team shared a round of surveys that asked people to weigh-in on different options for improving streets in the neighborhood. The results of these surveys helped to identify the following improvements:
For updates on each of the projects planned for the neighborhood and specific changes that will be implemented along the corridors, please review the links below:firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re also working on a number of new project materials including project-specific FAQs, summaries of concept survey results, and revised conceptual designs. In the coming weeks, we’ll share these documents with you and also provide details on our next round of virtual meetings - stakeholder workgroup and pubic open house.
Bag Of Colfax: A Little Mistery and A Lot Of Love from Local Businesses
From The City of Denver
Keep Denver's Sidewalks Free of Snow & Ice
Be a great neighbor! Everyone enjoys safe, clear sidewalks – and it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep the sidewalks adjacent to their home or business clear and accessible. Shovel all sidewalks, wheelchair ramps, and bus stops around your home as soon as it's practical and safe. Businesses have 4 hours after the snow stops to shovel, and residents have 24 hours. (RTD only shovels bus stops that have a shelter. If it’s just a sign with no shelter, the resident/business is responsible for this sidewalk.)
Show kindness and offer to help your neighbors if they aren't able to shovel! Neighbors helping neighbors is one of the things that makes Denver great. You can volunteer to be an official “snow angel” at denvergov.org/snowangels or just do a #NeighborCheck. There are all sorts of reasons why people may need assistance, or they may just not know what the city’s rules are for keeping sidewalks clear. A simple conversation with a neighbor or just lending that helping hand will almost always resolve a snowy sidewalk faster than the city can, and it will preserve city resources for the rest of Denver’s 3,000 miles of sidewalks.
Zoning & Development
A Compromise for Carmen Court
After numerous meetings and much deliberation, an agreement was reached between the owners, applicants, and developer, and the designation application for 900 East 1st Ave. has been officially withdrawn. The agreement states that the condo building will not be demolished until all building permits have been issued and construction is ready commence. This agreement ensures that community members will know exactly what will be built in its place before the building is demolished
Temporary Managed Campsites During COVID-19 (Temporary use Determination)
Temporary safe outdoor sites comply with Denver Zoning Code Section 12.4.6; Ordinance No. 2020-0961 . (SEE FULL ORDER BELOW). Earlier in December, two sites were selected as temporary safe outdoor sites (SOS). Westword covered the initial proposal HERE. CHUN is engaged in these conversations to ensure appropriate next steps are taken and is mindful of neighbor concerns. More broadly, we are all focused on providing long-term, stable housing to our current unhoused neighbors and are unequivocal in this work. Temporary SOS sites are not the panacea but have the potential to be an important first step. Questions about this policy should be directed to CHUN City Council Members:
Candi CdeBaca (Councilwoman, District 9): Ph. 720-337-7709 E. email@example.com
Chris Hinds (Councilman, District 10): Ph. 720-337-7710 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Portraits of Pandemic Placemaking - Jan. 7th
On January 7th (8:30 - 10:00 AM), SHIFT Planning and Design, Congress for the New Urbanism - Colorado Chapter, Downtown Colorado Inc., and CU College of Architecture and Planning is recognizing outstanding COVID-responsive placemaking projects across the state, and exploring both present challenges and opportunities for permanent improvements to the public realm.
The event will begin with communities across the state, ranging from a few businesses on a city corner to an entire downtown coalition, rapidly summarizing the key themes, design innovations, funding strategies, and behavioral responses to their projects. Project types recognized include:
Next, we will consider the biggest challenges presently faced, including winterization, sourcing of materials, funding and implementation, and equity, recapping the design guidance, funding opportunities, and potential policies that can help overcome them. Lastly, in the wake of this unprecedented resetting of expectations of the general public, business community, and local governments, we will explore, through the CU College of Architecture and Planning’s flagship eDEN initiative, how the temporary can be made permanent, and how these constellations of distinct projects can be woven together to realize long-term aspirations for community-oriented streets.
Participation in this event has been made free thanks to the financial support of Colorado manufacturers SnoSan Hand Sanitizer and Colorado Parklets.
Please register in advance
Also In the News
A Special Thanks to Some of Our Business and Community Partner Members:
The Urban Dweller is published on the last, working Monday of each month. To submit your content via email, please use the button above. Content is due by the 25th DAY of each month.