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2018: The Year To Engage

From left, Certifiably Green Denver Program Manager Janet Burgesser, Tracey MacDermott, GPHC Board Member Geneva Goldsby, GPHC Executive Director Sierra Fleenor holding a certificate recognizing Park Hill as an “outstanding” sustainable neighborhood, Sustainable Neighborhoods Program Coordinator Taylor Moellers. Photo by Cara DeGette

As we head into 2018 I hope each of you have had time over the last year to spend with loved ones. That you started a new hobby, accomplished your goals – and stepped out into our beautiful state and this spectacular neighborhood.

Here at Greater Park Hill Community we accomplished so many things in 2017, and hope to build on that momentum next year.

We have continued to serve families needing to utilize our emergency food pantry. Last year, 172 households and 462 residents stopped in for nourishment and supplies. Our food pantry is only possible through our collaboration with Food Bank of the Rockies, and the work by Executive Director Sierra Fleenor and the many dedicated volunteers that keep the pantry running.

We have also grown the Weekend Food Program, which provides food to students. Last year we distributed more than 35,000 meals. The ability to serve so many of our neighbors has been made possible by generous financial contributions that so many within Park Hill make to this program. We can’t do this without you.

If you are thinking about ways to volunteer in 2018 please consider helping via a donation of time or financial support to our food pantry or the Weekend Food Program. These programs will continue, as will the Free Farm Stand during the summer and fall.

Is it possible to build a network of community gardens within Park Hill this year that will provide the ability to trade produce and donate the extras to our food pantry? I think so! If you are interested in helping or leading on this effort please contact

Last August, Greater Park Hill Community, Inc. was accepted into the city’s Sustainable Neighborhoods program. Within a couple months we achieved “outstanding” status – the highest possible. I am sure this is a record!

This year we will continue our campaign to reduce fertilizer and pesticide use community wide, as well as help educate people about storm water runoff and the need to prevent debris and chemicals from dumping into storm drains. We’ll conduct classes in bee keeping and seed starting.

We want to hear from you about your ideas on projects that make our neighborhood more sustainable. There is such a large pool of talent, ideas, skills and wonderful folks in Park Hill, I believe we will become the example throughout Denver of what is possible.

The 2017 Park Hill Home Tour & Street Fair qualified as a Certifiably Green Denver event. We conducted educational seminars during the street fair in September. The Denver Water Trailer provided water, reducing one-use plastic water bottles and helping us work toward a zero waste event.

Also last year we achieved the designation of a Green Business with the city. We are the first Registered Neighborhood Organization to receive this designation. We are proud of it and hope you are too. We want to work with other Park Hill businesses to help them reach this status as well.

This year Park Hill will continue to lead on sustainability, taking care of our neighbors in need, work through zoning issues and partner with our city to improve the lives of all of our citizens.

I have seen our neighborhood work through some contentious issues recently. I’ve been shocked at the level of vitriol that sometimes rears its head in social media. Surely this is the time we must come together. There is too much work to do.

Let us not be the victims of fake news, social media bashing and general bad behavior. Instead of lashing out on social media, consider instead taking the time to understand the concerns of your neighbors and committing to work through it.

Maybe 2018 is the year we stop posting, and start engaging. In 2018 I hope that we will be able to work through our differences and find common ground.

Tracey MacDermott is chair of the board of Greater Park Hill Community, Inc. Active in the Registered Neighborhood Organization for many years, MacDermott was the 2012 recipient of the Dr. J. Carlton Babbs Award for Community Service. She was trained as a Climate Reality Leader in 2017.

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