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Letters to the Editor

Don’t Demolish The Hut

My name is Angel Johnson. I am part of a group that is trying to save the historic home in Park Hill, at 1980 Albion St. It was built by Charles A. Johnson who was very influential in Denver’s early days (and he also happens to be my great-grandfather). It was also designed by master architect Theodore Davis Boal, who has several historic properties and landmarks credited  to his name. In the early 1900s the house was so well known by Denverites that they simply called it “The Hut.”

We have been working with the owners and Historic Denver to find a way to preserve the house. Unfortunately an application for demolition was filed recently, and is currently “in progress.” 

The house and related structures will soon be torn down if nothing is done! We are asking the community to contact the owners and let them know you want this piece of history preserved. You can sign our new “Don’t Demolish” petition, which will automatically send them an email, or call them at 303-393-1363 or 303-780-0108 to let them know you want this property saved. The petition is online at savethehuthouse.com.

Angel Johnson, Mar Lee

Explosive Growth Is Awful

I am an avid reader of the Greater Park Hill News and devoted Denverite. I liked the July article regarding Mayor Webb’s position on growth. Coincidentally, on July 2, I had a conversation with Chris Herndon, my city councilperson, regarding Park Hill Golf Course specifically and Denver growth in general. 

I mentioned to Mr. Herndon that I am a fifth generation Denverite and have witnessed many changes in my 68 years of living here. Explosive growth has occurred over the past 10 years to the point that, in my opinion, has created an inverse proportion between growth and quality of life. I mentioned that the current city council has been excessively pro-growth, much to the detriment of quality of life in the city. I now spend more than twice as much time in my car running errands regardless of time of day. Many times I have had to sit in my car through several sequences of traffic lights to get through one intersection. 

I brought up the issue that traffic on Colorado Boulevard in general and specifically between MLK Boulevard and I-70 is extremely congested. Developing 155 acres of the Park Hill Golf Course land would make that situation considerably worse. Herndon’s response was that people should rely more on mass transit rather that the automobile. He also said that the city council has very limited authority over developers. I feel these are cop-outs. 

There are cranes everywhere in town. Blocks that were once single family homes are becoming high density multi use development – I think of Fairfax Avenue between 28th and 29th, but it is occurring all over Park Hill and Denver in general. Not to mention how ugly the architecture is in those huge boxes.

Lakewood voters just passed a growth cap of 1 percent because the city recognizes the problem of uncontrolled growth. Chris Herndon has only been in Denver since 2006 so I really can’t blame him entirely since he has very little perspective or history. I am not certain how a city can cap growth, but there should be more stringent limitations to the type of growth. If zero growth were to happen it would mean that someone has to leave the city (or die) before someone new could be admitted in. That may not be reasonable, but something has to be done and the City Council is counterproductive. 

It is incumbent upon all of us to put our council people’s feet to the fire to come up with a solution.

Geoffrey Chappell, Park Hil

Trying Times At DPS

Laura Lefkowits’ June article, “Brown v. Board of Education: Landmark Case At 65,” about the Denver Public Schools issues around integrating our schools, is spot on. I just want to write a short chapter of what went on before and during the imposition of the Federal Court Order. 

The plaintiffs were more than justified in bringing suit against DPS as affirmed by the outcome of the Keyes case. School boundary lines were redrawn annually to keep black students in “their” schools and white students in “theirs.” Not only that, but resources were very disparate. Textbooks for the black students might be missing several pages and were outdated editions. New teachers would be sent to black schools and teachers with advanced degrees were in the white schools.

After the court order was in place cross-town busing was needed to balance the numbers of students of various ethnicities. Picture elementary school students getting on the bus at 7 a.m. and getting home close to 5 p.m. Even white parents who had hoped to support integration would only keep their children on that schedule for so long. So more children whose parents could afford it would go to private schools every year, meaning the boundaries had to be adjusted to make the numbers work. 

People can tell you how many schools they attended during those years, as assignments changed. PTAs and other support systems had little continuity. Sports and other extra-curricular activities – the very things that make school meaningful for many students – were too hard to participate in due to how hard it was to get back to the school across town in the evenings.

Reports had to be submitted to the court regularly. Compliance was expensive and the expenses were not an option, including for buses, drivers, the cost of paperwork and monitors. Then there was the basic sense that DPS wanted to be back in control of its operations. So it was a proud day, one I remember well, when Judge Matsch released DPS from court supervision because the district was in compliance as much as was reasonably possible. Dr. Evie Dennis was superintendent, leading DPS out from under the court supervision.

But to Laura’s main points: 1. DPS is at least as segregated now as before the Keyes case. 2. Integration benefits everyone, as well laid out by PHNEE.

Marcia Johnson, Park Hill

Marcia Johnson served on the DPS Board of Education from 1989 to 1995. In case you missed it, Laura Lefkowits’s June article can be read at greaterparkhill.org/2019/06/brown-v-board-of-education-landmark-court-case-at-65-years/

We love your letters, and give preference to those that address an issue that has been covered in the newspaper, or a topic that is Park Hill or Denver-specific. Send letters to editor@greaterparkhill.org, and include your full name, and the neighborhood in which you live. Deadlines are the 15th of each month, for the following month’s issue.


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