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Greater Park Hill Community Annual Meeting 2019

The annual meeting and board elections for Greater Park Hill Community, Inc. was Oct. 3, in the meeting room of the Carla Madison Recreation Center at Colfax and Josephine. Newly elected and returning members of the board overseeing the Registered Neighborhood Organization (RNO) include Ryan Hunter, Sandra Robnett, Nam Henderson, Colette Carey, Shane Sutherland, Lisa Zoeller and Louis Plachowski. The evening included an overview of actions and activities of the past year (see page 14 for highlights). Volunteers were honored, the annual Babbs Award was presented, and dinner was served. 

Photos by Cara DeGette

Beth Yohe, director of The Conflict Center, was the guest speaker.

GPHC board member Melissa Davis. Dinner was from Phoenician Kebab on Colfax.
Nan Young, with her dad and mom, Dick and Lorie Young. The Youngs helped organize the original Park Hill Action Committee, which became Greater Park Hill Community, Inc. In 1964 Dick Young was chairman of the Denver Commission on Human Relations, which sponsored civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to Denver and Park Hill.
GPHC Executive Director Lana Cordes

A Long And Vibrant History

We Still Have Critical Work Ahead Of Us In Park Hill

Editor’s note: The following are remarks from GPHC, Inc. Board Chair Tracey MacDermott, kicking off the Registered Neighborhood Organization’s annual meeting and board elections on Oct. 3.

Greater Park Hill Community board members Lynn Kalinauskas, Lisa Zoeller, Geneva Goldsby, Executive Director Lana Cordes and board Chair Tracey MacDermott.

Greater Park Hill has a long and vibrant history. We have survived racially motivated blockbusting, we have had the privilege of a visit from Nobel Laureate and Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., who highlighted our neighborhood’s integration efforts and left a mark on our history book when he provided a sermon in 1964 at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church.

We have fought back against school segregation; we fought the expansion of Stapleton Airport, and won. We organized a critically needed food pantry to assist our neighbors in need. 

Today we have accepted the baton handoff from the past and have charged forward, continuing the work of protecting this precious neighborhood and the residents who make it just a bit more special than any other place in the city.

Our work continues. We have expanded the food pantry to cast a larger net, as needed. We continue to keep an eye on zoning issues that have an impact on the neighborhood. We have increased our efforts with the city’s Sustainable Neighborhood program, working hard to slow down climate change. 

Just this week our teams have collaborated to make our streets safer for our children, illustrating the reality of climate change in one project. I hope you all check out the new street murals at Park Hill Elementary and Stedman Elementary. 

We live at a time when our journalists are attacked, and the very survival of many news organizations is at risk. Reporters and editors are routinely the recipients of insults and even threats lobbed at them daily, including from the White House and by angry mobs. I am proud to say that we have kept our newspaper distributed for decades, free to residents and businesses throughout the neighborhood. And we have kept it uncensored. I want to thank our newspaper team for all their hard work.   

I also want to thank the board of GPHC. Members volunteer their time to address a myriad of issues – they plan celebrations (like this summer’s amazing party celebrating the 50th anniversary of our Registered Neighborhood Organization). They recently organized a neighborhood survey so that we can better understand your desires for this neighborhood. They help out with neighborhood cleanups and offer a hand to neighbors in need. Each brings the gift of their talents to this organization. 

Two others here tonight must be acknowledged for their work: Carla Finch, our Garden Walk organizer extraordinaire; and Justin Bresler, the founder and organizer of the annual Fourth of July Parade.

This year we had to say goodbye to our executive director, Sierra Fleenor, but were fortunate enough to be gifted Lana Cordes. Lana is an amazing talent – she dived right into the work, and never misses a beat. She’s always full of new ideas and perspectives, and is simply a joy to work with.

Thanks to everyone for being here tonight. This neighborhood has stood the test of time due to so many of you, and I am grateful to share this special place with you.

Breslers Win Babbs

Above, Lana Cordes, Justin Bresler, Tracey MacDermott and Geneva Goldsby. In the second photo, Tara Bannon Williamson responds as the Babbs winner is announced. Fourth of July parade photos show founders Alison and Justin Bresler.

The First Family Of The 4th Of July Parade Honored

Editor’s Note: The following remarks were delivered by GPHC Board Chair Tracey MacDermott, awarding this year’s Babbs Award to Justin, Alison, Ellie, Max and Charles Bresler.

Dr. J. Carlton Babbs was a minister at Park Hill United Methodist Church from 1955 until his death in 1978. He helped organize the Park Hill Action Committee and was a key supporter of integration in Park Hill.

 On a coordinated Sunday in May of 1956, all of the ministers in the community preached sermons on the need to eliminate all the barriers to church membership and housing on the basis of race, sex or national origin. The Park Hill Action Committee, organized and sponsored by these churches, subsequently became Greater Park Hill Community, Inc.

At the time of Dr. Babbs’ death, the clergy of Park Hill met and decided that a community service award in his memory would be a fitting tribute to one of the neighborhood’s outstanding leaders.

This award has been presented annually, since 1980, to a resident who has made a significant contribution to the neighborhood. 

For the first time in its history, we are pleased to present the Babbs Award not just to an individual, but a family. That family is the Breslers: Justin and Alison, and their children Ellie, Max and Charles.

Hailing from Evanston, Illinois, Justin and Alison had fond memories of their hometown 4th of July celebration. After settling down in Denver they ultimately decided that a 4th of July Parade was a tradition they wanted to bring to Park Hill.

Fast-forward 10 years. That dream has become a tradition, and then some.

Stretching from Dexter to Krameria Street along 23rd Avenue, this year the parade celebrated its 10th anniversary. More than 50 groups participate – including with floats, live music, costumed characters, classic cars, social groups and community organizations. It attracts thousands of spectators.

The Breslers don’t do it for money or notoriety – they do it because they wanted the neighborhood to have a fun, inclusive, community celebration.

Although Justin leads the charge, it really is a family affair, with all five of them contributing. They collectively dedicate hundreds of hours each year to the planning, organizing, recruiting, and execution of the parade.

We are unbelievably fortunate to reap the benefits of the passion and dedication of the Bresler family.

Past Babbs Award Recipients

1980 – Robert Hickman

1981 – Helen B. Evans

1982 – Jules H. Mondschein

1983 – Marjorie Gilbert

1984 – Madeleine Hegarty

1985 – Issac and Marie White

1986 – Karen Saliman

1987 – Art and Bea Branscombe

1988 – John and Gladys Bates

1989 – Mary Ann McClain

1990 – Henry Turner

1991 – William R. “Bill” Turner

1992 – Gerald “Jerry” Kopel

1993 – Cynthia C. Kahn

1994 – Emmett F. Wallace

1995 – Liz Kreider

1996 – Patricia B. Clarke

1997 – Dr. Robbie Bean

1998 – Lewis and Bernice Watts

1999 – Algene and Odell Holleman

2000 – Richard Pickett

2001 – Ann Long

2002 – Marietta “Jo” Mosby

2003 – Sarah Lee Foster

2004 – Geneva Goldsby

2005 – Linda L. Elliott

2006 – Bob Homiak

2007 – Roz Wheeler-Bell

2008 – Roberta Locke

2009 – Lyle Hansen

2010 – Susan Schneider Homiak

2011 – Lynn Smith

2012 – Tracey MacDermott

2013 – Bernadette Kelly

2014 – Kate Sultan

2015 – Heather Shockey

2016 – Lynn Kalinauskas

2017 – Claudia Fields

2018 – Blair Taylor

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