Imagining A Great Campus
A month after Johnson and Wales University (JWU) announced the Denver campus in Park Hill will close next year, the future of the property at Montview and Quebec is unclear. Two Greater Park Hill Community, Inc. leaders say they hope that the city will step in.
“If another educational institution is unable to occupy the campus this would be an ideal opportunity for the city to purchase the land, provide affordable housing though adaptive re-use of the buildings, gain parkland and add a possible recreation center, which the area is lacking and would help achieve the goals stated for our neighborhood,” said Tracey MacDermott, board chair of GPHC.
Colette Carey, GPHC’s district representative for the area that includes JWU, says the university’s sudden announcement was “definitely anxiety-inducing” to surrounding neighbors. People she’s heard from, she says, have expressed concern that the property will be sold to a developer.
“Johnson and Wales has been such a great neighbor, and the campus is in such beautiful condition,” said Carey. People living nearby, she said, have raised the possibilities of senior apartments, affordable housing, a gym, and what would be a “beautiful meeting space” in Treat Hall, which is on the National Historic Registry. All those uses would keep the infrastructure and preserve the character of the property and neighborhood, Carey said.
JWU has invested at least $47 million into improvements since 2000, including renovating the student dormitories and remodeling other buildings, including Treat Hall.
Gun Violence Up 50 Percent
At least 33 people have died from gunfire so far this year in Denver, including eight young people in Denver and Aurora. In mid-July two 17-year-olds were shot during a house party in Montbello, and one of the victims, Davarie Armstrong, died.
On July 26, two men were killed in gunfire at 33rd and Hudson in Park Hill. Leland Hines, 42, and Dowan Alexander, 39, died; a third man and two women were also injured. As of press time no suspects had been arrested. Gun violence in Denver, up 50 percent over this time last year, has prompted city and community leaders to launch a call to action.
Jeff Fard, of Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center, hosted a Facebook live event to mourn the Park Hill victims and issue a call for unity and for “love enforcement.”
“It’s hard to say Black Lives Matter when we’re going through what we’re going through,” Fard said. “We gotta raise our flags up a little bit harder. We gotta love a little harder.”
The next day, during his State of the City speech, Mayor Michael B. Hancock highlighted the issue of youth gun violence as a top priority. “Our young people are mourning lives lost,” he said. “We need people to put down their guns and we need to move beyond rhetoric. No one, especially children, should feel unsafe in their neighborhoods.”
Dear Mr. Scott Gilmore
This summer’s slaughter of an estimated 500 Canada Geese from city parks enraged activists from Canada Geese Protection Colorado. In July group members turned out to protest and videotape the pre-dawn roundups of molting geese.
Denver Parks Manager Scott Gilmore has said that killing the geese is the best option for controlling their population, citing the nuisance the animals create with the poop they generate. However, animal rights activists cite many other cities that have successfully implemented more humane programs to control the populations, noting that geese, which are highly intelligent, mate for life.
Last year the city spent $150,000 to kill an estimated 1,600 geese. After the latest round of killing, the activists announced plans for an ongoing letter-writing campaign and “performance protest” to urge Gilmore and other city officials to consider more humane options. The group has secured support from Colorado’s First Gentleman Marlon Reis, who has weighed in via social media to urge Denver adopt a more compassionate approach.
“I have spent the last year consulting respected wildlife biologists who assure me that year-to-year culling of urban wildlife is costly to taxpayers, scientifically ineffective as a long-term solution, and woefully inhumane,” Reis said.
Will it be Central Park or Skyview? By the time you read this, Stapleton’s Master Community Association (MCA) will have decided the new name for the neighborhood just east of Park Hill.
After years of controversy over the name “Stapleton,” the MCA board made the rapid decision to drop the name during this summer’s protests over systemic racism. Stapleton was the name of the old airport that the neighborhood was built on, and also the former mayor of Denver, Benjamin Stapleton, who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
More than 300 possible replacement names were submitted for consideration, which were then whittled to nine: Mosley, Meadowlark, Concourse, Peterson, Park Central, Central Park, Tailwinds, Randolph and Skyview. Of those, on July 30 (after press time) the neighborhood organization was expected to select either Skyview or Central Park as the neighborhood’s official new name.
— Cara DeGette