‘It’s a new day’ for Five Points after neighborhood agrees to fund business improvement district

3 min. read
Akhalya Blanton skips rope at Five Points’ Sonny Lawson Park with Black Girls Jump, an organization committed to promoting active lifestyles for kids. Her mom Tamara is the president of the Denver chapter. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) five points; sonny lawson park; kids; jump rope; black girls jump; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;

Black Girls Jump, an organization committed to promoting active lifestyles for kids, bounces around Five Points' Sonny Lawson Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Restaurateurs, barbers and other business owners in Denver's Five Points neighborhood agreed to reach into their pockets for an effort to improve the condition, safety and visibility of their community.

Property owners along the Welton Street Corridor voted 37 to 31 to fund the recently-created Five Points Business District through property taxes. The district is estimated to collect $157,000 in 2017.

"This is a new day for the Five Points area," said Tracy Winchester, executive director of the Five Points Business District. "It's going to be a gradual change, but Welton Street is going to look much different 18 months from now."

The Welton Street Corridor from 2oth to Downing streets underwent a wave a revitalization in the years following the recession. New multi-story apartments sprang up. Longtime businesses closed. New ones took their place.

"Now that there are businesses thriving and prospering on the corridor, they need to manage themselves and their future and how they want to market and beautify their area," Winchester said.

The business improvement district allows them to do that, she said. Ideas that have been floated for the district including paying for graffiti removal, adding new lighting and signage and hiring security officers to reduce loitering in the area.

The district includes shops and homes on both sides of the Welton Street Corridor. Those property owners agreed to pay 10 mill levies to the district.

For example, the property that houses Rosenberg’s Bagels – valued at $320,700 – would pay $930 in taxes to the district.

"We still have 31 people that did not vote in favor of this. You have a lot of people that don’t want to pay one dime more. That’s the mantra of a lot of businesses," Winchester said. "Our goal is to get those 31 people that said 'no' to say by the end of 2017, 'This is a really good thing and we're glad that we did it.'"

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article miscalculated the amount of taxes that would come from the property that houses Rosenberg's Bagels, 725 E. 26th Ave.

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