Stapleton set for a new school, bridge and fire station ahead of 2,000-plus new homes

The complicated five-way deal allows the completion of Stapleton’s northern “Section 10” area.

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo
Stapleton Airport's defunct air traffic control tower. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  stapleton airport; tower; denverite; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty

Stapleton Airport's old air traffic control tower. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Denver City Council has cleared the way for construction of an elementary school, a fire station and a new bridge span for Central Park Boulevard, all to allow the completion of Stapleton’s northern “Section 10” area. The rather complicated deal was approved on April 10. Here’s what it does.

The bridge:

The bridge will allow up to six lanes of Central Park Boulevard to proceed north from Stapleton over freight rail lines and Sand Creek to reach the northern section of Stapleton, according to Matrix Design Group. Currently, the road narrows to two lanes at the point of the crossing.

The city will pay $8.4 million, which it expects to be repaid by 2025 through new tax revenue from development.

The fire station:

The new fire station, called North Fire Station, will stand in the vicinity of 50th Avenue and Central Park Boulevard, also in the northern section. It will cost $9.4 million, to be financed in the short term by Denver Public Schools.

The school system also is to be repaid from extra taxes generated by the new development.

The defunct Stapleton Airport control tower looms over the growing suburban lanscape. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  stapleton airport; suburbs; homes; residential; denverite; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty

The former Stapleton control tower looms over the suburban landscape. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The new school:

A new elementary school will be built. DPS will pay about $7 million to developer Forest City for the land where it will be built, according to the city. (Forest City will spend that money to manage storm drainage and shape — or grade — in Section 10.)

Open space:

Forest City also is setting aside $12.5 million from the fees that homebuilders pay to master developer Forest City. The money will go toward open space in Section 10, north of 56th Avenue.

What is Section 10?

The Section 10 area eventually could host 2,000 new homes and 400 new apartment units, Front Porch Stapleton reported. Stapleton, which once was the site of Denver’s airport, has an estimated population of more than 20,000 now, according to Forest City.

Stapleton residences as seen from a hill in Central Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  stapleton; central park; residential; suburbs; homes; denverite; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty

Stapleton residences as seen from a hill in Central Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

I really want to know more about tax-increment financing.

The financing of this arrangement shifts around various costs between five different parties: the city, Denver Public Schools, Forest City Stapleton, the Denver Urban Renewal Authority and the Park Creek Metropolitan. For a finely detailed explanation, I refer you to Jon Murray.

Stapleton, by the way, was named after Benjamin Stapleton, a former mayor of Denver and a noted Ku Klux Klan member. Changing Denver has two excellent podcast episodes about that sordid bit of history and efforts to change the name.

People gather at the Denver Municipal Airport (Stapleton Airport) to view fighters and transport planes of the 95th Pursuit Squadron of the U.S. Army in March 1931. (Harry Mellon Rhoads/Western History and Genealogy Dept./Denver Public Library/Engle #40484 DPLW)

People gather at the Denver Municipal Airport (Stapleton Airport) to view fighters and transport planes of the 95th Pursuit Squadron of the U.S. Army in March 1931. (Harry Mellon Rhoads/Western History and Genealogy Dept./Denver Public Library/Engle #40484 DPLW)