RiNo board rejects Brighton Boulevard renaming amid fears of “scrubbing” history

The leaders of RiNo’s general improvement district had considered spending time and money to facilitate the controversial name-change proposal.
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Brighton Boulevard, south of I-70. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) brighton boulevard; rino; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;

Brighton Boulevard, south of I-70. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A decision-making board in River North has decided it won't get involved with an effort to rename "Brighton Boulevard" to "Broadway Boulevard."

The leaders of RiNo's general improvement district had considered spending time and money to facilitate the controversial name-change proposal. Now, that won't happen.

"The board voted to cease any further efforts, at least for the board, to lead an effort to start the petitioning on a renaming effort," said Jamie Licko, president of the RiNo Art District.

The GID board does not have the power to change the name itself. Instead, it was voting on whether it would facilitate the process to change the name. Any name change for the road would ultimately have to be approved in a vote by the people who own property along the affected stretch of the road.

The GID board previously hosted a community forum on the question of renaming Brighton. Most of the 60 people who attended spoke against the idea, Licko said. The idea also was divisive for developers, leading Mickey Zeppelin to say the district was heading in the wrong direction.

"I think the clear message was that people weren’t supportive of it and didn’t think it was a good use of the district’s time and resources," Licko said.

"... We had a lot of people saying, 'Look, this neighborhood is already changing the dynamics of this part of Denver. There’s already a lot of people concerned not just about the impact of RiNo, but of I-70, National Western. Changing a name that has historically been there for many years kind of contributes to a scrubbing of the place’s history.' Some people said that, and I think that's very true."

Licko said that she saw some "interesting and valid" points, but neither she nor the RiNo district organization took any official stance on the name change.

Meanwhile, it's still possible someone else will move to change the name.

Bernard Hurley, a developer who liked the idea, said in a text message that he was "not sure" whether or not he would still push for a property-owner vote on the renaming. He has described Broadway as a "compelling, iconic name" that could help establish River North as a new gateway to Denver.

Hurley is a member of the GID board. However, he was out of state at the time of the vote. Board members Jason Winkler and Larry Burgess also were not present at the meeting, Licko said.

The GID is kind of like a mini government: It collects extra taxes on properties in RiNo, and it can spend that money on stuff for the district.

All the other board members voted not to be involved.

"That’s what I think people see our role as -- really addressing some of the challenges and the opportunities that are here, and street naming isn’t really high on the priority list," Licko said.

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