Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore is kicking off her reelection campaign Saturday, seeking a chance to continue work in District 11 she said was completed with the help of community contacts and partnerships.
“There’s no way we would have been able to secure $162 million in infrastructure improvements over the last three and a half, four years, without the support of the community,” Gilmore said, citing a figure that includes bonding and general fund money.
The latest feather in her cap came on Monday when the City Council approved an expansion of a property rebate program for homeowners she supported. It previously only covered seniors and disabled residents, but will now be made eligible for families with children.
Gilmore has served in the seat since winning a runoff election in 2015. She’s lived in Montbello for 25 years and met her husband, Deputy Parks Manager Scott Gilmore, teaching kids how to fish at a Denver park. The two went on to create a nonprofit called Environmental Learning for Kids.
“We’ve taught thousands of young people and families about hiking, fishing, natural resources, getting outdoors, and really, at the end of the day, connecting kids of color and families of color to natural and natural resource careers,” Gilmore said.
Montbello (a neighborhood that’s split between District 11 and Councilman Chris Herndon’s District 8) is the district’s most well-known neighborhood. The district also includes Green Valley Ranch and DIA.
Gilmore faces two challengers in fellow Montbello residents Shayla R. Richard and Christine Alonzo.
Gilmore has been pushing to address food desert concerns — which means bringing a supermarket to the neighborhood.
You might call it her white whale.
“Another thing we’re really proud of is we’ve continued the conversation over food access and food availability,” Gilmore said.
She’s been trying to lure a full-service grocery market to Montbello since a full-service Safeway near Chambers and Green Valley Ranch Boulevard closed a few years ago. Bringing a new supermarket will be her top priority if she’s reelected. She’s been chatting with folks from King Soopers and Alfalfa’s Market about expanding in the area.
“It’s number one priority,” Gilmore said.
That could include adding a Natural Grocers in Green Valley Ranch. Gilmore said property near Tower Road owned by Colorado State Land Board is set to be sold to a developer interested in bringing that grocery to the neighborhood.
“Nothing is signed, but at least there are conversations. When there’s conversations, it gets the other grocers and other retailers there looking at the area as well,” Gilmore said.
She wants to see more economic development in the form of jobs and skills training that benefits local residents.
Montbello is one of a handful of Denver neighborhoods benefiting from construction jobs and skills training prompted the nearby I-70 expansion. There are programs in place showing some success in hiring local workers.
But she has a bigger, more ambitious vision: Bringing a large-scale, regional workforce training facility to the district. It could come from a private-public partnership, including teaming up with the airport and the newly-opened and very massive Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in nearby Aurora.
“I would like to figure out how we’re going to get a training facility out in the district,” Gilmore said. “I think we could get more traction honestly if we looked at it from a regional approach and brought in Adams County, Arapahoe County.”
There were some concerns that the Gaylord Rockies Resort could take business away from downtown Denver hotels. But Gilmore said her district stands to benefit in the form of jobs and said most the of conferences booked at the new resort are new to the area’s market.
It could also mean bringing more retail in the area, with Gilmore mentioning Costco or a Super Target as a possibility, as well as more full-service eateries. She mentioned the plans for a new movie theater down the road in Aurora off Tower Road as an example of how her district could benefit.
“We want to work on more retail development,” Gilmore said. “Even with that Harkins coming in, that’s going to help us, on the Denver side, possibly secure more full-service, sit-down restaurants for folks because they don’t want to see more fast food.
Gilmore’s campaign kick off takes place Saturday at the Montbello Recreation Center at 15555 East 53rd Avenue in Denver. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., with breakfast refreshments available.