Westside Denver: the city wants to hear from you for a neighborhood plan

3 min. read
A mural on the side of Sportsmans Liquor in Villa Park, Sept. 11, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver's planning department wants to hear from Westside residents as it begins crafting a West Area Plan for six of its neighborhoods.

Anyone living in Barnum, Barnum West, Sun Valley, Valverde, Villa Park and West Colfax are encouraged to fill out a kickoff survey to provide input on what they love about their neighborhood and what they would like to improve and to help identify the biggest challenges.

"These are going to be the documents, that as a councilperson, we're going to be tying to in the future, saying, 'Is it in compliance with current plans or not?'" said Councilwoman Jamie Torres, whose district includes a majority of the neighborhoods in the plan. "Making sure that we have the right kind of stakeholders and collective input now sets the stage for the future."

The end result will be something similar to the Far Northeast Area Plan approved by City Council last month.

The survey for the West Area Plan is available in English and Spanish, though senior city planner and project manager Eugene Howard said they could make the survey available in additional languages if they see a need. Joining Howard's team will be two bilingual city staffers who speak Spanish.

Together, they will go on walking tours of the six neighborhoods to get a better sense of the area.

"It's really important for the project team to understand the community," Howard said. "One of the first steps is having a community conversation ... to collect real-world information beyond numbers and stats."

Making the survey available in Spanish is crucial for these neighborhoods, which have been traditionally home to a large concentration of Latino and immigrant communities.

Torres, who formerly led the city's Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs, estimates the area includes about 30 to 40 percent immigrant residents who primarily speak Spanish.

"I think language access is going to be one thing that is going to determine the success of both integration and input process for this west Denver plan, because so many of the neighborhoods have residents that speak other languages," Torres said.

Torres said other languages spoken in households in the area include Vietnamese, as well as some Amharic, Arabic and Burmese because of refugee resettlement in the area.

According to the city's planning department, the area including the six neighborhoods has a population of 41,007 people and 12,560 housing units. It's home to Broncos Stadium and includes several key corridors like Federal Boulevard, Colfax Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard. Nearly 60 percent of the neighborhood is zoned residential.

Howard said the survey will be available through August. The city is planning on hosting its first community meeting on the plan in October, likely on a Saturday. Howard said they currently have an 18-month timeline for the plan, with December 2020 serving as their target completion date.

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