Stapleton Recreation Center is getting a new, not-Stapleton name

Denver Parks & Recreation decided to remove the name of former mayor and KKK member Benjamin Stapleton in response to community requests.

Outside the Stapleton Recreation Center in Globeville on Thursday, August 15, 2019, in Denver. (Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

Outside the Stapleton Recreation Center in Globeville on Thursday, August 15, 2019, in Denver. (Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Denver Parks & Recreation will change the Stapleton Recreation Center’s name in response to community recommendations.

It’s the latest attempt to remove the Stapleton name from a building or area in the city. The name comes from former Denver Mayor Benjamin Stapleton, who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. The topic of removing the name has sprung up over the past few years and led to name changes as advocates called attention to its connection to the city’s racist past.

Parks & Rec spokeswoman Cyndi Karvaski said renaming the rec center, which is in Globeville, was brought up during Wednesday’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Board Meeting.

Jeff Fard of Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center brought up the topic during the meeting’s public comment portion. He delivered a formal letter supporting the change to Parks & Rec Director Happy Haynes.

Karvaski confirmed Haynes is “committed” to the name change.

Karvaski said changing the name has been discussed for some time, but the department hasn’t formally started exploring the process until now. She said the process needs to be worked out but it will include community input. It will also help determine a new name for the facility.

The rec center is operated by the city but is owned by the Denver Housing Authority. DHA spokesperson Stella Madrid said they would work with the city to explore a name change. Madrid said DHA is not opposed to a name change and has “no vested interested” in keeping Stapleton in the name.

The neighborhood bearing Stapleton’s name last month wrapped up a neighborhood-wide vote on whether to rename the area. The results should be available next week.

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