The group responsible for choosing Stapleton’s new neighborhood name will meet three times this week as they begin to whittle down more than 300 suggested names to a shortlist of eight.
Stapleton United Neighbors President Amanda Allshouse said the advisory board will meet every day from Tuesday to Thursday as they start the process of reviewing the community-suggested names for Stapleton.
SUN is the registered neighborhood association and was tapped by Stapleton’s Master Community Association community delegates, which represent different parts of the neighborhood, to work with the MCA to come up with a new name. The MCA oversees the neighborhood’s maintenance.
Delegates voted last month to move forward with changing the neighborhood’s name. The shift comes after decades of calls to remove the name due to its namesake, former Denver Mayor Benjamin Stapleton, who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Stapleton served as mayor over two periods starting in the 1920s and 1930s. The neighborhood got its name from the former Stapleton Airport, which closed in 1995. The former airport’s tower still looms tall over the neighborhood.
Allshouse said the advisory board’s goal will be to help narrow the list down by providing a shortlist of eight finalists. They aim to a new name announced by August 1. Allshouse said the meetings will include a facilitator, who has suggested narrowing the list to eight, though she added they could end up picking 16. The facilitator is under contract with the city.
“What we’re asking to come out of this is a description or a justification for each name that emerges, and preparing that package for each name,” Allshouse said. They will create one-page summaries for each finalist.
SUN closed the second round of a straw poll for names on Sunday night, after getting 331 suggested names for the neighborhood during the first round that ended June 29. SUN has already broken down the 331 names into 16 categories, including aviation (which received the most suggestions), Denver or Colorado figures, elected officials, national figures, options drawing from existing names, directional names and nature-rooted names.
The advisory board will see the results from both straw polls to consider the final name suggestions. Allshouse said they got more than 2,000 responses in the first poll and 3,000 in the second (she notes there may have been some overlap between the two).
Once the advisory board narrows down the list this week, the public will get a chance to start voting on the options as soon as next week. The voting will continue over the next few weeks until a final name is chosen and announced. Allshouse said they’re still figuring out how the voting process will work.
The advisory board will include:
- two SUN board members
- two MCA delegates
- three students from the three local high schools (though they only count for one vote, so they’re counted as “one” representative)
- one representative from Black Lives Matter 5280
- one representative from the neighborhood’s Citizen Advisory Board
- one representative from Councilman Chris Herndon’s office
- one representative from the Indigenous community
- one representative from the Greater Stapleton Business Association
- one representative from Rename St*pleton for All
Allshouse said the meetings will include the facilitator. The meetings won’t be public, which was one of the suggestions Allshouse said was made by the facilitator. The meetings will be held over video chat. The names of the advisory board members weren’t immediately available on Monday.
Dr. Apryl Alexander of Black Lives Matter 5280 said they have been working on the renaming efforts for the last five years. BLM 5280 is still figuring out who will represent them in the advisory board.
“We are just hoping to have … some oversight of the process,” Alexander said, adding Black and Indigenous voices are an important part of the conversation. “We just want to make sure that those voices are heard when considering those new names.”
Cora Galpern was chosen by Rename St*pleton for All to represent the group on the advisory board. The group has been vocal about changing the neighborhood’s name since its founding in 2017.
“We’re super excited that the name is changing,” Galpern said. “We’ve been happy with the representation. We were really happy to see that they involved more students.”
Other non-voting members that will be participating on the call will be Allshouse, the facilitator, an additional MCA member and a teacher from DSST: Montview High School. That school voted to change its name last year to remove Stapleton.
The three students in the advisory board will be from DSST: Conservatory Green High School, DSST: Montview High School and Northfield High School.