After three rounds of voting this month — and years of people advocating to remove the name — Stapleton residents have decided to rename their neighborhood Central Park.
Stapleton United Neighbors, the local registered neighborhood organization responsible for finding the new name, announced results from a final week of voting on Saturday. Central Park and Skyview were the finalists after three weeks of voting that started out with nine names in early July. Those nine names were narrowed down from an initial list of 331 suggestions. Central Park got 63 percent of the vote in the final round.
A decision to change the name came in June, sparked by ongoing protests against racism and police violence in the city and across the country. Even before then, advocates had long fought to drop the neighborhood’s name due to its connection to Benjamin F. Stapleton, a former Denver mayor who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. The neighborhood was built around the Stapleton Airport, which closed in 1995. Its control tower still stands tall in the neighborhood.
The new name comes from the park in the neighborhood, a massive green space that sits along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in far northeast Denver. It serves as a central point within the neighborhood, which is one of the reasons it was nominated by residents. In a short description of its nomination, it was called “non-controversial, natural and drama-less, which is what our community could use right now.”
Other finalists for the name included Concourse and Mosley, the latter of which would have honored John Mosley, a Tuskegee Airman from Denver who attended Manual High School, and his family.
State Senator Angela Williams, who lives in the neighborhood, spoke at the name change announcement on Saturday. “We’re saying here, in our neighborhood, that we don’t support racism. We don’t support social injustices. And we don’t support anything that is representative of that.
“And I believe that’s one of the first steps that many cities, many people, our neighbors, and in our state and country, that we have to take to move our country forward.”