District 3 Denver City Council race: who’s running and what you need to know about the district

Council president Jamie Torres is running unopposed for the westside district.
3 min. read
JWLC Mendoza’s mural on the side of Morrison Road’s Re:Vision co-op building. Sept. 22, 2021.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Denver's District 3 covers west Denver, which includes the neighborhoods Auraria, Barnum, Barnum West, Lincoln Park, Mar Lee, Sun Valley, Valverde, Villa Park, West Colfax and Westwood. During redistricting last year, Auraria, Valverde and a portion of West Colfax were added to the district.

City Council District 3.
Data Source: Denver Elections Di

Who's running?

Council president Jamie Torres represents the district and is running for reelection unopposed. Torres said there's some relief in not having someone to run against, but her goals for the area remain the same: more housing and more community investment.

"There are a number of things I think that have been really powerful in affordable housing in the district," Torres said. "You have to be willing to have a conversation about a project and understand what they're building and who they're building it for and I take that opportunity to talk about the district's dynamic, what they should know about it and that they can't just parachute into a project and walk away from it."

What's going on in the district?

Torres said her district should be expecting some changes over the next few years in terms of housing with the Denver Housing Authority's redevelopment of Sun Valley, the proposed development around Empower Field at Mile High in the Sun Valley neighborhood and the proposed development of Ball Arena, which would affect the Auraria neighborhood.

The Sun Valley Youth Center on Decatur Street. Nov. 16, 2022.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

With those changes comes the threat of displacement and gentrification, issues the area has been fighting for years, but Torres said holding developers accountable by explaining the dynamics of the neighborhood and ensuring there is open communication between developers and community members is vital.

With the Sun Valley redevelopment, the two completed buildings house 187 units, with 34 being rented at market value, 70 units saved for returning residents and the remaining priced for those making below 60% area median income. Other recent affordable projects include Avenida Del Sol and Terraza del Sol, both in Westwood.

"La Alma" mural on the walls of the La Alma Recreation Center on Sept. 1, 2020, in the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Denver. (Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

Also in the works is a new library and recreation center in Westwood. Westwood currently has a branch on S. Lowell Boulevard but at about 900 square feet, it's the tiniest branch in the Denver Public Library's system. Through bond-funding passed in 2017 and 2021, DPL will create a bigger and better branch.

DPL is partnering with Lifespan Local, a Southwest Denver community service group, to open the new branch at the site of the old Redeemer Lutheran Church on the corner of W. Nevada and S. Irving.

Lifespan purchased the church in 2021 and intends to turn it into a community hub, featuring an early education center, a community kitchen, mental health services and a law clinic.

Torres said a recreation center has been a desire of the Westwood neighborhood for years. It's currently in the design phase and is expected to open on Morrison Road near the Denver Indian Center in about two years.

"I am continuing to go full speed ahead on infrastructure and facility investment throughout the district," Torres said. "We don't let up the gas on making sure neighborhoods have rec centers, libraries, modern facilities and equipment for all of our needs."

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