On October 19th, Valerie Herrera, with the City and County of Denver’s Community Planning and Development Department, and Fernando Abbud ,with Planning and Design, volunteered with Extreme Community Makeover. It was a beautiful day for our last Saturday Work Day of the season.
“We decided to volunteer with ECM because the projects proposed were within our West Area Planning Boundary and we as team members of the initiative are always looking for “boots on the ground” opportunities to connect with our community members and enhance or beautify public spaces. The City and County of Denver’s Community Planning and Development Department is currently in the process of creating a neighborhood plan for the neighborhoods of Barnum, Barnum West, Sun Valley, Valverde, Villa Park, and West Colfax,” explains Valerie.
Valerie and Fernando were assigned to clean up some alleys in the neighborhood. They cleared out trash, weeds, and other types of debris that accumulated in the alleyways.
“This experience helped us to understand the make-up of different architectural styles of homes, public rights-of way (including alleys), and public spaces that enhance the feel of a neighborhood. We were also able to talk to a few residents and gain feedback for our planning efforts while building connections and trust with the community,” says Valerie.
This type of work is highly crucial for Denver’s city planners to engage with the community, understand the existing conditions of an area, and help inform and prioritize their recommendations for the neighborhood plans.
Valerie hopes that Denver’s housing market will cool down and open up opportunity for people to be able to afford living in Denver. Affordable housing and displacement are at the forefront of their discussions for the city of Denver.
“Denver is unique and extra special for many reasons. In no particular order, you have the Rocky Mountains, every major league team you could imaging, a light rail and commuter train, lots of outdoor recreational opportunities, and breweries and restaurants galore,” Valerie exclaims.
Valerie is also thankful for Extreme Community Makeover. “ECM is particularly unique because of the tremendous efforts being done every year for communities that really need the assistance,” says Valerie.
For anyone that lives, works, plays, and goes to school in any of the above mentioned Denver neighborhoods, the planning team would like to invite you to their next big public meeting and housing resource fair. This meeting will be housing focused and they would like to engage and inform community members about how they can get involved and provide their voice. The meeting details are as follows:
West Area Plan Public Meeting #2 & Housing Resource Fair
Tuesday, January 14, 2020 from 5:30-7:30 pm
Lake Middle School – 1820 Lowell Boulevard, Denver, 80204
Backup Weather Date: Tuesday, January 28, 2020