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Some Denver neighborhoods considering taking public improvements into their own hands

Author: Adam McCoy - November 14, 2017 - Updated: November 13, 2017

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Denver’s Athmar Park neighborhood: Paying its own way. (athmarpark.com)

While much of Denver has been undergoing a facelift of sorts for some time, enjoying (or not enjoying) booming development and investment in new infrastructure, some southwest city neighborhoods feel left behind.

Denverite’s Andrew Kenney wrote last week about a stretch of Denver, largely constructed in the 1950s and 60s, that feel caught in limbo. They don’t have many of the amenities new subdivisions enjoy and have missed out on investment. However, they are ready to take funding improvements like new sidewalks into their own hands. In fact, Denver Councilman Jolon Clark and community leaders are spearheading a plan which would bring millions to the area.

As Clark discovered, a lot of the money pouring into projects around the city doesn’t actually come from the city.

It often comes from the districts — pseudo-governmental organizations organized as business improvement districts or general improvement districts that collect extra property taxes. They’ve multiplied in Denver lately. The largest have budgets approaching $1 million per year, and they’re using it to take out tens of millions in debt for everything from sidewalks to marketing.

Those unique pseudo-governmental organization aren’t so unique afterall. They’ve been created in other neighborhoods like Stapleton and Five Points, among others, Kenney reports.

Clark is working with the Athmar Park Neighborhood Association, which has already hired a consultant to help plan for a potential district. Kenney writes while the plan could bring millions to the neighborhood, it would also ask for about $60 per households and require a vote from residents to create a district.

Read Kenney’s full story here.

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.


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