Politics

While most of the political leadership in Denver and Colorado support the I-70 East project and the preferred Partial Cover Lowered Alternative, there are outspoken critics of the process. The project is led by the Colorado Department of Transportation, and will primarily impact the northern part of the City of Denver. Though the Denver City Council has supported the I-70 East expansion project and Partial Cover Lowered Alternative, one criticism of this position is that many of the council members who participated in the decision are no longer in office. Mayor Michael Hancock joined with the Adams County and other regional leaders to support the preferred alternative for the project, citing outdated existing infrastructure and projected growth. Despite this official support, Mayor Hancock and the majority of the City Council members authored a letter to CDOT supporting the Elyria, Swansea and Globeville neighborhoods to express concern about these neighborhoods bearing most of the costs of this project. Hancock stated that “current proposals do not fully compensate for the impacts” to the affected neighborhood and promised the Department of Public Works will continue to engage with the community to address outstanding concerns.

Dennis Gallagher, a former Denver Auditor and a former State representative of the Globeville, Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods, has criticized the I-70 process, neighborhood impacts, and cost. Debbie Ortega, a Denver City Councilwoman at-large, has also been a vocal critic of the project. United North Metro Denver is a group opposed to the project, which advocates for the removal of the interstate, replacing it with a boulevard, and rerouting the highway along I-76 and I-270 around the neighborhood.

While most of the political leadership in Denver and Colorado support the I-70 East project and the preferred Partial Cover Lowered Alternative, there are outspoken critics of the process. The project is led by the Colorado Department of Transportation, and will primarily impact the northern part of the City of Denver. Though the Denver City Council has supported the I-70 East expansion project and Partial Cover Lowered Alternative, one criticism of this position is that many of the council members who participated in the decision are no longer in office. Mayor Michael Hancock joined with the Adams County and other regional leaders to support the preferred alternative for the project, citing outdated existing infrastructure and projected growth. Despite this official support, Mayor Hancock and the majority of the City Council members authored a letter to CDOT supporting the Elyria, Swansea and Globeville neighborhoods to express concern about these neighborhoods bearing most of the costs of this project. Hancock stated that “current proposals do not fully compensate for the impacts” to the affected neighborhood and promised the Department of Public Works will continue to engage with the community to address outstanding concerns.

Dennis Gallagher, a former Denver Auditor and a former State representative of the Globeville, Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods, has criticized the I-70 process, neighborhood impacts, and cost. Debbie Ortega, a Denver City Councilwoman at-large, has also been a vocal critic of the project. United North Metro Denver is a group opposed to the project, which advocates for the removal of the interstate, replacing it with a boulevard, and rerouting the highway along I-76 and I-270 around the neighborhood.


The National Western Center is located in the middle of the numerous changes being planned for north Denver and stands between Globeville and Elyria-Swansea. The promoters of the project are excited for the possibility of a "Silicon Valley of Agriculture" and "an anchor for commerce and entertainment in Denver." However, there are numerous people within the nearby communities and within Denver who have voiced concerns about the $1.1 billion project funded with a loan to Denver of $673 million. The total cost is still unknown, which could result in Denver taxpayers making up the difference on a bill of up to $2 billion.

North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative Executive Director Kelly Leid has acknowledged that North Denver neighborhoods have been neglected by the city in the past, saying that “Over the course of the last hundred years, a lot of promises have been made and not kept." There is some debate regarding the intended outcome of the investment. One of the major developers, Mickey Zeppelin, views the NWC investment as a significant economic stimulus for historically neglected neighborhoods. But Drew Dutcher of Elyria worries that the sudden flood of money could spark future development which would change the demographics of the neighborhoods. Judy Montero has recognized the nearby residents are concerned about gentrification offsetting any benefits for residents and has asked whether or not people are going to be able to stay in the neighborhood. Elyria resident and business owner Tom Anthony, who was evicted from the future NWC campus due to a zoning violation, believes that he was targeted because of his public opposition to the NWC.

In addition, City council members Debra Ortega and Rafael Espinoza have openly criticized Mayer Hancock for the use of a "lame duck" city council to approve major decisions. Much of the NDCC Plans were approved before the entrance of new City council members, like Ortega and Espinoza, who are less pro-development than their predecessors and who oppose components of the NDCC.  Espinoza says that "There's a game they're playing here.  The Mayor is shoving things through now because he knows it would be harder once we're in office." 

The National Western Center is located in the middle of the numerous changes being planned for north Denver and stands between Globeville and Elyria-Swansea. The promoters of the project are excited for the possibility of a "Silicon Valley of Agriculture" and "an anchor for commerce and entertainment in Denver." However, there are numerous people within the nearby communities and within Denver who have voiced concerns about the $1.1 billion project funded with a loan to Denver of $673 million. The total cost is still unknown, which could result in Denver taxpayers making up the difference on a bill of up to $2 billion.

North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative Executive Director Kelly Leid has acknowledged that North Denver neighborhoods have been neglected by the city in the past, saying that “Over the course of the last hundred years, a lot of promises have been made and not kept." There is some debate regarding the intended outcome of the investment. One of the major developers, Mickey Zeppelin, views the NWC investment as a significant economic stimulus for historically neglected neighborhoods. But Drew Dutcher of Elyria worries that the sudden flood of money could spark future development which would change the demographics of the neighborhoods. Judy Montero has recognized the nearby residents are concerned about gentrification offsetting any benefits for residents and has asked whether or not people are going to be able to stay in the neighborhood. Elyria resident and business owner Tom Anthony, who was evicted from the future NWC campus due to a zoning violation, believes that he was targeted because of his public opposition to the NWC.

In addition, City council members Debra Ortega and Rafael Espinoza have openly criticized Mayer Hancock for the use of a "lame duck" city council to approve major decisions. Much of the NDCC Plans were approved before the entrance of new City council members, like Ortega and Espinoza, who are less pro-development than their predecessors and who oppose components of the NDCC.  Espinoza says that "There's a game they're playing here.  The Mayor is shoving things through now because he knows it would be harder once we're in office." 


City government is primarily responsible for the redevelopment of Globeville and Elyria and Swansea. Neighborhood plans for both Globeville and Elyria and Swansea contain similar visions. Mayor Michael Hancock is a driving force for the redevelopment of these areas and staged his state of the city address at the Forney Museum in Globeville three years into his first term. These three neighborhoods are represented by: At-Large Councilwoman Robin Kniech, At-Large Councilwoman Debbie Ortega, District 9 Councilman Albus Brooks, House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran and Senate Minority leader Lucia Guzman.

City government is primarily responsible for the redevelopment of Globeville and Elyria and Swansea. Neighborhood plans for both Globeville and Elyria and Swansea contain similar visions. Mayor Michael Hancock is a driving force for the redevelopment of these areas and staged his state of the city address at the Forney Museum in Globeville three years into his first term. These three neighborhoods are represented by: At-Large Councilwoman Robin Kniech, At-Large Councilwoman Debbie Ortega, District 9 Councilman Albus Brooks, House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran and Senate Minority leader Lucia Guzman.


City government is primarily responsible for the redevelopment of Globeville/Elyria and Swansea. Neighborhood plans for both Globeville, Elyria and Swansea contain similar visions. Mayor Michael Hancock is a driving force for the redevelopment of these areas and staged his state of the city address at the Forney Museum in Globeville three years into his first term. Little to no investment into the community has taken place in decades. The new attention being paid in Elyria/Swansea is causing many to have much concern about gentrification.,,, The City and County of Denver is in charge of the neighborhood plan while the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is in charge of the I-70 expansion project. This project has created conflict in the community. The Colorado Public Interest Group (CoPRIG) has labeled the project a “boondoggle”and several community groups have joined together with the Sierra Club to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claiming that the agency made exceptions to the Clean Air Act in order for the project to win approval. These three neighborhoods are represented by: At-Large Councilwoman Robin Kniech, At-Large Councilwoman Debbie Ortega, District 9 Councilman Albus Brooks, House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran and Senate Minority leader Lucia Guzman.

City government is primarily responsible for the redevelopment of Globeville/Elyria and Swansea. Neighborhood plans for both Globeville, Elyria and Swansea contain similar visions. Mayor Michael Hancock is a driving force for the redevelopment of these areas and staged his state of the city address at the Forney Museum in Globeville three years into his first term. Little to no investment into the community has taken place in decades. The new attention being paid in Elyria/Swansea is causing many to have much concern about gentrification.,,, The City and County of Denver is in charge of the neighborhood plan while the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is in charge of the I-70 expansion project. This project has created conflict in the community. The Colorado Public Interest Group (CoPRIG) has labeled the project a “boondoggle”and several community groups have joined together with the Sierra Club to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claiming that the agency made exceptions to the Clean Air Act in order for the project to win approval. These three neighborhoods are represented by: At-Large Councilwoman Robin Kniech, At-Large Councilwoman Debbie Ortega, District 9 Councilman Albus Brooks, House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran and Senate Minority leader Lucia Guzman.


Brighton, as well as the larger RiNo District, are to be the entryway to downtown Denver from both I-70 and Denver International Airport, by way of the new A-Line rail, under the vision of the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative. A focus on mixed-use and pedestrian- and bike-friendly spaces is the major theme in both the Brighton and RiNo plans, and the position of the 38th and Blake railway station as perfectly located to serve this area is no coincidence, given the central role of the district within the larger NDCC project. As the last stop from DIA before Union Station via train, this part of town will offer visitors and returning residents their first real view of the downtown Denver area and, if successful, could provide an example for other districts in terms of integrating infrastructure, transportation, and cultural improvements in order to promote a healthy and safe mixed-use neighborhood for all types of people and businesses. In order to do this, however, it will have to adequately provide for the needs of bikers and pedestrians without compromising the viability of the Brighton corridor as a critical industrial transportation line. These two interrelated and adjacent projects seem to have met with very little direct opposition, apparent from the fact that new Business and General Improvement Districts have been formed by property and business owners in the area specifically to contribute to furthering the goals of these two projects. Because this area was formerly dominated by industrial business use, its planned transformation into a more usable, accessible, and friendly district has not been confronted with any significant stakeholder groups opposed to this change, other than the usual, and important, concerns about the potential for rising rents, or gentrification, of surrounding neighborhoods as the area becomes more popular. These concerns are well founded, however, and some fear that the same unique artistic presence that has helped developers capitalize on the area’s growing popularity might be one of the first victims of gentrification; the increasing presence of retail and upscale residential use can only serve to limit, more and more, the space that was previously affordable for artists.

Brighton, as well as the larger RiNo District, are to be the entryway to downtown Denver from both I-70 and Denver International Airport, by way of the new A-Line rail, under the vision of the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative. A focus on mixed-use and pedestrian- and bike-friendly spaces is the major theme in both the Brighton and RiNo plans, and the position of the 38th and Blake railway station as perfectly located to serve this area is no coincidence, given the central role of the district within the larger NDCC project. As the last stop from DIA before Union Station via train, this part of town will offer visitors and returning residents their first real view of the downtown Denver area and, if successful, could provide an example for other districts in terms of integrating infrastructure, transportation, and cultural improvements in order to promote a healthy and safe mixed-use neighborhood for all types of people and businesses. In order to do this, however, it will have to adequately provide for the needs of bikers and pedestrians without compromising the viability of the Brighton corridor as a critical industrial transportation line. These two interrelated and adjacent projects seem to have met with very little direct opposition, apparent from the fact that new Business and General Improvement Districts have been formed by property and business owners in the area specifically to contribute to furthering the goals of these two projects. Because this area was formerly dominated by industrial business use, its planned transformation into a more usable, accessible, and friendly district has not been confronted with any significant stakeholder groups opposed to this change, other than the usual, and important, concerns about the potential for rising rents, or gentrification, of surrounding neighborhoods as the area becomes more popular. These concerns are well founded, however, and some fear that the same unique artistic presence that has helped developers capitalize on the area’s growing popularity might be one of the first victims of gentrification; the increasing presence of retail and upscale residential use can only serve to limit, more and more, the space that was previously affordable for artists.


Brighton, as well as the larger RiNo District, are to be the entryway to downtown Denver from both I-70 and Denver International Airport, by way of the new A-Line rail, under the vision of the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative. A focus on mixed-use and pedestrian- and bike-friendly spaces is the major theme in both the Brighton and RiNo plans, and the position of the 38th and Blake railway station as perfectly located to serve this area is no coincidence, given the central role of the district within the larger NDCC project. As the last stop from DIA before Union Station via train, this part of town will offer visitors and returning residents their first real view of the downtown Denver area and, if successful, could provide an example for other districts in terms of integrating infrastructure, transportation, and cultural improvements in order to promote a healthy and safe mixed-use neighborhood for all types of people and businesses. In order to do this, however, it will have to adequately provide for the needs of bikers and pedestrians without compromising the viability of the Brighton corridor as a critical industrial transportation line. These two interrelated and adjacent projects seem to have met with very little direct opposition, apparent from the fact that new Business and General Improvement Districts have been formed by property and business owners in the area specifically to contribute to furthering the goals of these two projects. Because this area was formerly dominated by industrial business use, its planned transformation into a more usable, accessible, and friendly district has not been confronted with any significant stakeholder groups opposed to this change, other than the usual, and important, concerns about the potential for rising rents, or gentrification, of surrounding neighborhoods as the area becomes more popular. These concerns are well founded, however, and some fear that the same unique artistic presence that has helped developers capitalize on the area’s growing popularity might be one of the first victims of gentrification; the increasing presence of retail and upscale residential use can only serve to limit, more and more, the space that was previously affordable for artists.

Brighton, as well as the larger RiNo District, are to be the entryway to downtown Denver from both I-70 and Denver International Airport, by way of the new A-Line rail, under the vision of the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative. A focus on mixed-use and pedestrian- and bike-friendly spaces is the major theme in both the Brighton and RiNo plans, and the position of the 38th and Blake railway station as perfectly located to serve this area is no coincidence, given the central role of the district within the larger NDCC project. As the last stop from DIA before Union Station via train, this part of town will offer visitors and returning residents their first real view of the downtown Denver area and, if successful, could provide an example for other districts in terms of integrating infrastructure, transportation, and cultural improvements in order to promote a healthy and safe mixed-use neighborhood for all types of people and businesses. In order to do this, however, it will have to adequately provide for the needs of bikers and pedestrians without compromising the viability of the Brighton corridor as a critical industrial transportation line. These two interrelated and adjacent projects seem to have met with very little direct opposition, apparent from the fact that new Business and General Improvement Districts have been formed by property and business owners in the area specifically to contribute to furthering the goals of these two projects. Because this area was formerly dominated by industrial business use, its planned transformation into a more usable, accessible, and friendly district has not been confronted with any significant stakeholder groups opposed to this change, other than the usual, and important, concerns about the potential for rising rents, or gentrification, of surrounding neighborhoods as the area becomes more popular. These concerns are well founded, however, and some fear that the same unique artistic presence that has helped developers capitalize on the area’s growing popularity might be one of the first victims of gentrification; the increasing presence of retail and upscale residential use can only serve to limit, more and more, the space that was previously affordable for artists.


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