President’s Message – March 2023

Spring is just around the corner!   Soon we will be able to enjoy dinners on restaurant patios, baseball games at Coors Field, and outdoor concerts. 

Speaking of the outdoors, our new Arts and Beautification Committee is ready to get to work.  Sal Tripodi will continue meeting with various city agencies to determine how art installations are acquired and maintained in Upper Downtown.  Kerry Packard will be working with the city to replace dead trees.  Sal is looking for volunteers for his committee, so if you love art, and who doesn’t, please sign up to be a volunteer.  Let’s beautify our neighborhood!  Please contact Sal at saltripodi@updona.org.

Thanks to everyone who attended the District 10 Candidate Forum on Thursday, 2/16.  The candidates were asked several questions ranging from homelessness to revitalizing downtown.  It was a great opportunity for everyone to get to know the candidates and to hear their plans for tackling the issues facing downtown.  Thanks to all the volunteers who worked so hard to ensure that this Candidate Forum was a huge success!  Former City Councilman Albus Brooks did an amazing job of moderating.  A special thank you to Home2 Suites and its management team for providing the meeting space and for being so attentive during the event.  Please remember Home2 Suites for your out-of-town guests or for your meeting space needs.  If you were unable to attend, you can watch the debate on UpDoNA’s new YouTube Channel –  https://youtu.be/BKTtjoT-Iwg

Reminder:  ballots will be mailed on 3/13/23 and Election Day is 4/4/23.  If one candidate does not receive more than 50% of the votes, then a runoff election will be held on 6/6.

Hopefully everyone is familiar with Mayor Hancock’s Together We Will initiative.  Recently, Rob Squire and I attended a three-part series discussing the united efforts to address public health and safety in Downtown Denver.  Guest speakers included RTD Deputy Chief Steve Martingano, Commander Kimberly Bowser DPD, Director Armanda Saldate, Dept. of Safety, and City Attorney, Kerry Tipper.  Ryan Ertman, DDP Director of Safety and Security, made the following report:  36,964 square feet of graffiti has been painted, 2,505 square feet of power washing has been completed, 182 arrests/summons were made, 506 contacts with the unsheltered have been made, eight of those have been connected with services or reunited with family.  Director Saldate discussed the grand opening of the Assessment, Intake, Diversion (AIDs) center which provides services such as mental health clinicians, Veteran services, job training, IDs, etc.  Anyone is welcome to schedule a tour of the facility located near 14th and Elati Streets.  Commander Bowser stressed that downtown residents need to remain vigilant, walk in pairs, and stay in well-lit areas.  Deputy Chief Martingano reported that RTD is hiring more officers, using grant money to hire homeless outreach coordinators, and stated that RTD officers can now issue citations.

On a very sad note, RTD Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald’s son, Christopher, a police officer at Temple University, was killed in the line of duty on 2/18/23.  He leaves behind a wife and four young children.  UpDoNA has sent its condolences to Chief Fitzgerald. 

Aloft Update:   Sabrina Allie, HOST Director of Communications, stated that the Salvation Army is continuing to make arrangements for residents of Aloft to be moved into appropriate housing.  Most residents are being placed in nursing facilities to receive daily care; others are being given housing vouchers that can be used at city-purchased hotels.  Most of the moves will occur during March and April.  Sabrina was asked if UpDoNA members can provide anything for the men being rehoused.  If help is needed, we will coordinate donations for the Aloft residents.

The Community Safety Presentation that had to be cancelled in February, is rescheduled for April.  Details will be forthcoming. 

UpDoNA is looking for volunteers to help plan and organize a National Night Out.  For those of you not familiar with National Night Out, it is an opportunity to build relationships with Denver Police Officers, Denver Fire Department, RTD officers, Allied Security, and DDP Purple People as they are affectionately called. These events are held in neighborhoods throughout the United States.   Please email me at lisapope@updona.org if you can help UpDoNA plan and organize an event for Upper Downtown and for those who protect us.

Lisa L. Pope


Upper Downtown Neighborhood Association

Previous UpDoNA Cares Committee February Update
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UpDoNA is a City Registered Neighborhood Organization representing the community of Denver’s Upper Downtown.

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