President’s Message – April 2023

It’s April!  Soon we will have warmer weather, the Upper Downtown planters will be colorful, and the red bud and pear trees will be blooming. 

Speaking of trees, Denver Parks and Recreation is developing Denver’s first Urban Forest Strategic Plan and it’s looking for feedback from Denver residents.  The purpose of the plan is to refine existing tree canopy goals, identify new goals, and provide a common and equitable vision for the future of the urban forest in Denver. Please take a few minutes to participate in a short survey at this survey.  Some interesting tree facts:  one 3” diameter tree reduces 30 lbs. of CO2, trees provide a 12% increase in income for businesses, it is 10 degrees cooler when walking under tree-canopied streets, there is a 60% reduction in particulates from car exhaust fumes on tree-lined streets, and there is a 12% decrease in crime with a 10% increase in tree canopy coverage.  UpDoNA’s newest committee, the Arts and Beautification Committee, is working to improve the Upper Downtown canopy.  If you’d like to help, please contact kerrypackard@updona.org.   

Please mark your calendars.  The Denver Police Department’s Community Safety Presentation has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 26th, at 5:00 p.m.  The presentation will discuss personal safety, protecting property, being a good witness, situational awareness, when to call the police, etc.  The presentation lasts approximately 30 minutes and will be followed by a question-and-answer period.  This will also give UpDoNA members a chance to meet our two new Resource Officers Knabe and Lieberson.  A Zoom link will be emailed one week before the presentation.

The Safety and Quality of Life Committee is now meeting regularly with Denver Fire Chief, Desmond Fulton.  During our first meeting we learned some very interesting facts about the Denver Fire Department.  Station 4 located at 1890 Lawrence is the busiest fire house in the entire country responding to 10,000 calls a year!  The Fire Department has two levels of response:  low acuity and high acuity.  Low acuity responses include situations such as someone experiencing a seizure, individuals sleeping in unsafe areas, elevator entrapment, etc.  In those responses, a medical unit along with required service representatives are sent.  High acuity responses include emergency situations such as cardiac arrest, traffic accidents, and fires.  Fire trucks are dispatched to high-acuity responses.  All Denver firemen are trained EMTs.  The DFD also has a co-responder team that reaches out to our unsheltered population to find out needs and to offer services.  Unfortunately, there has been an increase in high-acuity responses due to homeless encampment fires and injuries.  Most of these fires are caused by the use of highly combustible propane tanks.  Homeless encampments are filled with highly combustible materials.  When a propane tank explodes or catches on fire, it can wipe out an entire encampment.  In 2022, the DFP recovered more than 25,000 lbs. of propane tanks from the streets. 

Aloft Hotel Update:  During our monthly update meeting with HOST to discuss the status of Aloft residents, we learned that 40 men have been placed in housing, most in assisted-care facilities.  HOST is no longer accepting new residents into the facility.  The 92 remaining residents have completed the necessary Housing Intake Forms and are working with case managers.  In addition to arranging for housing, the case managers are helping the men apply for Medicaid.  Sabrina Allie, HOST Director of Communications, has requested state funds for additional housing vouchers.  HOST and the Salvation Army are required by the Marriott contract to have several floors vacated by mid April so that renovations can begin. 

We have reached out to HOST and the Salvation Army to find out if there is anything that the Aloft residents need to help them with their transition such as:  clothing, toiletries, etc.  We will send an email to UpDoNA members if we find out that we can help the residents in their transition.

Finally, Denver Transportation and Infrastructure is seeking applications from Denver residents interested in serving on a new Sidewalk Ordinance Task Force that will begin meeting this month.  Ordinance 307 was passed by voters in November 2002.  The ordinance shifted the responsibility for sidewalk construction, reconstruction, and repair in Denver from adjacent property owners to the city.  If you would like to be a member of the task force, please email DOTISidewalks@denvergov.org by Friday, April 7th and provide your name, address, and a statement about why you are interested in participating on the Sidewalk Task Force.  If you are selected, please let me know at lisapope@updona.org.

Have a wonderful spring!

Lisa L. Pope


Upper Downtown Neighborhood Association


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UpDoNA is a City Registered Neighborhood Organization representing the community of Denver’s Upper Downtown.

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