President’s Message – January 2024

It’s a new year – 2024!  UpDoNA will continue to work to ensure that Upper Downtown is a vibrant and safe place for everyone.  Our mission after all is to make Upper Downtown one of the most sought-after neighborhoods for residents, businesses, and visitors.   I believe that we are well on our way.  Upper Downtown is a very exciting place to be!

On Thursday, December 14th, Mayor Johnston, Councilman Hinds, and others cut the blue ribbon officially opening the Colorado Convention Center Expansion.   The expansion includes an 80,000 sq. ft. rooftop Bluebird ballroom with an outdoor terrace. The new ballroom has already been booked with $200 million worth of events.  The city is estimating that the new expansion space will increase the convention center’s economic impact on the city by $85 million a year, which includes hotels, meals purchased at restaurants, and other consumer spending. 

Upper Downtown will have several new businesses opening in 2024 including Leven Deli at 15th and California, Olive and Finch in DCPA, Trompeau Bakery at 16th and Curtis, Dozens Restaurant at 14th and Court, the Populus Hotel at 14th and Colfax, 99 Bottles and 4 Play Whiskey & Tequila at 15th and Champa, Done Deal in Republic Plaza, HashTAG at 17th and Arapahoe, we have a new pop up, Ana’s Norwegian Bakery, located next to the new Mexican restaurant Casa Tequilas, the newly-opened La Diabla Night Club at 15th and Curtis, and several blocks of the 16th Street Mall will be completed with a new tree canopy, outdoor gathering spots, and more.

UpDoNA’s Arts and Beautification Committee is working on some very exciting projects for the new year.  AND THE ARTS & BEAUTIFICATION COMMITTEE WAS JUST AWARDED A $25,000 GRANT FROM MAYOR JOHNSTON’S DYNAMIC DENVER GRANT PROGRAM! Congratulations to Sal Tripodi and all members of the Arts & Beautification Committee!  If art and beautification interest you and you’d like to be part of the excitement, please contact Sal Tripodi at saltripodi@updona.org and/or Kerry Packard, at packark5@gmail.com.

We have been monitoring and working closely with DPD and the Mayor’s office re the very large encampment surrounding the Post Office.  On Thursday, December 21st, the last of the large encampment was removed.  That encampment stretched from 20th and Broadway and California to Curtis Streets and beyond.  All the unhoused were moved to either hotels or other types of shelter.  A group of UpDoNA members helped Mayor Johnston in his Housing 1,000 initiative by inspecting and preparing hotel rooms and by setting up an intake area and kitchen at a hotel.  Please watch for another opportunity to help the newly housed by donating needed clothing.  You can also sign up to assist with additional move ins at hotels and micro communities at House 1000 Move-in Days | Spark the Change Colorado (galaxydigital.com)   Dates in the new year will be listed soon.

Police Advisory Board

At this month’s Police Advisory Board Meeting (“PAB”), we discussed the use of drones as first responders.  If approved, DPD plans to start a drone program in approximately six months.  Chief Thomas and others in DPD are looking at the highly successful Chula Vista, CA drone program for guidance.  

A drone program would have four main missions:  1) reduce response times, 2) conserve police patrol resources, 3) provide information to responding officers, and 4) search and locate, e.g., missing children, Alzheimer’s patients, etc.  

Interestingly, the top ten languages, other than English, spoken in Denver are:  Spanish, Farsi, Vietnamese, ASL, Russian, Arabic, Nepalese, Mandarin, Burmese, and French.  To help police officers better communicate with those who have limited English proficiency, DPD has a Language Access Policy and Plan.  Currently DPD has 148 bilingual police officers.  Officers must be recertified every five years.  DPD officers also have access to two apps that give them access to an interpreter within 10 seconds!

Newly arriving Migrants:  When you walk down the 16th Street Mall, you have no doubt noticed migrant families asking for help outside of businesses and restaurants.  With more than 200 migrants from different countries arriving in Denver daily, it is not always easy to communicate with them or to read their signs asking for help.  There are several steps that you can take to help these families:  1) use Google Translate to communicate, 2) look for assistance from Allied Security personnel, and/or police officers (many security personnel and police officers are bilingual), or 3) call the non-emergency number, 720-913-2000.  If you can communicate, please tell them that the city has an Intake and Reception Center to help them located at 3815 Steele Street.  The Intake center is the first connection point to resources and services.  There is also a resource website you can refer them to which has lots of resource information listed in Spanish.  The link is: 


Thanks to all our members and volunteers for making 2023 a great year!  Let’s keep it going in 2024! 

Lisa L. Pope, UpDoNA President

Thumbnail attribution – Lisa Pope

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

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