President’s Message – February 2024

Upper Downtown Restart! – Mayor Johnston met his goal of Housing1000 and currently there are no encampments in downtown.  Now the work begins to revitalize Upper Downtown.  One of the most important things that we need to tackle is the perception that downtown Denver is not a clean or safe place.  UpDoNA will be focused on changing that perception and working with the city to revitalize downtown, Upper Downtown in particular.  However, we need help from our members!  Talk to your friends, family, and anyone who will listen to you that Upper Downtown is a clean and safe place to live, work, and play.  Remind them of all the wonderful things to do in downtown.  Let’s work together to revitalize Upper Downtown!

I’ve mentioned before that the mayor, city council, and other city leaders are focused on the revitalization of downtown.  Mayor Johnston, working with Downtown Denver Partnership (“DDP”), previously announced the Dynamic Downtown Denver Grant Program for activation events with $350,000 available.  Now, Mayor Johnston, working with DDP, has announced the Denver Ambassador Program to help revitalize downtown.  Like us, Mayor Johnston wants a safe, clean, and beautiful downtown.  The Denver Ambassador Program will unify DDP, city employees, nonprofits, private security, and the police when responding to non-emergent health and safety issues.  When someone reports a problem using DDP’s Clean and Safe app, a dispatch team will identify the best organization to respond.  There will also be other downtown representatives including businesses, building security teams, and individual volunteers wearing city-issued yellow vests making them easily identifiable for anyone needing assistance.  When you see a person wearing a yellow vest, you know that person can help you.

We all know that the 16th Street Mall project can’t be completed soon enough.  The recent approval of a noise variance will help.  On Thursday, January 11th, the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment unanimously approved a noise variance hearing for the 16th Street Mall Project clearing the way for night work.  PCL Construction requested that it be able to conduct night work so that it can optimize time frames for things such as temperatures for tree planting, improving safety for motorists utilizing cross streets, and reducing disruptions to businesses.   Seven days’ notice will be given to hotels, residential buildings, and others before night work begins.   To keep within required noise restrictions, jack hammers, concrete saws, demo saws, and back up alarms will be not used.  Nighttime work is expected to begin as early as this month. 

Once completed, the 16th Street Mall will become a destination spot and its features will surely help to activate downtown.  In addition to new pavers and many more trees, there will be new gathering spots with shaded structures, interactive features for kids and for those of you who are still a kid at heart, and there will be “Moments of Joy” worthy of selfies.  Please visit the Downtown Denver Partnership website for more information about the 16th Street Mall’s “New Look.”  https://www.denvergov.org/Government/Agencies-Departments-Offices/Agencies-Departments-Offices-Directory/Department-of-Transportation-and-Infrastructure/Programs-Services/Projects/16th-Street-Mall#section-4

THANKS to everyone for your generosity in donating needed items for the UpDoNA Cares’ Housing1000 Clothing Drive.  A special thank you to UpDoNA members Helen Hedrick, Ron Townsend, Carolyn Benton, Deby Schwartz, Gil Vondrasek, and Teri Ososkie for their tireless work in coordinating, sorting, and delivering 133 bags full of donations.  UpDoNA members and volunteers are amazing!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lisa L. Pope, UpDoNA President

Thumbnail attribution – Lisa Pope

Previous House1000 Initiative is Showing Positive Results
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UpDoNA is a City Registered Neighborhood Organization representing the community of Denver’s Upper Downtown.

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