President’s Message – March 2024

Springtime is almost here!  That means warmer weather and more outdoor activities in Upper Downtown.  This month, St. Patrick’s Day festivities begin.  Many Upper Downtown bars and restaurants are celebrating by hosting the Denver Luck of the Irish Bar Crawl and Block Parties.  To plan your “luck of the Irish” weekend, go to Visit Denver’s website using this link:  https://www.denver.org/things-to-do/fall-winter/festivals-events/st-patricks-day-weekend/

This spring, we should also see at least one block of the 16th Steet Mall reopen – Lawrence to Curtis.  That is great news for pedestrians and for businesses located on that block.  It’s one step closer to the mall being completed and open for business.

Unfortunately, businesses, especially restaurants, continue to struggle post pandemic due in large part to the lack of office workers downtown.  While downtown residents and visitors help, we can’t make up for the thousands of office workers who used to eat lunch and dinner daily in our restaurants.  In an effort to keep the office workers who are downtown, and convince others to return, UpDoNA is hosting a meeting between city leaders and the Building Owners and Managers Association (“BOMA”).  Guest speakers will include the mayor’s office, Chiefs of Police and RTD, Director of Safety, and representatives from the Downtown Denver Partnership.  BOMA represents over 90 million square feet of commercial space in Denver, 80% of which is downtown.  The meeting will provide an open dialogue between city leaders and building managers, owners, and office workers to discuss concerns such as safety, crime rates, RTD transit safety, and the future of the 16th Street Mall.  

UpDoNA is also providing an additional way for you to help support our businesses.  We are excited to announce that beginning this month, you are invited to an UpDoNA Night Out or “UNO!”  On the second Wednesday of every month, UpDoNA members and friends will have an opportunity to support a selected Upper Downtown business member and other restaurants and bars.  UNO’s are different from our more formal Social/Membership Events.  There is no need to rsvp; you just show up and support the business.  UNO’s will be scheduled during happy hours so that members benefit from happy hour pricing on food and drinks.   First up, Fortissimo Dueling Pianos, 891 14th Street, Wednesday, March 13th, starting at 5:30 p.m.  Please visit our events page for all future UNOs at:  https://updona.org/event/  When supporting a business, please let them know that you are an UpDoNA member!

Police Advisory BoardCity council members Amanda Sandoval and Jamie Torres are proposing a change to the language of an existing city charter that would allow noncitizens to become Denver police officers and firefighters.  Noncitizens include legal, permanent residents and DACA recipients.  In most other departments, including the sheriff’s department, noncitizens are allowed to work.   Chief Thomas is in favor of the proposed change.   If approved, it would allow for more diversity in the Denver Police Department and could help with recruitment efforts.  

As you know, migrants, now referred to as newcomers, have arrived in Denver.  But what you might not know is that newcomers are victims of crime including wage theft, human trafficking, and labor trafficking.  The Denver Police Department is working closely with the Human Trafficking Unit, Major Narcotics, District and City Attorneys’ offices, and shelters to train staff and to get informational flyers to newcomers to prevent these crimes.  

Upcoming Denver District Attorney Election:  UpDoNA is partnering once again with LoDoNA to host a candidate debate for the upcoming election for District Attorney.  The District Attorney election is very important for the safety of Denver, especially downtown.  Currently, there are three democratic candidates:  former U.S. Attorney John Walsh, Leora Joseph, and Lisi Owens.  The Election Committee is still in the planning process, but the debate will mostly likely be held at the end of April.  Watch your emails from UpDoNA for more information,  

Ambassador Program:  Thanks to everyone who has volunteered for the Ambassador Program a/k/a Yellow Vest Program.  Almost 30 UpDoNA members have signed up to help with the mayor’s initiative to keep downtown clean and safe.   Ambassadors will be provided yellow vests and will report issues such as graffiti, trash, and safety using the Clean and Safe App.  Ambassadors will also be available to answer tourist and visitor questions.  Ryan Ertman, Director of Safety and Security at DDP, is working with the city attorney’s office and others to finalize the training program.  Once completed, UpDoNA volunteers will get to work.  If you are interested in becoming an Ambassador, please email Rob Squire at robsquire@updona.org.

As always, thanks for your support!  I’ll talk to you again in April.

Lisa L. Pope


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