Denver urban neighborhoods are full of hidden gems. Once vibrant places have rich history of streetcars, local commerce and community activities. But many of those places have lost their splendor in the last half century when attention shifted to more car-oriented shopping and dining developments. Better Block is a project designed to rediscover hidden potential of neighborhood commercial districts.
A coalition of local non-profits, volunteers, businesses and civic leaders are joining forces in an effort to restore vibrancy to one Denver community starting with the transformation of one city block. The project is called “Better Block Jefferson Park” and is modeled after the Better Block initiative started in Dallas two years ago.
“Better Block Jefferson Park” is a joint collaboration of WalkDenver, JPUN (Jefferson Park United Neighbors),Groundwork Denver, Federal Boulevard Partnership, Create Denver , LiveWell Colorado, and many local businesses and residents.
The project aims to create temporary, quick, inexpensive and high-impact changes that start to cast a vision and lead to permanent solutions for attracting economic development and revitalizing neighborhoods throughout Denver. For one day a historic block in the Denver Highlands neighborhood of Jefferson Park, will be sprinkled with inviting shade trees, flowers and pedestrian benches. Boarded up, forgotten storefronts will be transformed into unique pop-up shops showcasing local artists creating a new dynamic street life that rewards the pedestrian stroll.
On June 23rd from 10AM to 8PM, West 25th Avenue between Federal Boulevard and Eliot Street will be transformed into a vibrant “Living Street”. Living Street is a holistic approach to street design and a new Denver initiative that looks at streets as public spaces, not just traffic corridors. As former Denver Planning Director Peter Park said “We’re changing the conversation from talking about roads for vehicles or cars to making streets for living.”
During the event, 25th Avenue will receive a temporary makeover starting with a mural painting at the intersection of 25th and Eliot. This will serve as a visual reminder of the street as a shared space among cars and pedestrians as well as an indicator to drivers to slow down and expect pedestrians on this neighborhood street.
There will be official remarks from 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM from Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Councilwoman Susan K. Shepard and Paul Washington of the Office of Economic Development.
With live music, fresh produce, arts and crafts, landscaping and an interactive art project, the demonstration could easily be mistaken for a street festival however, attendees will realize it’s much more than that. It’s about a community reclaiming our streets.
The event is free and open to the public. Neighbors, Realtors, city officials, planners, economic development professionals, artists and anyone interested in seeing how a block and a community can be transformed are encouraged to attend. How will you make a difference in your community?
Better Block Jefferson Park is a coalition of local non-profit organizations and other professionals. For more information, visit our website http://betterblockjp.org/ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BetterBlockJP and event page https://www.facebook.com/events/322912874445165/