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DENVER CITYCRAFT !

A collaborative effort towards a long term collective impact approach for restoring the economic, environmental, social health of Denver.

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CityCrafting Phase 1 Observations DRAFT July 2014


CityCraft Core Beliefs: Long Term Standards by Which We Exist and Operate!

! Shared Vision - The vision and success for community comes from within the community itself.! ! Collaboration - Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination and integration.! !

Embedded Capital - The greatest source of capital for urban revitalization already exists within a community.!

! Appropriate Scale - Take an integrated approach that results in a scale that takes in all interactions.! ! Openness and Transparency - Continuous measurement, research and accountability.! !

Sustainability - Success requires an approach that addresses the long term economic, social, and environmental health of our cities.!

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Resiliency - Building local capacity and empowerment through targeted career development resulting in wealth creation that is reinvested locally.!

Table of Contents

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Executive Summary ! ! ! ! Core Strategies ! ! ! ! Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas ! Appendix ! ! ! ! !

p 3 - !9 ! p 10 - 14! p 15 - 28! p 29 - 63

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Š 2014 CityCraft Ventures! 2120 Noisette Blvd., Suite 108 B! N Charleston SC, 29405

DRAFT Denver CityCraft Phase 1

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Section 1 - Executive Summary

Executive Summary CityCraft partnered with The City and County of Denver, The Gates Family Foundation, The Denver Housing Authority, The Denver Foundation and Enterprise Community Partners (“Denver CityCraft Group” or “DCCG”) to assess the potential for West Denver (target area) to be a model for sustainable and resilient urban regeneration. Utilizing the CityCrafting process, the DCCG is bringing together a broad group of stakeholders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to focus on regenerating and restoring the social, economic and environmental systems. Intrinsic to this process is a commitment to holistic, integrated thinking and a focus on long term decisionmaking.!

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The CityCrafting process is composed of three main phases: ! 1. a forensic discovery effort where data and information is collected to assess current conditions at the systems-level scale and to understand how those conditions came to be! 2. involves the processing of information collected during the discovery phase to connect the dots and provide integration recommendations to strategically address the issues uncovered! 3. represents the implementation phase of the process!

The discovery phase began in February 2014 with a review of relevant plans and studies for West Denver and the Sun Valley neighborhood. CityCraft identified and collected readily available information, requested information from the DCCG and related groups and conducted a series of meetings and interviews to expand the understanding of the target area’s environmental, economic, and social systems. A list of meeting participants and documents reviewed is included in Exhibits A and B respectively. !

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The following document summarizes the Phase 1 observations and introduces examples of emerging integration ideas to restore the long term economic, social and environmental health of the target area. The emerging ideas provide a starting point for moving forward with Phase 2. Contributors to this report as a part of the CityCraft team include Biohabitats, Cityvolve and The CityCraft Foundation.!

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Section 1 - Executive Summary

Summary of Observations The City of Denver and the Denver Housing Authority have made the revitalization of Sun Valley and the greater West Denver area a priority. The commitment is demonstrated by a number of recently completed, high quality plans and studies. The research required to create the plans and studies provides a strong foundation of data, metrics and ideas to construct a comprehensive revitalization strategy. CityCraft partnered with the DCCG to apply its CityCrafting process to Sun Valley and, if appropriate, surrounding neighborhoods. !

Despite its close proximity to the downtown central business district, Sun Valley, and some of its adjacent neighborhoods are isolated, both physically and psychologically. Contributing to the isolation is the lack of road connectivity, the South Platte River/ gulches and post-industrial sites. Further, the large parking lots surrounding Mile High Stadium have created a void of activity and investment. Sun Valley and areas of West Denver share a mix of socio-economic challenges and opportunities compared to the rest of Denver including the following:!

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High percentage of population under the age of 18! Low income levels compared to Denver median! High levels of unemployment! High percentage of immigrant population!

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Section 1 - Executive Summary

The aforementioned challenges have contributed to little private investment occurring within the West Denver neighborhoods—a problem that is especially acute in Sun Valley and south of 16th Avenue. At the same time, many leaders in the affordable housing world are concerned about gentrification and rising home prices in Denver. The Highlands neighborhood is currently experiencing rapid gentrification that is beginning to flow south across West Colfax Boulevard. Therefore, a paradox arises where there is a desperate need for investment, but a palpable concern about long term affordable housing.!

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During Phase 1, CityCraft identified critical issues that were continually encountered:! • Access to Healthy Food and Lifestyle! • Affordable Housing! • Connectivity! • Cradle to Career and Adult Education! • Infrastructure Funding Gaps! • Workforce Training and Local Job/ Career Creation!

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Additionally, CityCraft identified a wealth of strengths and existing assets:! • Mosaic of Cultures e.g. History of Chicano activism and Hispanic Heritage, Vietnamese, Somali! • Location e.g. Proximity to downtown, transit, Auraria Campus, S. Platte River, highways! • Young Population e.g. 21,000 under the age of 18 & 38,000 under age of 34! • Natural Systems e.g. Gulches, South Platte River! • Previous and Ongoing Efforts e.g. Station Area Plan, wide variety of community groups!

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Looking Beyond Sun Valley A significant amount of attention has been focused on the Sun Valley neighborhood since it represents a relatively large area of under utilized land along the South Platte River that is controlled by several land owners. The Decatur Federal Station Area Plan (SAP) is specifically focused on Sun Valley. After reviewing Sun Valley related plans and conducting its Phase 1 research, CityCraft selected a focus area that achieves the following three goals:! 1. allows for issues to be addressed at a systems level scale! 2. provides a large enough area to encourage integration and generate capital ! 3. encourages the physical and economic integration of Sun Valley into the surrounding area!

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Section 1 - Executive Summary

West Denver Target Area 1% 1% 3% 3% 19%

73%

Hispanic Black Native American

15%

White Asian Other

5%

20%

60%

Millenials (0-34) Gen X (35-49) Baby Boomers (50-69) Silent Gen (70+)

33% 59% CityCraft identified a target area that is composed of approximately 6,400 acres in West Denver that are primed for revitalization, restoration and regeneration. The area is roughly bounded by Sheridan Blvd on the West; Sloan Lake, Highlands and Downtown on the North; Kalamath St on the East and Mississippi Ave to the South.

8% Age

Size Population!

6,400 acres! 63,000

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Existing Housing Units Planned Housing Units

21,000! 4,000

less than 18 65 plus other

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Section 1 - Executive Summary

Catalysts - There are a number of catalysts in the target area that can act and lead as change agents. They also present a larger opportunity to integrate and bring to scale, taking into consideration the long term needs of the community.! • Light Rail Lines e.g. access to region, opportunities for transit oriented development! • Sun Valley redevelopment efforts e.g. young population, culturally diverse, youth center! • Mariposa Project (DHA) e.g healthy living, shared spaces, parks, arts, housing! • St Anthony’s Redevelopment (LEED ND) e.g. senior housing, mixed-use, sustainability! • W Colfax Business Improvement District e.g. way finding, branding, Mile High Vista, Library ! • Morrison Road Corridor e.g. Revision, ULC, Art District, planned development, WW Unidos! • Little Saigon Business District e.g. commerce, culturally diverse, sense of place DRAFT Denver CityCraft Phase 1

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Section 1 - Executive Summary

! Core! Strategies Systems Scale! ! Build • !Local Capacity! ! Systems as Foundation! • Natural ! Implementation Partnership! ! • Build !Local Capacity! • Long Term ! Commitment! ! for Measurement Strategy and Research of Outcomes! ! ! Research Effort! • University ! • Part of North American ! Network! Learning ! • Transparency! ! !

CityCraft Core Criteria Evaluation for Long Term Implementation

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Denver and the target area have met CityCraft’s key criteria necessary for long term integration and implementation. It is assumed that the key criteria will remain in place for long-term implementation. The key criteria include: !

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Effort is • Build Local Capacity - Economics and Leadership. intended to be locally led and majority of value creation is meant to be retained locally. Is there adequate foundational leadership in the nonprofit and private sector on which to build?! • Long Term Commitment - Is there political, corporate, institutional and nonprofit will to heal, long term, the economic, environmental and social fabric?! • University Research Effort - Is there a University commitment to document the evolution of the area to a sustainable and regenerative future?! • North American Learning Network - Is there willingness to be transparent & share results as part of a peer-to-peer learning & research network?!

Key questions:! How to ensure transparency and a shared vision for the future?! How can transformation occur over time?! How is local capacity grown?! How do you keep wealth creation local?! How does the existing population become the experts that transfers this knowledge?! ! to other areas of Denver and the region?! ! to the next generation? DRAFT Denver CityCraft Phase 1

More on this in section 2

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Section 1 - Executive Summary

! of Emerging Examples ! Integration Ideas ! ! Connectivity! • Physical !! ! • Psychological - Sense of Place/ Belonging! ! • Eliminate!Park & Food Deserts! ! Built Environment! ! • Residential! ! • ! Existing Affordable !Protect Housing Stock! ! • ! Continued strengthening of !targeted affordability TOD ! ! • Commercial! • Industrial!! ! Natural! Systems & Physical!! Infrastructure! • Reconnected ! Hydrology! ! Fabric! • Living System ! • Financial !Strategy! ! Restoration! • Ecosystem ! Careers!! ! Center! • Career Training ! Food! DRAFT Denver CityCraft Phase 1

Setting the Stage for Integration Framework: Exploring the Possible

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The emergence of integration strategies as the necessary framework to heal the social, economic and environmental systems is critical for long term success and implementation. The process of analyzing Phase 1 Observations (observations can be found in the appendix) allows ideas to emerge that will guide future integration and regeneration of the target area. A resource management and capital strategy will begin to emerge. To address critical issues while building on the strengths of existing assets, you must merge and integrate efforts. The synthesis and analysis of integration strategies will result in a programmatic framework to build necessary capacity and guiding principles. This framework will seek to identify the value discovered in the target area and will work towards building a connected community that keeps evolving over time.!

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CityCrafting Phase 2 includes the testing of integration ideas and also the discovery of new ideas. It is a time for hypothesis and confirming assumptions. This phase will involve the drafting and tailoring of recommendations to address critical issues identified for the target area while building on existing assets and current efforts. !

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More on this in section 3

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Section 2 - Core Strategies

Core Strategies While Phase 1 focused on data collection, interviews, and asset-mapping, core strategies that are foundational to the short-term and long-term CityCrafting process were analyzed. Denver provides an excellent environment to cultivate core strategies of systems-scale analysis, potential and commitment to implementation partnership and opportunity for long-term measurement and research to assess project evaluation. These core strategies assisted in the development of a number of emerging integration ideas that begin to show us the possibility of what an integration framework could look like in West Denver.!

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Strategy 1: Systems Scale To determine an appropriate geographic scale for this effort, a variety of systems were researched. The objective here is to take an integrated approach that results in a scale that takes in all interactions. In urban areas, many tend to simplify systems that serve single functions. These systems should be viewed as working together and functioning as a whole for environmental and human benefit. Not only do the systems themselves require analysis but most importantly, the interactions and interdependence of the systems needs to be taken into account. The systems analysis included, but was not limited to, various social, economic, natural, education, utilities and programmatic areas relative to West Denver. !

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Determining an appropriate geographic scale helps to provide stacked benefits across sectors specific to the needs of the community and builds off existing assets. At the appropriate scale, long term strategies for sustainable funding and partnering of resources can be created. A scale is needed that leverages resources and drives efficiencies across sectors. There are many resources in the form of grants and investments that have minimum requirements regarding scale and size.!

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We started by collecting information relative to the Sun Valley neighborhood. The City and DHA have made the revitalization of this neighborhood a priority. The commitment is demonstrated by a number of recently completed, high quality plans and studies. The research required to create the plans and studies provides a strong foundation of data, metrics and ideas to construct a comprehensive revitalization effort. Despite its close proximity to the downtown, Sun Valley, and some of its adjacent neighborhoods are isolated, both physically and psychologically. Contributing to the isolation is the lack of connectivity, highways, rail, the South Platte River, gulches and postindustrial sites. Further, the large parking lots surrounding Mile High Stadium have created a void of activity and investment. During our research we’ve found Sun Valley and adjacent neighborhoods share a mix of socio-economic challenges and opportunities relative to the rest of Denver.!

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New investment is not occurring in West Denver with the same intensity as it is to the north or other parts of the city—but it is coming. A diverse set of challenges have contributed to little private investment occurring within the West Denver neighborhoods—a problem that is especially acute in Sun Valley. West Colfax Avenue is somewhat of a dividing line between gentrification to the north and lower income to the

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Section 2 - Core Strategies south. Most housing to the south is considered affordable. Many leaders in the affordable housing sector are concerned about gentrification and rising home prices. The Highlands neighborhood is currently experiencing rapid gentrification that is beginning to flow south across West Colfax Avenue. Therefore, a paradox arises where there is a desperate need for investment, but a palpable concern about long term affordable housing. The question is, can there be inclusive gentrification? Can gentrification be managed to protect and benefit existing residents of changing neighborhoods? Can there be development without displacement?!

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The Strategy: After reviewing Sun Valley efforts and conducting Phase 1 research, we believe that if concentrated on in isolation, Sun Valley could become an island on to its own, perhaps further complicating issues around connectivity and integration. There is a need to scale up geographically and to examine the larger context socially, economically, and environmentally. Therefore, CityCraft recommended a focus area (exhibit C) that is primed for revitalization, restoration and regeneration. This scale achieves the following three goals:!

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1 - Allows for issues to be addressed at a systems level scale, with natural systems acting as foundation! 2 - Provides a large enough area to encourage integration and generate capital ! 3 - Encourages the physical and economic integration of Sun Valley into the surrounding area.!

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Strategy 2: Implementation Partnership There are a variety of efforts underway in West Denver to transform the area. Each piece is working hard on its own mission, but paralleled efforts do not necessarily produce desired results. Many of the efforts are operating in isolated silos. They are a collection of efforts working near one another but not overlapping and integrating. The Station Area Plan identifies a need to establish an implementation partnership that will champion redevelopment efforts. In order for Sun Valley and the Station Area Plan execution to be successful, integration with ongoing and future efforts in adjacent neighborhoods must occur. The larger West Denver Target Area as a whole must be involved. The question remains, how does West Denver create a partnership that moves action forward? How do you create a single voice for West Denver when there are so many individual neighborhood and community organizations? Who provides the narration? !

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In many of the plans reviewed, there is little specific ownership of recommendations. There are different departments within the city or inside other entities that have ownership of certain areas depending on the nature of the recommendation, but there could be more integration and ownership responsibility across the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Ownership should not fall solely on the City or DHA. City Planning is not an implementation arm. Existing stakeholder coalitions and community organizations should be embraced and utilized under a long term commitment and a defined governance structure. The relevant organizations can work together and build off each others successes. A partnership for West Denver should lead the implementation of public and private investments in a coordinated and resourceful manner.

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Section 2 - Core Strategies Coordinating specific investment strategies with timelines, milestones and respective ownership for each recommendation could be a key role for an implementation arm. !

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An implementation partnership should cross sectors, be led by the community itself, and encompass long term, holistic thinking. This partnership should respect and elevate the social and ecological systems of the area. It should balance and embrace the needs of the community and the evolving 21st Century culture, economy and conditions. It should be acknowledged that there are barriers and challenges but they are not insurmountable. There are cultural differences between and within neighborhoods and the lack of neighborhood connectivity remains a challenge. A collaborative partnership could help to overcome these challenges.!

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The Strategy: A Collective Impact (CI ) approach is the recommended structure for which an implementation partnership should be crafted. CI is the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem, using a structured form of collaboration. A Collective Impact approach achieves substantial impact on a large scale, making meaningful & sustainable progress.! The 5 conditions for success include: ! 1. Common Agenda - A Common Vision for the Future “To belong is to act as an investor, owner, and creator of this place,� (Block). A common vision for a community cannot be imported. It must grow from within. A specific agenda works to identify stakeholders and create ownership. With a common agenda, participants have a shared vision for change including a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.! 2. Shared Measurement - Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures that efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable. This fits well with the idea of a long-term University Research effort. It helps to set baselines, metrics and indicators for what success looks like.! 3. Mutually Reinforcing Activities - Participant activities must be differentiated while still being coordinated through a mutually reinforcing plan of action.! 4. Continuous Communication - Consistent and open communication is needed across many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and appreciate common motivation. Reporting on progress or lack thereof is necessary for accountability. Websites, social media, and continued community engagement / involvement play a vital role. The community engagement process utilized during the SAP should be built upon and momentum captured. Adjacent and ongoing West Denver neighborhood efforts should be analyzed for potential integration. Joint marketing for economic development, with common

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Section 2 - Core Strategies advertising and a common website, touting the locational advantages of West Denver to both businesses and potential residents could help establish a needed identity and build upon assets and strengths.! 5. Backbone Support/Organization - At the heart of a collective impact model and implementation partnership is the backbone organization. Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organization(s) with dedicated staff and a specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative and coordinate participating organizations and agencies. The leaders of this organization should be deeply committed. They must be patient enough to give their projects time to evolve. A backbone organization could be an existing organization, addition to an existing organization, a community group collaborative, or a new entity. We recommend dialogue about types of governance structures and how it could apply to a backbone organization for the West Denver Target Area. In the collective impact model, a backbone organization provides administrative support around six essential functions: !

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Provide Overall Strategic Direction! Facilitate Dialogue Between Partners ! Coordinate Community Outreach! Manage Data Collection and Analysis! Mobilizing Funding! Handle Communications!

Strategy 3: Measurement and Research of Outcomes One of the most important conditions needed for long term restoration and integration is the creation of an interdisciplinary university research effort to study the evolution of the city to a sustainable economy and culture over time. In order for this to be accomplished it requires the commitment of a University to lead this research effort, which should include other University and community partners. !

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Objectives • Curriculum! • Participatory Action Research! • Long-term Assessment!

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A key objective is to identify baseline conditions and metrics that document the successes and failures of the evolving health of cities economic, environmental and social fabric and their inter-dependence. The intent is to establish research efforts that are transparent and share data from City to City and University to University creating a North American learning environment for regenerative development. Sharing the results in real time, with full transparency, will allow all sectors to challenge existing practice and design new holistic solutions, while at the same time creating new data that becomes the basis for novel curriculum changes at the undergraduate and graduate level. There is great opportunity to integrate open data sources and build upon them.!

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The research center is the City itself not a new building or laboratory created on a University Campus. Existing Chairs, Professors, and Researchers will be able to combine current efforts in the classroom and research while engaging with the neighboring community undergoing urban revitalization. An integrated research program may provide professors and departments with excellent opportunities to engage in cross disciplinary research that will benefit both their academic objectives and the evolution of the target area. 

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Section 2 - Core Strategies This partnership will ensure commitment to the long term integrated and holistic solutions, healing the cities social, economic and environmental fabric long term. The disciplines required for this research include but are not limited to the social and physical sciences, and all of the design disciplines. This research will also include a renewed focus on all the capital assets of a city and how they become valued and counted as part of the cities complete capital system rather than only counting and valuing financial capital. The four capital assets include human, natural, physical and financial. !

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Ideally a living lab will be established within the community that serves as the hub for all research activities. This living lab may be located within one of the mixed-use residential buildings that are established in the coming years, serving as a hub for community dialogue, learning and cultural expression, as well as a design center for ongoing initiatives. Another element of the living lab could be a community capital center, which counts and values all forms of capital and establishes the direction for investing, growing and reinvesting of community capital. !

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Another possibility could be the creation of an environment where multiple disciplines will live and work together in a long term integrated research program. This could help create community sensitive professionals that are able to communicate across disciplines. This could increase their ability to work towards systems solutions to solve community challenges that keep us from reaching a sustainable future, where every act is healing and regenerative for the economic, social and natural systems at all times.!

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Challenges 1. There is currently no consensus across sectors on a set of agreed upon metrics that define a sustainable economy or community.! 2. Nationally, there are few long-term cross disciplinary graduate programs and related research efforts! 3. Holistic thinking and decision making is somewhat rare as well as training across systems and disciplines.! 4. Each profession and discipline is characterized by its own unique language and measures for success, which has increased the difficulty of solving long-term problems and avoiding the impact of unintended consequences.! 5. The aggregation and globalization of financial capital has led to a devaluation of human and natural capital, an increase in anonymity between the investor and investment and a focus on short term over long-term investment measures.!

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The Strategy: We propose that a Research Effort be established within the institutional framework of a university or a consortium of universities that embodies the following elements:! 1. A long-term commitment to embedding an intra-disciplinary research effort into the West Denver focus area.! 2. A leadership role in the development and implementation of a research effort and its associated programs to document, assess, and report on the progress of the restoration process! 3. A fully transparent process that informs all community stakeholders and empowers them to make decisions for the greater good of the community.! 4. An understanding that the effort will be a test bed, becoming the transfer model for how to create an integrated research center/effort in future cities as well as how to share data and resources between universities.! 5. Pursue a planning grant for the formulation of a long-term University-Community Research Collaboration Center/Effort to facilitate deep engagement between local Universities and West Denver neighborhoods as they undergo transformation across all systems.!

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Section 3 - Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas

Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas The emergence of integration strategies for the necessary framework to heal the social, economic and environmental systems is critical for long term success and implementation. What makes community building so complex is that it occurs in an infinite number of small steps, sometimes in quiet moments that we notice out of the corner of our eye (Block). The process of analyzing Phase 1 observations allow concepts to emerge that guide future planning and regeneration of the target area. A resource management and capital strategy will emerge as vital for long-term implementation. The synthesis and analysis of integration strategies will result in a programmatic framework to build necessary capacity and guiding principles for a 21st century economy. This framework will identify the value discovered in the target area and will work towards building a connected community that keeps evolving over time. !

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Focus on Strengths and Gifts John McKnight, Co-Director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute, asserts that community is built by focusing on people’s gifts rather than their deficiencies (Block). Thus, it is essential to summarize the numerous strengths represented in West Denver.! ! The People The area is rich in immigrant groups that are hardworking, family-oriented and entrepreneurial. Similar to the target area, roughly 90% of the growth in the U.S. labor force between now and mid-century will be from new immigrants and their children (Taylor).  With 60% of the population 34 years of age and under (millennials), the West Denver target area is relatively young.  In general, millennials seem much more disposed toward cooperation than conflict.  Millennials are categorized as holding a civic generational persona (Taylor).  They are comfortable with the dizzying array of new lifestyles, family forms, and technologies that have made the start of the 21st century such a distinctive moment in human history.  These characteristics and generalizations lend themselves to show that the target area holds great opportunity for the existing population.  This is particularly true in this region that has an independent, entrepreneurial spirit rooted in cultural imperatives and a strong history of local Chicano Activism. BuCu West and Little Saigon highlight the local economic value of cultural heritage. Additionally, the Auraria Campus, with 40,000 students is a valuable strength to the region and potentially for West Denver.  There is interest in a collaborative and like-minded university research center to measure and research the long-term outcomes of the evolving target area.!

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The Movers Private and nonprofit sector leaders have expressed to us that they understand the importance of holistic, integrated thinking and a focus on long term decision-making. We are also seeing additional strengths from the public sector leadership via strategic planning, connection of social health to economic development, and integration of long term capital repair and replacement with operating budgets.  Denver has at least a twenty year history in building collaborative funding models for transit and cultural resources that are national models.  The Foundation Community has a presence and commitment to West Denver that is encouraging.  Related to traditional community foundation roles, The Denver Foundation is unique with their

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Section 3 - Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas community organization background and holistic focus.   The Gates Family Foundation core strategies and values not only align well with CityCraft’s approach and values but align well with the regions needs and the skill set of The Denver Foundation.  The Denver Housing Author ity is addressing transformation of public housing environments in one of the most holistic ways we have seen. Their approach at the project level is consistent with our approach at the systems scale level.  They have a good reputation with the Federal government and are positioned well to attract additional resources.  DHA’s experience and proximity to the DHA Mariposa project add to the list of strengths.!

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There are a variety of existing tools and funding models such as BID, MID, LID, TIF, and Economic Business Development Zones. The City is willing to be creative, flexible, and to try new approaches.  There is a significant percentage of  the Capital Improvement Plan annual fund that goes to capital maintenance.  The Denver Transit Oriented Development funding model, to support access for affordable housing is unique nationally.!

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The City The Denver region is experiencing tremendous population growth. There is a strong sense of identity in the urban areas that have experienced the bulk of this growth, as well as neighborhoods with strong connections to their historic heritage. The city is diverse and is proud of their history while embracing the changing demographics and interactions with the global economy. The target area in West Denver is an ideal location to focus and integrate efforts, leveraging resources, driving efficiencies and creating a long-term strategy that addresses the social, economic, and environmental issues of the region. Light rail and connection to regional transit provides a valuable asset. The location, access and proximity to downtown, major roads, and highways is convenient for local businesses to conduct business anywhere in metro area. Sun Valley is primed to be a central physical location for West Denver and act as a main gateway to downtown. Morrison Road, West Colfax BID, and Saigon Business District efforts act as additional nodes in the target area to build off of. By joining forces at the scale in which the target area suggests, there is great mutual economic benefit. By sharing costs and lobbying together, resources can be leveraged and efficiencies improved. Moving forward will allow us to answer what cross sector integration looks like and how to create a sustainable partnering of resources. !

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Identify Challenges and Opportunities for Growth In addition to the numerous assets of West Denver, the community and stakeholder organizations have expressed an array of area challenges and opportunities that must be illuminated to paint a holistic picture of the target area.!

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The People A primary concern for residents is the realistic goal of inclusive gentrification and whether growth can be managed to benefit the existing residents. This goal is directly related to the future availability of affordable housing, particularly in transit-rich areas.  Residents tend to have negative perceptions (often related to their lived reality) of local natural systems, safety and crime, access to health services and food, and the affordability and accessibility of transit.   In order to leverage the residents’ voices in city and organization decision-making, community organizations need to be strengthened and unified.   There is a lack of clear DRAFT Denver CityCraft Phase 1

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Section 3 - Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas identity with neighboring communities despite common demographics and needs. Additionally, in housing areas of high-transience, such as Sun Valley, there is a lack of neighborhood identity.! !

The Movers

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The City has limited financing capacity through its current operational budget and bonding capacity. The City anticipates another bond program in the next several years to deliver projects identified in the City’s Six-Year Capital Plan. The current Better Denver Bond Program is fully allocated. Community Development Entities (CDE’s) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI’s) are not very strong in the Denver region.  There is a variety of existing tools such as BID, MID, LID, TIF, and Economic Business Development Zones yet there is a lack of integration and strategy of targeted area at this geographic scale.  TIF’s have been widely used but effectiveness is limited by low property taxes and in particular low residential property taxes. Commercial properties pay the bulk of property taxes.  Preference of TIF’s is to be used as reimbursement strategy with performance based incentives. !

The City Connecting Sun Valley and West Denver with Downtown remains a challenging task. There are physical and psychological walls between I -25 and the east side of the Platte River, downtown, and the Auraria Campus. The contrast in demographic makeup and urban form between the two areas makes the disconnection to the city even greater. The West Rail Line provides a substantial improvement in connectivity, but has had limited impact on perception or accessibility. From the perspective of downtown, attracting a market for real estate development in West Denver may prove difficult due to the disconnection between areas. The Sun Valley area has limited space and infrastructure capacity to handle the future planned developments. Additionally, infrastructure improvements are currently unfunded and the life cycle of proposed projects remain uncertain.!

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Combining West Denver’s Assets and Challenges for Emerging Integration Ideas The following ideas are examples of integration concepts that come from the analysis of critical issues and inventory of existing assets. This analysis was gathered from extensive interviews with local stakeholders and organizations committed to the West Denver area. Observations gathered throughout the course of Phase 1 have been accumulated in Appendix D and are briefly identified in relation to each of the integration ideas discussed below. To solve the critical issues, you must merge and integrate efforts.  This section is meant to begin an exploration of the possibility and build a foundation for moving forward. The list of integration ideas identified are by no means exhaustive and are expected to continually evolve throughout Phase 2. !

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Section 3 - Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas

Assets

1st step - Map critical issues & assets

Critical Issues

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DRAFT Denver CityCraft Phase 1

2nd step - Look for integration opportunities

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Section 3 - Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas

Integration Idea: Protect Affordable Housing West Denver is home to a relatively high percentage of affordable single-family housing stock in the West Colfax, Westwood, Villa Park, Barnum, Barnum West, Valverde and Athmar Park neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are stable but aging and there have been limited investments taking place compared to other neighborhoods throughout Denver. Currently, a high number of investments in the Highlands neighborhood is causing a wave of investment moving North to South across West Colfax Boulevard. Efforts must attract additional investment but work intensively to develop a scattered site affordable housing model. DHA and TOD have set in place national role model programs for affordable housing development and preservation, particularly in close proximity to transit stations. Their work, in addition to the efforts of Mile High Connects housing working groups need to be strengthened and supported across the private, non-profit and public sectors in a targeted manner. !

! Highlights • • • •

Large stock of modest, single-family housing product within stable, but underinvested neighborhoods! Approximately 20,000 units of attached and detached single-family housing within target area! Wave of increasing property values moving from North to South across West Colfax Boulevard! New infrastructure and development investments related to Sun Valley and transit will add additional pressure on property values! • Convenient location to Downtown will increase development and value pressure over time! • Little relative investment taking place south of 16th Avenue! • Opportunity for inclusive gentrification by encouraging new investment while preserving affordability!

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Existing Organizations • Colorado Community Land Trust! • The Denver Foundation! • Urban Land Conservancy: Community development corporation focused on preservation of community assets.! • DURA: Single Family Loan Program, Emergency Home Repair Program, Eminent Domain Power! • Denver Housing Authority: Mariposa mixed-income housing efforts and Sun Valley approach. TOD, healthy, affordable focus! • Others!

Opportunity Acquire and improve existing housing. Acquisition may occur through arms length purchase, donation, foreclosure, tax sale or eminent domain! • In the development of new housing, affordability could be insured through the following:!

• • • •

• Record affordability covenants ! • Ground leasing, separation of land, to be held in trust, and lease the structures on a 99-year lease! • Manage revolving loan fund for home improvements and energy efficiency enhancements! Initial funding could come from a Program Related Investment and government sources, with ongoing income derived through development fees and interest.! Possibly use a community land trust to buy the land under houses and create a 99-year ground lease for the building structure! Protect long-term affordability in 20% of the existing housing stock! Create a dedicated affordable housing development corporation for the target area - either new or created within an existing organization. The development corporation should have the tools to acquire and protect affordable housing.!

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Section 3 - Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas • National Co-operative Bank can stabilize housing and real estate costs!

Linkages • Connect with Sustainability Corps for weatherization and energy efficiency improvements! • Connect with Job Training efforts for local residents. Priority given to contractors with a trades program for local residents! • Yard enhancement funding available for landscapes that catch, conserve water and enhance water runoff quality! • Could tie in strategies with preservation of affordable commercial and industrial stock!

!

Integration Idea: Careers The key to preserving social and civic cohesion among a diverse population is a dynamic economy that offers plenty of work for a sprawling middle class, with lots of on-ramps from below (Taylor). There is a lack of these jobs and on-ramps in the West Denver Target Area. It is essential to build the local economic capacity through a diverse array of entrepreneurial and employment opportunities that can provide a dynamic, and therefore stable, economic foundation in West Denver.  Intensive job creation, particularly for small and medium-sized employers concentrating on the expansion of existing businesses and the attraction of new businesses is essential towards a prosperous region.  The changing economy, influenced by technological advancements and a renewed focus on local-production, is seeing a return to self-employment and small business creation that is fundamentally transforming the way work gets done.  West Denver, with 60% of residents identified as millennials, is uniquely situated to engage in this 21st century economy.  Avenues for connecting youth to jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities must be an absolute priority. The unique entrepreneurial heritage of the area and the long-term presence of several engaged businesses should be leveraged as a strong foundation for small business development. Targeted sectors should utilize existing skill sets found in the target area while building capacity for participation in new economic sectors. !

!

Highlights • There is a long history of community knowledge in entrepreneurial activities and the construction trades that should be strengthened and leveraged in workforce development through local apprenticeship and education programs! • !Transformative Project 5 in the Station Area Plan recommends a strategic assessment completed with milestones and ownership of the process clearly identified relative to jobs and economic development! • !Light rail and connection to regional transit provides a valuable asset and improved job accessibility! • !The West Denver region has three business districts that may catalyze economic growth and workforce development! • Sun Valley Business Outreach Report identified that primary obstacles include access to capital, skilled workers, and limited resources for marketing and online activities!

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Section 3 - Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas

!

Existing Organizations • Mile High Connects! • DHA’s workforce development efforts has seen substantial success, recently assisting a Sun Valley resident in employment at Ink Monstr! • Denver Sustainability Corps focus on workforce training and deployment for weatherization and energy efficiency! • Denver Office of Economic Development! • Denver Shared Spaces Initiative is linking serviceoriented organizations to shared space facilities and providing technical assistance to ensure efficient delivery of services. There is considerable interest of a business incubation space.! • AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Council bring strong history of training experience and capacity building potential! • Mile High Business Alliance! • Sun Valley Community Coalition! • West Colfax Business Improvement District! • 9to5! • BuCu West is the business development association along the Morrison Avenue corridor with a history of success in grassroots community and economic development.! • Westwood Unidos! • Others!

!

Opportunity • Connecting people with jobs, specifically connecting the large youth population with careers should be a priority initiative! • Model existing apprenticeship programs in Denver may be further developed and targeted towards West Denver ! • Mandatory or preferential hiring of locals should be explored in areas of new and re-development! • An Integrated Job Center can be developed to provide training in the region developed to specific economic sectors.  Pilot programs may target the construction industries.! • The creation of a Sun Valley/ West Denver Business Association or Alliance to promote improvements, investments, grow small business advocacy, and to advertise area businesses could add significant value! • Establish business incubation and shared space facilities to cultivate community resources and provide mentorship and education activities. !

!

Linkages • Local workforce development in ecological restoration and energy efficiency can have profound affects on the natural systems and social health of the region! • Shared space may be integrated with a community design center, community capital center, or a food hub to have deeper social impacts! • Energy-sector and ecological job growth should be partnered with local education institutions to provide a stronger environmental education with local applications! DRAFT Denver CityCraft Phase 1

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Section 3 - Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas ! reative sector opportunities and accessibility to studio and workshop spaces that will cultivate cultural •C efforts and community building! • !The Auraria Campus provides an excellent local asset for technical training and educational partnership for economic development.! • !Cradle-to-Career programs must address a continuum of development from birth to early adulthood during which intentional steps are taken by an individual to prepare oneself for education, work and life success.!

! !

Integration Idea: Connectivity Peter Block in his book Community, The Structure of Belonging states, "The essential challenge is to transform the isolation and self-interest within our communities into connectedness and caring for the whole. The key is to identify how this transformation occurs.  We begin by shifting our attention from the problems of community to the possibility of community.  We also need to acknowledge that our wisdom about individual transformation is not enough when it comes to community transformation. So, one purpose here is to bring together our knowledge about the nature of collective transformation.  A key insight in this pursuit is to accept the importance of social capital to the life of the community. This begins the effort to create a future distinct from the past.” (Block)!

!

Connectivity challenges do not apply only to transit or physical connections. Connectivity also relates to a feeling of being connected to the community in which you live, work and spend the majority of your time. Community in its basic form means the experience of belonging. The opposite of belonging is to feel isolated and always (all ways) on the margin, an outsider (Block). Those we label ”homeless,” or “exoffenders,” or “disabled,” or “at risk” are the most visible people who struggle with belonging (Block). The challenge is to transform the isolation within our communities into connectedness and caring for the whole. To improve the common measures of community health-economy, education, health, safety, the environment - we need to create a community where each citizen has the experience of being connected to those around them and knows their safety and success are dependent on the success of others (Putnam).!

!

Connectivity is an obvious challenge for the isolated neighborhoods of West Denver and are outlined in various plans and studies like the Station Area Plan (SAP), Denver Cultural 2020 Plan, and the Regional Equity Atlas. Boxed in by major throughway roads, industrial zones, and the steep terrain surrounding Lakewood and Weir Gulch, the lack of opportunities (jobs, food, workforce training, recreation, etc) in the areas directly surrounding the neighborhood increases this isolation. Residents must rely on automobiles or public transit to access these necessities, yet the light rail development is considered too expensive to many residents. ! ! While the physical barriers to access are many for an urban neighborhood, the psychological barriers and isolation may present even greater obstacles and require considerations for spatial justice, place-making activities, mitigating over-inflated perceptions of distance, and the role of art in neighborhood identity and mobility. Children growing up in such an environment can only draw from their lived experiences of poverty, low educational attainment and high unemployment.  Growing up without witnessing economic role models or a diversity of career opportunities can result in increased cycle of poverty. !

!

Highlights • The expense of transit and lack of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in the region result in few multimodal transportation options and minimal opportunity for interaction with the diversity of experiences offered across Denver! DRAFT Denver CityCraft Phase 1

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Section 3 - Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas • !Light rail development has opened up efficient avenues to access between West Colfax, Sun Valley, Auraria Campus and Downtown. However, changes in bus transit routes and frequency in adjacent neighborhoods have left several holes in transit access, particularly in Barnum, Villa Park, and Morrison Avenue.! • !TOD Development around Decatur-Federal Station, along with other infrastructure improvements will have profound improvements on neighborhood connectivity.! • !Programmatic efforts in West Colfax BID (wayfinding and transit stop improvements) and Bucu West  (street art and aesthetics) should be assessed for application to the larger target area.  ! • !Many parts of the target area are not within reasonable walking distance to parks or open space.!

!

Existing Organizations • • • • • • • • • •

!

PlaceMatters! !WalkDenver! !Denver Bikes! !RTD Art n’ Transit! !B-Cycle! !Public Works! !Mile High Connects! !BuCu West! !West Colfax BID! !Others!

Opportunity • A multi-dimensional and longterm plan is necessar y to achieve greater spatial justice and accessibility for West Denver residents.! • Connectivity may be increased by way-finding signs to overcome over-inflated perceptions of distance, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to provide last-mile connections, siting of facilities to address daily needs of residents, and street art for aesthetic improvement of pedestrian pathways! • !Placemaking efforts can activate the new development spaces, such as Lower Colfax, the Decatur-Fed Station and Mile High Vista. Residents should feel ownership of these places even before redevelopment places them there. Placemaking can also assist with inter-neighborhood connectivity.! • !Opportunities for providing affordable access to transit and B-Cycle should be considered.! • !Light rail transit costs are viewed as excessive to residents; expenses and alternative pricing mechanisms must be evaluated to improve transportation accessibility! • !Recreation and entertainment opportunities, aesthetics, and accessibility must be considered to attract professionals to the market-rate housing developments in West Denver. This will also help retain existing residents.! • !There is great opportunity for improved connectivity between the natural system assets (parks and gulches) and the neighborhood schools.!

!

Linkages • Expansion of open spaces is critical to provide a buffer to the specific features, such as the gulches, lakes, and river. Open spaces also serve valuable community benefits that contribute to better health and environmental quality. Reconfiguration of the Colfax-Federal interchange represents a unique opportunity for storm water treatment, terracing, and connecting Denver’s essential natural assets: the river corridor DRAFT Denver CityCraft Phase 1

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Section 3 - Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas and Sloan’s lake. Gulch connectivity, school and park relations, and permeable surfaces should be considered for integration strategies across systems! • Art and placemaking initiatives can provide avenues for mentorship from creative sector professionals. Integration with school system arts programs connected with cultural heritage can further empower the diverse cultural mosaic of West Denver residents.! • !Accessibility to jobs and daily needs is imperative to the future success of the region and connectivity considerations must ensure they promote further economic opportunities for West Denver residents.!

! !

Integration Idea: Physical Infrastructure & Natural Systems The coordinated planning and financing of economically and environmentally resilient infrastructure is vital for long-term restoration of West Denver. Via the Infrastructure for Cities and States Working Group at the Clinton Global Initiative, a four-prong approach, described in more depth in the Appendix (Exhibit D), is recommended to include strategic project selection, innovative investment structures, institutional engagement for scaling of investments, and incentivizing resilient infrastructure.  Physical investments include street improvements, water management efforts, parks, housing, and transit.  Primary investments should be integrated with capital mapping process of human, physical, natural and financial capital to ensure optimal impact of infrastructure developments..  Currently, there is a substantial number of unfunded infrastructure projects. Large-scale district level financing mechanisms, such as TIF and LID, show little promise in addressing this problem.   While high-level private and public investments are focused on Highlands and Downtown, the recent West Line can provide excellent leverage for prioritizing West Denver infrastructure to build off of the opportunities provided by the light rail development. ! Infrastructure and built environment developments must be fundamentally interconnected to ecological

restoration and the underlying natural environment. Ecological restoration is the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been damaged, degraded, or destroyed (SER, 2004). ! Creating integrated natural systems means designing and managing for flows of water and energy (through living systems) that maintain hydrologic processes, soil ecology, native plant communities, and diverse aquatic and terrestrial habitat types.  Opportunities for connections between natural systems will vary depending on the scale of a project and the constraints of the urban environment. Nevertheless, the key to developing and implementing design plans that better tie in to natural systems is to first identify ecological objectives of the

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Section 3 - Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas hydrologic regime, channel maintenance, physiological, and biological for river and riparian systems. The coupling of natural systems and physical infrastructure, along with developing novel funding models, must provide the foundation for revitalization efforts in West Denver.!

!

Highlights • While much degradation has occurred throughout the target area, there still exists the basic ecological fabric of the river corridor, gulches, and upland situated at the edge of the high plains, adjacent to the Rocky Mountains.! • !Planning efforts combined with recent implementation, such as the daylighting of Lakewood Gulch near the river, are creating momentum to reclaim the river and gulches and celebrate their value as natural resources.! • !Denver Natural Areas has established specific goals for the gulches, which could be integrated and include invasive species management, restoration of channel and riparian habitat, and creation of cottonwood forest, where appropriate.! • !More detailed interviews and review of UDFCD plans for the river and gulches should be completed to identify initiatives that overlap with opportunities for riparian buffers, ecological restoration, and gulch improvements in West Denver.! • !The Riverside Park will be opening in September, as the first of six recreation improvements under construction along the Platte River south of Confluence Park!

!

Existing Organizations • • • • • • •

!

Denver Parks and Recreation! !Denver Public Works! !Colorado Department of Transportation! !Biohabitats! !Denver Natural Areas! !Trust for Public Lands! !Others!

Opportunity • Objectives for individual ecological system should be compared to identify opportunities where they overlap for “stacked” benefits. For example, an integrated water strategy may integrate the built and natural environments, human and animal habitats, and ecologists with an array of designers, engineers, and construction workers.! • !The presence of perennial water provided by the waterways in this semi-arid climate is a valuable resource, and, therefore, should be a priority for future improvements.! • !Develop ecological restoration goals to guide future work, such as:! • !Connect existing corridors and nearby open space and protected areas.! • Daylight buried sections of streams.! • Create riparian buffers and widen riparian zones.! • Improve, maintain, and expand existing native plant communities.! • Weave Stormwater Management Improvements into Fabric of the Target Area at Multiple Scales. A system of expanded open spaces and restored natural areas forms a network of green infrastructure that can be integrated with the management of stormwater quantity and quality.! • Redevelopment plans should integrate on-site practices composed of vegetation and soil within the development and assess best management practices.! • Have existing residential properties participate in land stewardship programs such as lawn replacement that can offer benefits, such as water conservation or “virtual farm” production, while at the same time providing water quality benefits! DRAFT Denver CityCraft Phase 1

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Section 3 - Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas • The integration of detention, water quality improvement, and habitat enhancement at future parks is possible, but needs to be planned for and designed carefully, including assessment of underground detention potential.!

!

Linkages • Gulch restoration will have larger regional benefits to recreational and economic activities reliant on the South Platte River across East Colorado and beyond. Locally, gulch improvements will improve neighborhood connectivity and accessibility to the natural environment! • !Improved natural systems and ecological restoration will provide residents with increased opportunities for accessing the natural environment and recreation activities. These ecological improvements are proven to have profound social, physical, and mental health benefits to community residents.! • !Ecological restoration efforts provide a workforce development opportunity and will be interconnected with weatherization and energy activities in West Denver. ! • Combining efforts in energy, transportation, and the natural systems will provide an exemplary model of sustainable redevelopment that may become a regional model.! • !Improvement to the natural systems can be closely affiliated with efforts in land attainment and preservation for urban agriculture and local food access.!

!

Integration Idea: Food Food access and healthy living are critical social issues that we face as a nation, but particularly in our underserved communities. Climate change and the corporatization of agriculture promises a challenging future for community nutrition and public health. Currently, 97% of all food consumed in Colorado is imported, despite the state’s agricultural designation. Denver is developing a vision for a local food system, with a near-term goal of 20% local food by 2020. This ambitious concept will require unified efforts including consumer and producer education, distribution infrastructure, access to resources, policy, and addressing consumer culture. Farmers markets are the fastest-growing part of our food economy, suggesting new possibilities for everything from land use patterns to community identity and opportunities for cooperative developments (McKibben). Local desire and necessity form the foundation upon which a deeper local restorative economy can evolve from. There is great opportunity to increase local food distribution and production. There is a lengthy and rich agricultural history in the Denver region and within the cultural heritages represented in West Denver; such as the strong Hispanic and Somali-Bantu presence. Food access and affordability are fundamental concerns to residents in West Denver. A sustainable agricultural program should be designed to grow and support local food systems by connecting local farms, producers, and apprentices to local restaurants, institutions, and people with a hunger for farm fresh food and goods (LLF). !

! !

Highlights • The Colorado Food Guild is developing partnerships and actionable strategies to realize local food development on the systems-scale. There are on-going efforts to turn the food system over to the communities to get them invested in food! • Revision International is working in West Denver to develop the resources, capacity, and access to fresh food for low-income and migrant communities. Revision has established the Ubuntu Bantu Farm in Westwood, provided technical assistance and connected a network of 200 backyard farms to market, and has developed 22 CSA shares for low-income families.!

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Section 3 - Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas ! he City Kitchen Plan proposes establishing a food hub within the area, reflecting the needs of the local •T community to address food access.! • !Education, outreach and apprenticeship programs can provide healthy food and ensure that it continues to be an integral part of the economy and a way of life.! • !Mile High Business Alliance has established a pathway to increase local capacity from 1% to 10% of food consumption. Critical improvements to develop food infrastructure include increased production and distribution capacity, nutrition and cultivation education, food policy, and increased capital and funding mechanisms.!

!

Existing Organizations • The Colorado Food Guild’s Local Food Think Tank will connect critical stakeholders towards developing a local food system.! • !Revision International is in the process of establishing a cooperative food hub on Morrison Avenue to connect production of local urban farms and backyard garden network.! • !Colorado Health Foundation provides funding for nutrition and healthy lifestyle efforts! • !Food Systems Research Group at the University of Colorado at Denver has provided community engagement efforts for recent West Denver urban farm development and may be an excellent action research partner for future projects.! • !Denver Urban Gardens has established ten urban gardens in West Denver, yet several neighborhoods lack access to gardening opportunities. ! • !Earthlinks, a local non-profit focused on developing sustainability and agriculture skills for low-income and homeless residents, has moved into Sun Valley with long-term engagement ambitions. ! • !Recent urban farms serving struggling communities, GrowHaus and Sprout City Farms, provide excellent models for community engagement and empowerment utilizing creative and holistic approaches to food access options. ! • !The Rocky Mountain Farmers’ Union has recently shifted some interests towards urban programming. They have an excellent resource base and learning network, including the Co-operative and Economic Development Center.! • !Others!

!

Opportunity • Work off of existing plans performed by City Kitchen, OED JumpStart 2014 Plan and the working experience of Revision and GrowHaus. Utilize these entities and related programs as potential job generators and for the development of an international food hub.! • A local food advocacy organization is needed to strengthen the local food capacity and establish a healthy lifestyle agenda. Program development in urban farm resources, nutrition education, cultural and fresh food access. Efforts should be unified with larger ongoing efforts in Local Food Shift Group, the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council, and the Colorado Food Guild. ! • Local food efforts should draw from food district examples from around the region and country that help grow small businesses, strengthen a sense of community, integrate food banks, promote nutrition and education, and keep dollars circulating in the local economy. Cooperative business structures, diversified

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Section 3 - Examples of Emerging Integration Ideas

!

financing strategies, and PPP’s can leverage resources and expertise needed for implementation, effective operations and social impact.!

Linkages • As obesity rates continue to rise in West Denver, with particularly high rates in children, food advocacy and access provides a strong bridge between existing food organizations and DHA’s healthy living initiatives in Mariposa.! • Denver Urban Gardens’ connection to DPS can be strengthened to provide additional nutrition and environmental education with on-site living laboratories. ! • Establish educational and career tracks that may develop local resources for all components of a local food system, such as restaurant services, culinary arts, and landscape maintenance.! • Garden and urban farming programs can provide excellent ecosystem services and stormwater management opportunities and may assist in the long-term ecological restoration of West Denver.!

! ! !

Next Steps and Looking Towards Phase 2 This initial list of emerging integration ideas were selected as a small set of examples that build off of the current strengths and challenges of the target area. The ideas are drawn from extensive consideration to the set of observations, detailed in the Appendix.  The interconnectedness of urban systems are addressed through the linkages between program efforts that are often addressed in isolation.  These ideas can help CityCraft and West Denver stakeholders and residents to formulate a vision for their future that would not be possible without the integration of on-going and potential efforts for unified action.  Each integration idea should propose programs that will span the implementation phase and engage stakeholders through several levels of investment in West Denver.   Pattern analysis, deep stakeholder and community engagement, and methods to align stakeholder efforts represent the fundamental tasks of Phase 2.  Integration ideas serve as the bridge between Phase 1 observations and Phase 2 recommendations.   Feedback from the Denver CityCraft Group (DCCG) is essential in interpreting the observations and navigating the potential implementation activities.   CityCraft continually emphasizes the importance of building local capacity and ownership of the CityCrafting process.   Revitalization of West Denver can only be realized through longterm local commitment to the recommendations evolving throughout Phase 2 and, thus, stakeholders must be engaged in the formulation of these integration ideas.   Together, we can formulate a vision of a regenerated target area and collectively build the activities to realize the potential of West Denver. Specific groups should contribute to these emerging ideas during Phase 2.!

!

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Appendix Exhibit A - Groups Interviewed During Phase 1 9 to 5! AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Council! Auraria Campus! Biohabitats! Children’s Affairs! City and County of Denver! City Chief Performance Officer! City Chief Projects Officer! City Chief Sustiability Officer! City Finance/ Budget & Management Office! City Planning! CityCraft Ventures! Clinton Global Initiative! Colorado Center for Community Development! Denver Human Services! Denver OED! Denver Shared Spaces! Denver University! Design Workshop! DHA! DOE! DURA! EcoDistricts! Enterprise Community Partners! Gates Family Foundation! Health Product Declaration Collaborative! ISEEED! MEPT! Mile High Business Alliance! Mile High Connects! National Trust for Historic Preservation! NRDC! NREL! Office of Economic Development! Perspective 3! Radian! RTD! Streetwize! Sun Valley Community Coalition! Sun Valley Youth Center! The CityCraft Foundation! The Denver Foundation! Together Colorado! University of Colorado Denver MURP Program! Urban Land Conservancy! Verde Capital! Walk Denver! West Colfax BID!

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Appendix Exhibit B - References

!

2020 Cultural Plan! 6 1/2 lessons the Twin Cities can learn from Denver - Jay Walljasper! America2050.org! Biohabitats’ 2013 Priority Management Zone Summaries prepared for the City of Denver Natural ! ! !

Areas Program!

Bowling Alone - Robert Putnam! Building Colorado's Local Food Movement: Good Food Web Article - Mickki Langston! Chatfield Basin Conservation Network Green Infrastructure System! City Kitchen Study! City of Denver Parks and Natural Areas Lake Management and Protection Plan! City of Denver Parks and Natural Areas. 2004. Lake Management and Protection Plan.! City of Denver Si-Year Capital Improvement Plan! Classifying and valuing ecosystem services for urban planning - Gomez-Baggethun and Barton! Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2014 - Infrastructure for Cities and States Working Group! Community: The Structure of Belonging - Peter Block! Decatur Federal General Development Plan! Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future - Bill McKibben! Denver Construction-costs report warns booming industry - Denver Business Journal - Caitlin ! !

!

Hendee!

Denver Education Compact! Denver Energy Challenge/ Energy Advisor Program! Denver Regional Equity Atlas! Denver Water Quality Management Plan! Description of ecological subregions: sections of the conterminous United States - McNab, W.H.; ! !

!

Cleland, D.T.; Freeouf, J.A.; Keys, Jr., J.E.; Nowacki, G.J.; Carpenter, C.A., !

DHA Power Purchase Agreement Memo! Drainage Study for Decatur GDP Redevelopment ! Generalized Surficial Geologic Map of the Denver 1° × 2° Quadrangle, Colorado , Miscellaneous ! ! !

Field Studies Map - Moore, D.W., Straub, A.W.; Berry, M. E.; Baker, M.L.; and T.R. Brandt!

Greenway Foundation Master Plan! Gulch Master Plan! JumpStart 2014 Strategic Plan - OED - Denver! Labor Shortage Besets Home Builders online article 5.1.14 - The Wall Street Journal - Kris Hudson! Lowcountry Local First (LLF)! Denver CityCraft Phase 1

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Appendix Mariposa Redevelopment! Market Technical Report for Decatur-Federal Station Area Plan! Mayor's 2014 Budget! Mayor's Housing Task Force- Housing Policy Recommendations! Mile High Connects Strategic Framework! North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative Documents! Responsible Property Investment: the TOD Fund (ULI Meeting 2012)! Restoring Natural Capital—Science, Business, and Practice - Aronson J., Milton, S. and J.N. Blignaut! River South Greenway Master Plan! Society of Ecological Restoration International. 2004. Primer on Ecological Restoration, Version 2.! South Platte Corridor Study! South Platte River Wetland Focus Area Strategy-- A Vision for Landscape Level Wetland ! !

!

!

Conservation!

South Platte Wetland Focus Area Committee (SPWFAC) and Centennial Land Trust, 2002. South ! ! !

Platte River, Colorado, Wetland Focus Area Strategy-- A Vision for Landscape Level Wetland !

!

Conservation. !

Station Area Planning resident/ public meetings vaerbatims/ transcpipts! Sun Valley Business Outreach and Support Findings and Policy Recommendations - Mile High ! !

!

Business Alliance!

Sun Valley Decatur Federal Station Area Plan! The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity ! The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City - Alan Ehrenhalt! The New American City: City of North Charleston Noisette Community Master Plan! The Next America - Paul Taylor! The Next American Metropolis - Peter Calthorpe! The Restoration Economy - Storm Cunningham ! The Status of Denver's Children (DRAFT)/ Denver Neighborhood Challenges and Opportunities! Transit Oriented Development Strategic Plan 2014! ULI Sun Valley TAP! United States Department of Agriculture, 2010. Official Soil Survey Descriptions (OSDs). National ! ! !

Cooperative Soil Survey !

Urban ecological systems.Linking terrestrial ecological, physical, and socioeconomic components of ! ! !

metropolitan areas - Pickett et al!

US Conference of Mayors Education Task Force Brief! West Colfax Avenue Action Plan (Lakewood/ 2006)!

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Appendix Exhibit C - West Denver Target/ Focus Area

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Appendix

!

Exhibit D - Phase 1 Observations (Next Page) The following observations reflect a summary of refined set of initial observations from Phase 1 of the CityCrafting process. These observations are not comprehensive and are meant to summarize the efforts from the data and information collection process. Observations gathered from the existing plan documents, site visits, interviews, and background research are summarized here.!

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

Observations: CityCraft Core Criteria Evaluation for Long Term Implementation Strengths It is important to take an approach that includes the needs and desires of all ages, races and cultures of the target area. The area is rich in immigrant groups, that are hardworking, family-oriented and entrepreneurial. Similar to the target area, roughly 90% of the growth in the U.S. labor force between now and mid-century will be from new immigrants and their children (Taylor). With 60% of the population 34 years of age and under (millennials), the West Denver target area is relatively young. In general, millennials seem much more disposed toward cooperation than conflict. Millennials are categorized as holding a civic generational persona (Taylor). They are comfortable with the dizzying array of new lifestyles, family forms, and technologies that have made the start of the 21st century such a distinctive moment in human history. These characteristics and generalizations lend themselves to show that the target area holds great opportunity for the existing population.!! Private and nonprofit sector leaders have expressed to us that they understand the importance of holistic, integrated thinking and a focus on long term decision-making. We are also seeing that the public sector leadership via strategic planning, connection of social health to economic development, integration of long term capital repair and replacement with operating budgets add to the strengths. Denver has at least a twenty year history in building collaborative funding models for transit and cultural resources that are national models. The Foundation Community has a presence, and commitment to West Denver that is encouraging. Related to traditional community foundation roles, The Denver Foundation is unique with their community organization background and holistic focus. The Gates Family Foundation core strategies and values not only align well with CityCraft’s approach and values but align well with the regions needs and the skill set of The Denver Foundation. The Denver Housing Authority is addressing transformation of public housing environments in one of the most holistic ways we have seen. Their approach at the project level is consistent with our approach at the systems scale level. They have a good reputation with the Federal government and are positioned well to attract additional resources. DHA’s experience and proximity to the DHA Mariposa project add to the list of strengths.! The Denver region has shown that it has a growing understanding of the importance of natural capital and is experimenting with alternative approaches to storm water and potable water resource issues. Biohabitats Inc. (our strategic partner for natural capital) has a regional office in Denver with roots in the community. There is significant existing Natural Capital in the form of the riverfront, trails, and gulches.! There is a variety of existing tools and funding models such as BID, MID, LID, TIF, and Economic Business Development Zones. The City is willing to be creative, flexible, and to try new approaches. There is a significant percentage of the Capital Improvement Plan annual fund that goes to capital maintenance (appx 76%). The Denver TOD Experimental funding model, to support access for affordable housing is unique nationally.! The Auraria campus with 40,000+ students, is a valuable strength to the region and potentially for West Denver. There is interest in a collaborative university research center to measure and research the long term outcomes of the evolving target area. The University of Colorado Denver Planning and Design Graduate Program is interdisciplinary. Their three initiatives include healthy communities, urban revitalization, and regional sustainability. They utilize and embrace the ideas of the city as a classroom. They have studios and capstones that could be a valuable resource. They have started a similar research center in the past, but the funding cycle has been depleted and lessons learned form this experience should be valuable. They also expressed interest in connecting the ideas from the University of Oregon Sustainable City Year program and integrating some of those ideas and similar models into the West Denver target area as a multi-year program. They have experience with National Science Foundation grants as well as HUD funded community university partnerships. Denver University and other Universities have also expressed initial interest in a long term university research center.! The geographic scale and community capital of the target area in West Denver is appropriate to establish a CityCraft Center and implement the CityCrafting process.! Human Capital – particularly high number of youth in target area. Rich cultural diversity & history – History includes Italian, Vietnamese, Latino, Jewish, Somali, Somali Bantu – creates a mosaic of subcultures. Residents are resilient (many have escaped conflict prone areas).!

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations) Light rail and connection to regional transit provides a valuable asset. The location, access and proximity to downtown, major roads, and highways is convenient for local businesses to conduct business anywhere in metro area. Sun Valley is primed to be a central physical location for West Denver.! Morrison Road, W Colfax BID, and Saigon Business District efforts act as additional nodes in the target area to build off of.! The City Kitchen Plan includes West Colfax, Villa Park, and the Sun Valley neighborhoods. There is potential with HUD and federal partnership for sustainable communities initiative for integration.! The Broncos Stadium and envisioned entertainment district hold promise as a long term asset.! The view of the Denver skyline provide attractive vistas.! Heritage and activism.! The Sun Valley Homes (DHA) opportunity is an obvious strength of which to build upon. There is approximately 100 acres of land available for redevelopment within one half mile of the new transit stop at Decatur-Federal station.! The American Clay Works and Supply company, with over 100 years in the community is a unique asset. They have a history of working with local residents via neighborhood gardens, youth initiatives, farmers markets, events, and financial support to Sun Valley Youth Center.! The solar power purchase agreement between DHA and the City provides a model of which to possibly build upon.!

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Challenges and Opportunities Can there be inclusive gentrification in West Denver? Can gentrification be managed to protect and benefit existing residents of changing neighborhoods? ! The strengthening of existing community organizations and coalitions ! Providing more affordable housing opportunities. Simultaneously focus on encouraging investment while protecting long term affordability. City Council and others have a strong focus on this moving forward. Affordable housing near transit needs to be protected. Support of policy recommendations from Regional Equity Atlas should be a priority.! The City is interested in Social Capital Savings and needs a way to demonstrate the benefits and ROI. There is also interest in revolving loan funds, long term dedicated funds and forgivable loans.! The City has limited financing capacity through its current operational budget and bonding capacity. The City anticipates another bond program in the next several years to deliver projects identified in the City’s Six-Year Capital Plan. The current Better Denver Bond Program is fully allocated.! Community Development Entities (CDE’s) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI’s) are not very strong in the Denver region. There is a variety of existing tools such as BID, MID, LID, TIF, and Economic Business Development Zones yet there is a lack of integration and strategy of targeted area at this geographic scale. TIF’s have been widely used but effectiveness is limited by low property taxes and in particular low residential property taxes. Preference for TIF’s is as reimbursement strategy with performance based incentives. Property taxes are relatively low and commercial properties pay the bulk of property taxes.! Residents aren’t engaged with the gulches. They are usually just something to cross and are viewed as steep and scary.! There is a need for more localized health data. There is a lack of access to healthy food.! There are safety and crime issues or perceptions thereof.! Public transit is not affordable for target area. Improving last mile connections, better way finding and pedestrian infrastructure is needed. Connecting Sun Valley and the target area together with downtown is a priority. There are physical and psychological walls between I -25 and the east side of the Platte River, downtown, and the Auraria Campus. Creating visual and real connectivity through the Arts is critical to weave segments together.! Current market for real estate development is limited, (Sun Valley) and the appx 100 acre area will not attract sufficient private development unless DHA and the City can give them a reason to come there (ULI TAP).! Current infrastructure capacity in Sun Valley cannot support future planned development. These needs are substantial and large amount is currently unfunded. There is a need for a concrete plan to finance infrastructure improvements and create a general finance plan for infrastructure in this area.! The timing of major projects in Sun Valley is uncertain and could take 10-15 years or more.!

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations) Lack of clear identity for Sun Valley and the area.! Peter Block in his book Community, The Structure of Belonging states, "The essential challenge is to transform the isolation and self-interest within our communities into connectedness and caring for the whole. The key is to identify how this transformation occurs.  We begin by shifting our attention from the problems of community to the possibility of community.  We also need to acknowledge that our wisdom about individual transformation is not enough when it comes to community transformation. So, one purpose here is to bring together our knowledge about the nature of collective transformation.  A key insight in this pursuit is to accept the importance of social capital to the life of the community. This begins the effort to create a future distinct from the past.” (Block)!

Phase 1 Observations The following observations reflect a summary of refined set of initial observations from Phase 1 of the CityCrafting process. These observations are not comprehensive and are meant to summarize the efforts from the data and information collection process. Observations gathered from the existing plan documents, site visits, interviews, and background research are summarized here and supported in the appendix.!

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Economic Health The economic infrastructure of Denver is part of the Front Range emerging megaregion. It is the smallest, but one of the fastest growing megaregions in the country. Principal cities in this megaregion include Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Colorado Springs and Denver. Projected Front Range megaregion population growth is expected to grow 87% between 2010 and 2050. The Front Range megaregion 2010 population was 5,467,633 (2% of US population). The Front Range 2005 GDP was $229,202,000,000 (2% of US GDP). (america2050.org).! The largest employment sectors in Denver include energy, healthcare, IT, finance, and professional services. The city is a national leader in attracting young educated people but top concerns for Denver’s biggest employers still include recruiting and retaining talented employees. There is desire and need for targeted workforce training and targeted Cradle to Career programs. Cradle to Career programs typically address a continuum of development from birth to early adulthood during which intentional steps are taken by an individual to prepare oneself for education, work and life success.!

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Construction

The construction and related support industries continue to be drivers of economic activity in the region. The change in number of Denver single family home building permits issued, number of new home sales, and the median newhome prices have dramatically outpaced overall US trends, particularly in the last 2 years. Construction employers are having difficulty finding specialized trade workers. Many Colorado construction contractors say they have lost skilled labor to energy companies drilling in northeastern Colorado and North Dakota, where many of the top workers went during the downturn as the industry's national unemployment rate rose as high as 27.1%. Wage levels are also higher. The shortage of skilled construction workers also partly reflects the return of Mexican workers to their home country during the recession without returning. Other workers went to companies managing recovery and rebuilding efforts in the wake of floods that swept through 24 Colorado counties in September 2013 (Hudson). The shortage of skilled labor in many markets has spurred contractors to boost pay scales, often to boom-time levels and beyond—expenses that have been passed on to buyers for as long as they will tolerate the higher prices. There are a variety of construction-related organizations and companies that have a need for apprenticeship support. Industry focused training programs specifically targeting construction are a clear priority and need for the region. Construction jobs typically cannot be exported, they remain fairly local and the local community is more in control as opposed to seasonal or energy booms. Local construction jobs usually have more constant wages and provides a pipeline of work on which to count on. Regionally, there is some priority recruiting in neighborhoods impacted by fast tracks construction and this could present a model upon which to grow and integrate. There is also momentum and interest in energy efficiency and weatherization programs. Major gaps identified include getting to people in low income neighborhoods and connecting an attraction to the construction industry as a viable career, particularly for the younger population. !

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations) There are 16 businesses in Sun Valley associated with home or commercial construction (MHBA). Many of the existing firms in Sun Valley linked to the construction industry dependent heavily on the government spending on capital projects. There is a large pipeline of capital projects in target area. DHA is looking to add 1,000 residential units in Sun Valley attracting 2,000+ additional units by others. There are local companies like American Clay Works, that have had a local presence in the community for over 100 years that present some interesting opportunities for integration. They have a history of working with local residents and are representative of an existing business of which to engage with and learn more about. There is no integrated job training center in the target area and this presents another opportunity for integration. Opportunities exist to expand revenue and partnership for construction companies and compete together for large contracts. The construction industry is most obvious for a pilot program that is industry focused. There is also potential for ecosystem restoration at scale, following mitigation rebuilding and restoration. Efforts like the jobs working group in Mile High Connects could be utilized and strengthened to implement effective job and career strategies. These groups could discuss how to create a 10-15 year horizon in each industry cluster, yet another reason why the geographic scale of the target area is ideal. If you take 20,000 housing units and retrofit a small percentage, the effects are dramatic, particularly over a long period of time and when integrated with other sectors and community needs. The potential to utilize the high youth population of the target area and the possibility of partnering with local colleges adds to the opportunity. Existing businesses in Sun Valley have stated they have limited capacity and resources for marketing/growing online presence for the 21st century marketplace and need assistance with marketing/branding. A long term implementation partnership could work to assist with a possible business alliance integrating efforts with other business related groups and districts inside the target area.!

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Small Business Support

While whole categories of good-paying midlevel white-and blue-collar jobs have been wiped out in recent decades across the US, the economic infrastructure of the West Denver target area is poised for growth and has a unique opportunity to engage the local community in ways that would seek to ensure inclusive gentrification that protects and benefits existing residents and ensure wealth creation that stays local. Denver as a whole has a strong history of entrepreneurship and successful small businesses. There is a strong entrepreneurial spirit with immigrant groups and existing demographics in the target area. The small business sector makes up 42% of all business in the city and employs 44% of total people. According to the Office for Economic Development, the greatest challenge to small businesses in Denver is access to capital, access to customers, technical resources, and workforce talent. Some local businesses in the Sun Valley neighborhood have expressed difficulty in finding qualified employees. It is a clear priority of the region to strengthen and build small business advocacy. A concern in the area related to answering the question of how does the high number of young people move into workforce, (next 10+ years) relative to existing clusters and new clusters part of a 21st century economy is a pressing opportunity to address. The Station Area Plan recommends actively recruiting innovative businesses and work to create shared spaces. There is a need to develop these recommendations further an integrate into a support structure with existing business in the area. Strengthening of the existing industrial zones in Sun Valley and adjacent area represent a significant asset. New economy jobs that can;t be exported, 3d printing, local artisans, regional economy vs global economy. economic clusters that make sense besides construction?!

Food

There is much energy and interest around issues of food but no integrated strategy that incorporates the entire food chain. Plans reviewed show an understanding of all the key issues related to the development of a food hub. There are food deserts in the target area and a lack of healthy options. Obesity concerns are growing. A goal of the Denver Office of Sustainability is to have 20% of food intake processed or grown in Colorado by 2020. There were gaps in what funding and a long term implementation would look like. The question of who would be the primary driver for an initiative around this concept remains. There appears to be consensus to engage existing entities rather then create new ones (feedback from residents). There are a variety of groups active in West Denver focusing on topics related to food. There is hope and belief that a food hub and strategy brought together under a larger partnership could create a community destination/hub that is a source of jobs, a business to business exchange, address issues related to nutrition, education and be a place for social interaction.!

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Per MHBA:! Colorado lacks significant infrastructure required to shift local food consumption from under 1% to 10% of the total food eaten. the following is a very high-level exploration of the infrastructure needed to increase local capacity in Colorado. Many groups are tackling these needs in various ways, both locally and statewide. ! Denver CityCraft Phase 1

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations) 1. Increase Production. Need more people growing and raising more food. This requires access to farmland, financing of start-ups farms and food production expansion, education of new farmers, and improving how water, soil and energy resources are managed.! 2. Build More Distribution Infrastructure. Retailers and institutional purchasers have specific quality assurance and logistical requirements. To shift their purchasing to smaller, more diverse wholesalers, more infrastructure is required to organize those relationships and make it easier for producers and retailers to connect. This includes warehousing, transportation and packaging.! 3. Educate eaters about local food. While many folks value the work of local farmers, they’ve grown  accustomed to cheap food shipped from all over the world year-round. As eaters, we must learn  how to eat well within our budgets while supporting local food while its in season. Building the  market for local food (ie, increasing local production of food), means we have to buy it when it’s available.! 4. Leverage money to build local food systems. A 2012 study by Michael Shuman estimated a need for $148 million in additional capital to achieve a 25% local food supply in Denver County. To address any of the other issues stated above, more resources must be put into large-scale, distributed networks of producers, wholesalers and distributors to connect local food from our soil to our bellies.! 5. Ensure local policies promote local food systems. Continue to examine and improve local zoning and land use policies to promote local agriculture and protect our quickly vanishing  farm and ranch lands. Support the great entrepreneurs who find ways to provide local food and  encourage more private investment in the infrastructure we need to eat.!

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Social Health The social health of the target area relative to the rest of Denver uncovers some unique challenges and opportunities. ! • The majority of target area is considered one of the highest areas of concentrated poverty (30% or more) in Denver ! • High % of children 17 and younger! • High % of children in immigrant families! • Low % of women receiving early pre-natal care! • High % of birth women age 15-19! • High % of births to women with less then 12 years of education! • High % of uninsured population that is dependent on social services! • Westwood zip code/ area is top 5 zip code for DHS services! • High % of population receiving Food Stamps/ SNAP benefits! • High % of children with excessive weight! • High % of children living in poverty! • Localized areas of high % of children in single parent families! • Localized areas of high unemployment! • Localized areas of high violent crime!

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There exists a myriad of individuals and organizations dedicated to social health issues in West Denver and the larger region. Further analysis of existing efforts is needed. An opportunity moving forward is the The Byrne Innovation Grant. Focusing on the Sun Valley area for the next 3 years, a joint effort will focus on safety, technology and better community engagement. This is an example of a useful mechanism that could benefit a larger integration strategy for the area. There is strong history and assets in the community as pointed out in the Station Area Plan (SAP) and these assets should be embraced, built upon and integrated into a larger strategy for the area. The recommendations related to history and assets in the SAP would benefit from further development. The SAP also provides specific recommendations related to human health. It would be a valuable experience to provide a counter impediment list for each recommendation in this section to identify gaps and further identify strengths and needs for the population.!

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

Public Schools and Education

Denver is the fastest growing urban school system in the country. There is great opportunity to build upon the Denver Compact and Children’s Affairs efforts. Mayor Hancock is the US Conference of Mayors Education Reform Task Force Chair. There has been a switch to neighborhood schools within the context of a citywide choice system, yet there is a need to build and strengthen capacity in the system and in particular, the West Denver target area. Denver is one of the most rapidly re-segregating school districts in the country. The West Denver Public School (DPS) system is considered program and system poor but there are targeted improvement efforts under way. There are high performing charter schools in the area. There is grass roots movement from groups like Ya Basta demanding better public schools. The target area has one of highest drop out rates in Denver and a low percentage of 3 and 4 years olds attending pre school. Relative to the rest of Denver, there is a high percentage of 3rd graders not proficient in reading in the target area. These are a sample of key indicators used in numerous areas to show that future problems are ahead socially….that show there is substantial room for improvement. There should be support of the DPS arts education strategic plan. More pre-schools or early childhood care centers are needed near transit. There is an obvious need to build and strengthen capacity as it relates to public education and the youth population. The recommendation from the SAP to create a Sun Valley Education Plan should be explored further and an approach that takes into account adjacent neighborhoods should be incorporated. Further analysis is warranted. For an area like this this must be a top priority.!

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Education challenges are not limited to just the youth population. Adult Education attainment is very important to as there is a high percentage of adults without a high school diploma (appx 35%) in the target area. There is great opportunity to educate and train for careers and the ability to utilize a Cradle to Career strategy was raised in numerous meetings. An integration strategy that connects people with education and careers and takes into account the existing history of skill sets of the community could make a significant impact. Auraria college.!

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Arts

Denver residents participate in the arts at a far higher level then national rates – they believe that arts, culture and creativity contribute to the vitality of the City. The mosaic of cultures in the region and the target area represent a significant arts asset. The creative sector is an economic driver for the region (5th largest employment cluster in state) yet no single entity is looked to or tasked with advancing public policy for the arts, culture and creativity in a strategic manner (2020). Denver lacks policy based financial supports and incentives for nurturing Denver based talent. 87% of Denver residents believe arts, culture, and creativity contribute to the Denver economy but residents don’t participate as much as they would like, which is especially true for the Hispanics population. 81% of Denver residents believe that arts, culture and creativity help develop action and unique neighborhoods (2020). The Imagine 2020 Cultural Plan’s vision of integration of arts into daily life provides opportunity for the arts to act as an example of potential integration of efforts at a larger geographic and economic scale. The efforts and work at the Mariposa project are other relevant sources and examples to build from. The creative/arts sector needs affordable and accessible live/work spaces. Organizations like ArtSpace could be a potential partner for strategies/development centered around the artistic community and workforce housing. The arts can be utilized to address a variety of needs. Health, jobs, housing, connectivity, education etc. For example, could the arts help create visual and real connectivity between neighborhoods, addressing the challenges of connectivity?!

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Physical Infrastructure Public funds are not sufficient to meet the growing need for infrastructure, which is a key contributor to economic development and long-term environmental resiliency. There are significant obvious needs identified in various plans and reports as it relates to the West Denver target area. The current infrastructure capacity in the Sun Valley neighborhood cannot support the future planned development. Last mile connections, way finding, pedestrian and bike access all need to be improved. There is significant opportunity to restore natural systems. A parking area management plan as recommended in the SAP is needed. These needs are substantial and a large amount is currently unfunded. There is a need for a concrete plan to finance infrastructure improvements and create a general finance plan for infrastructure in this area. There is a willingness to get creative and utilize a sustainable partnering of resources for the area to create a financial toolkit for infrastructure.!

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations) The Clinton Global Initiative’s Infrastructure for Cities and States Working Group recommends a four-prong approach for infrastructure investment, including:! •!Strategic Project Selection - Infrastructure projects with clear performance metrics will deliver long-term economic benefits. Effective planning and cross-sector knowledge sharing can bolster the impact of infrastructure. (CGI)! •!Innovative Investment Structures - When effectively structured, a spectrum of emerging financing mechanisms including public-private partnerships and regional exchanges - enable cities, states, and the private sector to share the value of infrastructure.   Next steps could include identifying best practices for financing new and necessary infrastructure projects.  (CGI)! •!Scaling Investment for Institutional Engagement - To access capital at scale, infrastructure financings must appeal to a range of institutional investors.   A priority would be to determine how best to employ regional exchanges and aggregated financings in an effort to engage private capital in infrastructure development.  (CGI)! •!Incentivizing Resilient Infrastructure - In the wake of disaster, cities and states incur dramatic costs; however communities continue to favor investing in response over preparedness.  Discussion of best ways to demonstrate the value of investing in resilient infrastructure will be need. (CGI)!

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District Level Systems

The Sun Valley neighborhood in particular provides opportunity for a truly modern, energy efficient development, one that consists of the best practices in renewable energy, water and resource conservation. There is great potential for a district energy system. Other opportunities include a district-wide storm water management system, widespread employment of solar power and urban agriculture.! 13th Ave. Realignment Study – Major east-west corridor connecting West Denver to Downtown and the eastern neighborhoods. This study has been put on pause for now. Xcel Energy has an open application to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to potentially decommission the Zuni Plant and several adjacent properties including the “Tank Site” for which any realignment would be needed. Therefore, the Study is on pause until a decision by the PUC.! 10th Ave – Connecting the river to Federal Blvd and crafting a vision for a new main street. The upcoming DHA led Sun Valley Master Planning effort will play important role! Federal-Colfax Interchange – Large footprint including 29 acres of cloverleaf interchange of two urban arterials. Limits pedestrian access across neighborhoods and to light rail, bus services, and adjacent businesses and community amenities (SAP). A funding request for 2015 has been submitted through the city’s annual capital improvement project budget process.!

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Connectivity Connectivity challenges do not apply only to transit or physical connections. Connectivity also relates to a feeling of being connected to the community in which you live, work and spend the majority of your time. Community in its basic form means the experience of belonging. The opposite of belonging is to feel isolated and always (all ways) on the margin, an outsider (Block). Those we label ”homeless,” or “ex-offenders,” or “disabled,” or “at risk” are the most visible people who struggle with belonging (Block). The challenge is to transform the isolation within our communities into connectedness and caring for the whole. To improve the common measures of community health-economy, education, health, safety, the environment - we need to create a community where each citizen has the experience of being connected to those around them and knows their safety and success are dependent on the success of others (Putnam). West Denver neighborhoods have significant assets to build off of in the from of a diverse set of cultures with close connections inside each sub-culture.!

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Connectivity is an obvious challenge outlined in various plans and studies like the SAP. Sun Valley and adjacent neighborhoods are some of the most isolated urban neighborhoods in Denver and they face considerable accessibility issues from each direction. Sun Valley is boxed in by major throughway roads on each side and is in the middle of a sea of industry. The lack of opportunities (jobs, food, workforce training, recreation, etc) in the areas directly surrounding the neighborhood increases the isolation of Sun Valley. West Denver Residents must rely on automobiles or public transit to access these necessities. The Decatur station and light rail development provides efficient access to West Colfax and Downtown Denver, but the transit system is considered unaffordable for many residents of West Denver.

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations) The lack of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in the neighborhood and surroundings result in few multi-modal transportation options. Additionally, the lack of access has resulted in minimal interaction with the larger city and the diversity of experience, profession, class, and ethnicity. Children growing up in such an environment can only draw from their lived experiences of poverty, low educational attainment and high unemployment. Growing up without witnessing economic role models or a diversity of career opportunities can result in increased cycle of poverty. !

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The Sun Valley neighborhood sits in a topographical depression. Federal Blvd is a steep climb out of the neighborhood to the West and provides very few services and daily needs for residents. To the east, residents must cross under I-25 (one of the 5 busiest sections of interstate in Colorado). A mile of industry, railroad tracks, and a warehouse district with limited pedestrian infrastructure fills the gap between Sun Valley and La Mariposa/Lincoln Park neighborhoods. To the North, Lakewood Gulch and the empty football stadium parking stand between Sun Valley and economic and recreation centers in Highlands and Confluence Park. Industry and another highway (6th Ave.) provide access barriers to the south.!

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The physical barriers to access are many for an urban neighborhood, but may be overcome by the coming TOD and related infrastructure projects. The psychological barriers and isolation, however, may present even greater obstacles. A multi-dimensional and long-term plan is necessary to achieve greater spatial justice and accessibility for West Denver residents. Initial recommendations could include way-finding signs to overcome over-inflated perceptions of distance, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to provide last-mile connections, siting of facilities to address daily needs of residents, and street art for aesthetic improvement of pedestrian pathways. !

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We can look to the recommendations of the Station Area Plan, Denver Cultural 2020 Plan, and the Regional Equity Atlas for existing recommendations and programs that could be utilized and strengthened to address these needs. We can also look towards place-making processes that may activate spaces in and surrounding the West Denver neighborhoods for improved access and integration of residents. Programmatic efforts in the West Colfax BID (wayfinding and transit stop improvements) and Bucu West (street art and aesthetics) should be assessed for application to the larger target area.!

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Additional considerations must include improving attractiveness of the area to attract professionals to market-rate TOD housing and to increase recreational and entertainment opportunities for Denver residents outside of the target area. Opportunities for providing affordable access to transit and B-Cycle should be considered.!

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Natural Systems The influences of these various components provide the basis for understanding opportunities to integrate natural systems into current planning and execution efforts.!

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Highlights of Existing Plans

Overall, there are many elements of the natural systems approach presented in various existing plans. Open space, green infrastructure, and the importance of the gulch and river corridors are common themes. However, due to the differing focus of each respective plan, there are gaps in the geographic extent as well as in the integration between various objectives. Our review revealed several key observations, as summarized below:! • The goals in the Decatur-Federal Station Area Plan (SAP) highlight the importance of access to open space for recreation and health as well as recognizing the need to integrate creative stormwater features.! • The Area Plan also mentions the possible reconfiguration of the Colfax/Federal interchange, which could potentially open up acres of land and be a significant improvement for the area. The plan recognizes stormwater improvements that may need to accompany this reconfiguration. ! • The proposed Riverfront Park, which is presented in the Area Plan as Transformative Project 2 and is also part of the General Development Plan and the Drainage Study for Decatur GDP Redevelopment, contains detention ponds that need to be well-integrated into the park while providing storage for a 10-year runoff event along with habitat benefits.! • These three plans also mention water-quality features along proposed roads.!

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations) • The Gulch Master Plan, along with Biohabitats 2013 Priority Management Zone Summaries, identifies the need for gulch channel improvement and establishment of more functional vegetated riparian benches and buffers. The Master Plan also notes the need to integrate the City and County of Denver Storm Drain Master Plan, Water Quality Management Plans, and UDFCD Rehabilitation Plans.! • The concept in the South Platte Corridor Study is relatively consistent with the Area Plan. It focuses most on the Zuni Site, but also shows a riverfront park in a similar location as the Area Plan. For one of the other catalyst sites, the study mentions underground storage as a possible way to meet detention requirements.! • River South Greenway Master Plan is also generally consistent with the Area Plan. It focuses on the river, including recreation and the need to promote restoration.!

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Preliminary Resource Assessment

Observations about the natural resources in the target area are summarized below to assist with identifying next steps, because implementation of the objectives in existing plans will be enhanced if opportunities tie in to local natural systems. In other words, it will be more cost effective and more ecologically beneficial to select suitable locations for site improvements based on landscape context, geology, and hydrology. ! Ecoregions Ecoregions refer to areas with similar characteristics based on factors such as climate, geology, soils, vegetation, and hydrology. They help us better understand the ecological context of a site. Ecoregional boundaries are approximate, and ecoregion maps use a variety of classifications at different scales. In general, the City of Denver is located in the Temperate Steppe Division of the Dry Domain part of the United States (Bailey et al. 1994). Within this larger area, the Denver CityCraft target area is located in the Flat to Rolling Plains subregion (Figure 2) of the Great Plains region, also referred to as the Great Plains Steppe Province (McNab et al. 2005). Historic vegetation in this region was predominantly shortgrass prairie with localized bands or patches of trees and shrubs along waterways.! Topography The target area is characterized by uplands in the western and southern portions, with transitional sloped terraces through the central area, and bottomlands along the South Platte River corridor in the east (Figure 3). The topography of the target area generally follows a west to east gradient that is bisected by the gulches. The highest elevation is found in the southwest corner at approximately 5,470 feet with roughly a 300-foot drop in elevation across the planning area to the lowest elevation of about 5,175 ft in the northeast.! Geology The geologic formations strongly influence topography, groundwater resources, and soil characteristics. The geology also tells a story of the site by representing a complex history of rock formation and alteration through deposition, erosion, and tectonic forces.! The City and County of Denver lies within the Denver Basin which began forming over 300 million years ago as the Rocky Mountains uplifted to the west and eroded eastward, filling the basin with sediments. The deep layers of rocks in the basin descend thousands of feet below the surface and are deepest below the City itself (~13,000 feet). Closer to the surface, there are six rock types underlying the target area (Figure 4). Their general descriptions, in order of oldest to newest, are as follows:! ! Denver Formation (Paleocene to Upper Cretaceous). Deposited about 66 million years ago, this sedimentary bedrock is comprised of interbedded layers of sandstone, claystone, and shale that combined are over 1,000 ft thick. In the target area, several small patches of the Denver Formation outcrop are at or near the ground surface along the hillslopes of the South Platte and Weir Gulch terraces.! ! Verdos Alluvium (Pleistocene). This unit was formed between 1 and 2 million years ago and generally occurs on sloped bedrock. It is characterized as a light to reddish-brown gravel, with lenses of clay, silt, and sand, as well as some volcanic ash in places. In the target area, the Verdos Alluvium is found in the uplands to the west, and it is estimated to be about 40 feet thick.! ! Loess (Upper Pleistocene). These wind-blown deposits of yellow-brown sand and silt were formed in two different periods between 9,000-20,000 years ago, after the glaciers retreated and the climate was cool and dry. This layer is generally thin (less than 18 feet), poorly compacted, and subject to blowouts. Clayey material may occur near the bottom of the loess where it overlies the Denver Formation. In the target area, loess is found in a large section of the uplands to the southwest, with a smaller area present along the northern edge. !

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations) ! Broadway Alluvium (Upper Pleistocene). This formation is associated with the Pinedale glaciations (10,000 to 30,000 years ago). It is found on the terraces along the South Platte River, roughly 25 feet above the river, and along the gulches. The deposits are comprised of well stratified, gray to brown coarse sand with pebbles. ! ! Piney Creek Alluvium (Holocene, <4,000 yrs ago). These modern deposits are present in a wide band along the South Platte River and in narrow fingers that extend westward along drainages, as well as beneath Sloan’s Lake west of the target area. Piney Creek alluvial deposits consist of poorly sorted, coarse sands and gravels. ! ! Colluvium (Upper Holocene). This unit consists of unsorted rock and soil that formed recently (within the last 11,000 years) on slopes greater than 8% grade. It tends to be relatively unstable. In the target area, colluvium occurs in thin bands on the hillslopes between the uplands and the Broadway Alluvium terraces.! Surface Water ! South Platte River. The South Platte River flows along the eastern side of the target area in a roughly southerly to northerly direction (Figure 5). It is a relatively wide and deep channel with steep banks and limited natural vegetation. Despite its location in a highly urbanized area, the South Platte corridor has the potential to provide a wealth of ecological and recreational values which are uncommon along the Front Range.! The South Platte River watershed is the second largest watershed in Colorado and covers the northeast quadrant of the state (Figure 6). The river flows for about 240 miles through Colorado – from its headwaters near the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains to the northeast corner where it enters Nebraska. As shown on Figure 5, the Denver CityCraft target area is located along the northern boundary of the Upper South Platte subbasin. A total of 2.2 million acres (3,400 square miles) drains to this point.! Early accounts of the river provide an indication of how it has changed over time: “In 1842, the South Platte was described as a river of mud and sand, a mile wide and an inch deep. River flow was intermittent with high flows in the spring and early summer resulting from snow melt in the mountains in the upper portion of the drainages, and nearly non-existent flows in the late summer and winter. Over bank flooding during high water periods created a myriad of temporary wetlands along the river.” (SPWFAC 2002)! The natural hydrologic regime of the basin has been significantly altered over the past 170 years. In addition to numerous river diversions and changes in land cover, construction of Chatfield Reservoir and Dam, which is located about 15 miles south of the target area, was completed in 1975. These numerous modifications over the years have significantly impacted the river’s natural processes.! ! Gulches. Two main gulch systems bisect the target area – Lakewood Gulch and Weir Gulch – both flowing from west to east and into the South Platte River (Figure 7). Dry Gulch is a tributary to the Lakewood Gulch system. The gulches appear to have perennial flow and have been significantly altered to accommodate the surrounding urban development.! ! ! Lakewood Gulch drains a 16-square-mile watershed. The Dry Gulch sub-basin contributes 3.7 square miles to that area. The drainage area is fully developed with mostly residential and some commercial land use. Flows in the creek are heavily influenced by stormwater discharge from several outfalls along the creek. Major storms can produce huge increases in flow that soon revert back to pre-storm levels.! ! ! Weir Gulch drains 7.2 square miles. Grade control structures, concrete channels, and gabion revetments are present throughout the gulch. This manipulation has created a fairly stable channel that lacks natural aquatic and riparian habitat. Trees and shrubs are mostly sparse or entirely absent.! ! Lakes. In addition to the river and gulches, there are also three lakes in the Denver CityCraft target area Sloan’s Lake, Barnum Lake, and Huston Lake (Figure 5). They are all associated with parks which provide valued urban amenities, and Sloan’s Lake and Barnum Lake are designed to attenuate flood flows. The ecological values of the lakes include the availability of perennial open water in a semi-arid climate, the shoreline and littoral zones, and wetlands. Challenges include water flow and water quality management, geese populations, and algae blooms which are not uncommon.! ! ! Sloan’s Lake is a large shallow lake (over 175 acres in entirety) that intersects the northwest corner of the Denver CityCraft target area. It is by far the largest lake in the Denver park system (with Berkely lake being the next largest lake at 35 acres). It has an average depth of about 5 feet with portions extending to 8 feet. The perimeter of the lake is approximately 2.6 miles. The surrounding park is a very popular recreation area for dog walking, bicycling, and jogging, and the lake is used for fishing, motorboating and waterskiing as well as the Dragon Boat Festival. The park land around the lake consists primarily of bluegrass turf. The lake is filled with Rocky Mountain Ditch water and stormwater runoff, as well as groundwater. Water quality has been an identified concern at the lake since the 1980s. !

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations) ! ! Barnum Lake is located near the center of the Denver CityCraft target area west of Federal between 6th and 3rd Avenues. It is roughly 9 acres of open water and wetlands with an average depth of 5 feet and a perimeter of 0.7 miles. Fed by Weir Gulch, it is the only lake in Denver that is directly connected to a surface water body. Trash accumulation has been noted as a problem in this lake. In the late 1990s, the lake was dredged: a forebay was added, and wetlands were planted at the outlet.! ! ! Huston Lake is 13.6 acres and is located in the southeastern part of the target area. It is approximately 13.6 acres with a maximum depth of 6 ft and a perimeter of 0.6 miles. Its water source is the Agricultural Ditch. In 2003, renovation activities were undertaken at the lake including dredging, stormwater inflow retrofits (sand filters), and fish restocking.! Regulatory Floodplain The 100-year floodplain roughly follows the waterways (Figure 5). Much work has been done throughout the target area to reduce the size of the floodplain, such as the daylighting of Lakewood Gulch. Sloan’s Lake provides a significant reduction in peak flow rates, and the improvements to Barnum Lake (noted above) help it contain the 100-year storm.! Groundwater Groundwater occurs in the target area in an unconfined sand and gravel aquifer (sometimes called a water table aquifer). Because groundwater may support baseflow and vegetation in the riparian areas along the creeks, understanding and maintaining groundwater hydrology can be important for long-term viability of these ecosystems. In unconfined systems, precipitation infiltrates in upland areas to recharge groundwater, and the groundwater moves through the subsurface generally following the topography, until it reaches discharge points. Groundwater discharge occurs where the aquifer intersects ground surface, and water is released into seeps or springs that feed into lakes, streams, and wetlands. Water table aquifers will fluctuate up and down with seasonal and annual climate variations. In the Front Range, the water table generally rises in the winter, peaks after spring snowmelt, and is followed by a steady decrease throughout the growing season. Droughts and human water management practices (e.g., diversion ditches, wells, sump pumps, and storm sewers) can cause significant long-term changes in the water table.! There is significant variation in the depth and direction of groundwater in the target area because of the influences of the underlying geology and incised streams. In the western part of the target area, regional groundwater generally flows from west to east off of the uplands and discharges into the alluvial sand and gravel deposits along the creeks. (Refer to Figure 8.) In localized areas along the gulches, groundwater flow may be more northerly or southerly depending on hillslope orientation. In the eastern portions of the target area, direction of groundwater flow is generally parallel to the South Platte River. The underlying sandstone bedrock is relatively impermeable, so it acts as a lower boundary to the water table aquifer. The depth to the water table is approximately 20 to 40 ft below ground surface beneath most of the target area, with the exception of at the northwest area, near the southeast tip of Sloan’s Lake, where groundwater and bedrock are both near ground surface. The saturated thickness of the water table aquifer in the alluvium varies across the target area, In some places, the aquifer is very thin (particularly along Weir Gulch), with thicker zones (e.g., approximately 20 ft thick) present in the alluvium along the South Platte.! Soils Although soil ecology in urban settings is severely altered by compaction, fill, and other impacts, base mapping provides a historical footprint of underlying natural and potential ecological processes. Soil mapping for the target area is not very detailed, but there are three soil associations identified as described below and shown on Figure 9. The soil types help provide information on the landscape’s ability to infiltrate runoff, support different vegetative communities or crops, and withstand disturbance.! ! Nunn-Ulm-Englewood. This association makes up the vast majority of the target area and is found in all but the eastern and southern areas. Nunn, Ulm and Englewood soils are all deep, well drained clay loams. Nunn soils form in loess and mixed alluvium geologic types, and they are associated with terrace formations, alluvial fans, and drainages. Similarly, Ulm soils are found on older terraces, alluvial fans, fan remnants, plateaus, and hillslopes. Englewood soils are weathered from sedimentary parent rock, and form on alluvial fans and side slopes. The slopes of these soil types vary from 18 to 25%. ! ! Fluvaquents-Alda-Bankard This association occurs in the eastern part of the target area in a band along the South Platte River and portions of Lakewood Gulch. Fluvaquents are young, shallow soils that form in alluvial floodplains. Alda soil consists of deep, relatively poorly drained to moderately well drained, dark gray, fine sandy loam. It forms on top of course grained alluvium on slopes of 0 to 3 percent. Bankard soil consists of brown sand that is deep, and excessively to somewhat excessively drained soils. Bankard soils form on alluvium from various sources on relatively flat (0 to 6%) flood plains and low terraces.!

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations) ! Nederland-Denver-Kutch. These soils occur in two small patches in the target area â&#x20AC;&#x201C; along the southwest and northeastern edges. Nederland is a cobbly sandy loam soil that forms on high terraces or alluvial fans and is derived from cobbly alluvium. It is a deep, well drained and soil with good permeability. The Denver soils are clay loam that form from sedimentary rock on alluvial fans and uplands (with slopes 0-25%): they have slow to very slow permeability. Kutch is an upland soil series that forms on clayey sedimentary rock (2 to 40 percent slopes). It is generally moderately well drained with slow permeability. ! Vegetation Communities There are four potential native ecological communities that historically occurred in the target area based on the soils, hydrology and landscape position. Some remnants of these communities have been observed during previous assessments. General descriptions of each type are provided below.! ! Shortgrass prairie is characterized by grass-dominated plant communities and a relatively low water budget received mostly through precipitation. Shortgrass prairie is typically upland and outside of floodplain systems, which limits its extent within the Denver CityCraft target area, although it does commonly occur on benches flanking riparian zones. These sites are dominated by sod-forming short grasses (80-90%), while forbs (5-10%) and shrubs (2-10%) are secondary. Native dominant grasses are blue grama, buffalograss, western wheatgrass and green needlegrass; and fourwing salt bush, yucca, and winterfat are typical shrub species. Nonnative species typically include smooth brome and Kentucky bluegrass. Historically, trees are limited in the shortgrass prairie due to recurrent fire. Clayey Plains, Loamy Plains, and Loamy Slopes Range Sites are combined under this ecological site description. The overall topography of these sites is level to gently rolling, with isolated steep slopes associated with drainages. ! ! Intermixed shrubland/grassland supports grass and shrub co-dominants, with shrubs comprising at least 25% cover. It may be a transition zone, either spatially or successionally, between grass- and shrub-dominated ecosystems. The dominant species of these intermixed habitats depends on the moisture regime, with drier systems supporting species typical of shortgrass prairie (above), and moister regimes supporting species more typical of the riparian meadow (below). Occasional trees may also occur. Topography is generally flat with gentle if any slopes. ! ! Riparian Meadow can mostly be broadly classified as wetland, although small terraces of upland soils and vegetation types may occur within. As such, it is not uncommon to find marsh, meadow, and upland habitats within a few feet of each other in these areas, and interspersed cottonwood and willow may occur as well. Similarly, soils range from saturated to well-drained, but generally have seasonally high water tables and silty-loam deposits from river channel deposition. These riverine bottomlands are generally flat with some gentle slopes and are impacted by drainage from upslope areas. Some invasive species include teasel, smooth brome, Scotch thistle, hoary cress, Canada thistle, and poison hemlock. ! Riparian Meadow sites can be further classified as Salt Meadow or Wet Meadow. Wet Meadow sites, many of which are natural seasonal wetlands, are dominated by rushes, spike-rushes, sedges, and grasses including switchgrass, indiangrass, prairie cordgrass and big bluestem. Ground cover, almost exclusively grasses, on native Wet Meadow sites may exceed 60%. Native vegetation in Salt Meadows is 80-90% grasses dominated by alkali sacaton, 5-10% forbs, and 5-10% shrubs dominated by four-wing saltbush and willows. Although, these wetland types are less likely to have been present in the target area.! ! Riparian Woodland occurs primarily along and adjacent to river corridors, but differs from Riparian Meadow in its plant community composition, which is dominated by woody species such as willow and cottonwood. Due to river channel deposition, soils are extremely variable and range from deep gravel to silty loam to clay. Willow and even-aged stands of cottonwood in open to tightly closed overstories are typical. The understory is varied and can range from bare ground to tall grasses, forbs and shrubs, and inland saltgrass. Some invading noxious plants are Siberian elm, tamarisk, Russian-olive, purple loosestrife, Canada thistle, perennial peppergrass, and leafy spurge. Wetlands typical of riverine systems may be intermingled, and historic irrigation ditches can create additional wetland habitat.! Wildlife Denver and the target area are situated between large landscape habitat areas found in the mountains to the west and the plains to the east (Figure 10). Despite the dense urban nature of the City, habitat for select urban wildlife species is present in the South Platte River corridor, the three lakes, and patches of native prairie and riparian plant communities. For example, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) maps a significant area used by Great Blue Heron as forage. (Figure 10). The Natural Diversity Information Source (NDIS) wildlife species list for Denver County is included as an Appendix. While many of the listed species are unlikely inhabitants in the urban core, there are still many others â&#x20AC;&#x201C; particularly birds and small mammals â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that may migrate through or be residents.!

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations) The most important habitat values of the river corridor and the gulches are the open water and small patches of riparian vegetation. The South Platte offers some habitat for aquatic organisms (as summarized in the Greenway Plan). The gulches also offer aquatic habitat for macroinvertebrates. One beaver dam has been present on Lakewood Gulch and other beavers may live in dens in the creek banks. Mature trees and shrubs along rivers and streams provide potentially rich sources of woody debris and leaf litter which help provide the foundation of the food chain. Unfortunately, the wildlife value of the riparian areas is minimal due to the small number of native shrubs and trees and the lack of tall, dense herbaceous plants. Low benches and riparian buffers are narrow to non-existent. Slack water habitat for amphibians does not exist.! Stormwater Significant parts of seven storm drainage basins, as defined in the Denver Drainage Master Plan (2009), make up the target area, with parts of several other basins located on the area edges (Figure 11). The basins are organized around the main waterways, including the gulches and river, as well as Sloan’s Lake. The stormwater system is mainly composed of impervious surfaces sloped to inlets that drain into culverts and eventually outfall to a gulch or the South Platte River. The proposed improvements in the Drainage Master Plan mostly focus on increasing conveyance through new or larger culverts. The target area has a high percentage of impervious surfaces, which produces high volumes of flow and degrades water quality.! Parks and Open Space There is an existing patchwork of over a dozen open space and parks, which provide numerous opportunities for active and passive recreation (Figure 12) in the Denver CityCraft target area. The primary park resources include the South Platte Greenway, the gulch corridors, and the lakes. These parklands also provide a more natural buffer for these water bodies. ! The parks and open spaces form patches and corridors within the target area that range from being well connected networks to isolated, individual areas, with variations in between. Rude Park, for example, situated along Lakewood Gulch, is well-connected. In contrast, Bar-Val Wood Park, close to South Tejon and Alameda, is a small, isolated space. Within the Denver Parks Department, the Natural Area program has identified the gulches and the South Platte River corridor as priority management zones. “The Natural Areas Program protects and restores open spaces to provide natural resources, education, recreation, and health benefits throughout Denver.” The key focus areas of the Program are: Native plant communities that support native wildlife; Corridors that help people and wildlife move through the City; Sustainable water resource management to improve water quality and encourage water conservation; and Places for children and community to discover and enjoy nature. !

!

Natural Capital Framework

Natural systems are grasslands, wetlands, rivers, and woodlands that work together as a whole to sustain ecological values and functions and form the foundation of green infrastructure. Urban ecosystems can potentially integrate these natural systems through rehabilitation of natural processes often in modified or novel settings. “Urban ecosystems are those where the built infrastructure covers a large proportion of the land surface, or those in which people live at high densities (Pickett et al., 2001). They include all ‘green and blue spaces’ in urban areas, including parks, cemeteries, yards and gardens, urban allotments, urban forests, wetlands, rivers, lakes, and ponds.”(Gomez-Baggethun and Barton, 2013)! Natural capital and ecosystem services are two terms used commonly now to help characterize the value of natural systems.! Natural capital is an “economic metaphor for the stock of physical and biological natural resources that consist of renewable natural capital (living species and ecosystems); non renewable natural capital (subsoil assets, e.g., petroleum, coal, diamonds); replenishable natural capital (e.g., the atmosphere, potable water, fertile soils); and cultivated natural capital (crops and forest plantations).” (Aronson et al. 2007)! Ecosystem services focuses on human benefits from natural systems. Specifically ecosystem services are functions of the natural world that benefit humans directly or indirectly. (TEEB, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, 2010). ! Table 1 below presents preliminary screening of the types of natural capital found in urban ecosystem services and their potential application in Denver CityCraft. Please note that monetary valuation is not an objective of the CityCraft process, because of the limitations of the current information to capture multiple or “stacked”, interconnected benefits. Rather, the information in Table 1 is presented as a way to prioritize which environmental improvements may be most appropriate to focus on in the project area. Based on the preliminary screening in Table 1, the following natural capital priorities are potential areas of focus moving forward in Phase 2:!

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations) •! Parks and Open Space – evaluating number of acres of parks per resident, and potential locations to reduce distance to parks and improve connectivity! •! Water Quality and Quantity – investigating hot spots and opportunities for infiltration and interaction with vegetation and soil systems! •! Floodplain enhancement – exploring the potential for establishing buffers as riparian protection zones! •! Passive Recreation/Outdoor Experiences – evaluating distance to schools and recreation centers.!

Table 1 Potential Applicability Natural Capital Benefits

Indicators

in Denver CityCraft Target Area

Water Flow Regulation (maintains hydrology & mitigates runoff)

%impervious within riparian buffer zone

Recreation and cognitive


Open space (acres)/ person;

development

walking time or distance to nearest park/open space

Medium to High

Medium to High

Water Quality


Pollution and physiological

(water filtration)

(temperature etc) parameters

Health & Safety

Obesity, doctor visits?, police incidents

Medium

Temperature decrease by cover, leaf area index

Medium

Temperature Regulation 
 (Heat Island reduction) Air purification

Removal and fixation of pollutants by urban vegetation in leaves, stems and roots

Medium to High

Low to Medium

Food Supply

lbs/yr

Low to Medium

Climate Regulation

Co2 stored

Low to Medium

Noise Reduction

dB/A, leaf area (m2) and distance to roads

Low to Medium

Pollination and seed dispersal

Diversity and abundance of birds, bees, butterflies

Low to Medium

Wildlife Habitat Moderation of environmental

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Permeable/Impervioussurface; water balance;

extremes

Denver CityCraft Phase 1

Abundance of birds, butterflies, other animals; trends in fish and macroinvertebrate populations Cover density of plants

Low to Medium Low due to low opportunity.

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

!

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

! Denver CityCraft Phase 1

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

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Appendix - Exhibit D (Phase 1 Observations)

!

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! ! info@citycraftventures.com www.citycraftventures.com

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Profile for CityCrafting

Denver CityCraft Phase 1 Observations  

CityCraft partnered with The City and County of Denver, The Gates Family Foundation, The Denver Housing Authority, The Denver Foundation and...

Denver CityCraft Phase 1 Observations  

CityCraft partnered with The City and County of Denver, The Gates Family Foundation, The Denver Housing Authority, The Denver Foundation and...

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