Perhaps the greatest challenge of public leadership is leading from the liminal space — the space between what was and what is to come. It is in this space that the greatest transformations take …
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Perhaps the greatest challenge of public leadership is leading from the liminal space — the space between what was and what is to come. It is in this space that the greatest transformations take place.
Denver’s transition from being a big small city to a small big city certainly brings some growing pains and sense of loss. And, for some, our growth represents new opportunities for neighbors that have been longing for more services and greater community amenities.
Let us not be too nostalgic for an old Denver that was often characterized by vacancy and violence. Instead, let us come together to build the Denver we desire. One where everyone feels a deep sense of belonging, and where our identities share a strong sense of place that’s rooted in community that builds housing for all — because all belong. Let’s build a community that combines the cultural legacies of old Denver with the captured aspirations of new Denver.
We can’t turn back the clock, and building nothing will actually increase our affordability crisis. Somewhere between nothing new and nothing preserved lies the answer.
I want to share what happens when we come together and actually build the Denver we desire.
In two District 9 neighborhoods I’m working with local developers and a community organization on three projects to build more than 100 units of workforce and low-income units, a full-service affordable grocer, community space and safer streets.
I am sponsoring a rezoning in Cole that will require the developer to build a full-service grocer, provide open space and build roughly 20 workforce housing units (60 percent AMI). This project will create a safer street and pedestrian experience in an area that had more than 20 accidents in 2018 alone. This development will also provide 100 jobs for neighbors.
I am sponsoring a rezone of a former blighted Douglas Bruce property in Cole (37th and York), working with a local nonprofit to build 90 units of low-income and workforce housing, community space and much-needed services for neighbors.
I sponsored a rezone of three properties in conjunction with the GES Coalition, Brothers Redevelopment and Colorado Land Trust to create Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) for families displaced by the I-70 project.
Yes, this means some short-term construction inconvenience, but I think that’s worth it to eliminate a food desert and provide 100-plus families with a new beginning, and I hope you can understand this perspective.
The booming economy that brings some growing pains is the same economy that we can harness to spark economic justice and build a more equitable, inclusive city. I invite you to enter into the liminal space and build with me; let us appreciate what was, and have greater ownership over what is to come.
Denver Councilmember Albus Brooks represents District 9. The district covers north central Denver, including City Park, the Central Business District, Five Points and more. Brooks served as council president from July 2016 to July 2018. He can be reached at Albus.Brooks@Denvergov.org.
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