July 2021 News Shorts

Not every story needs 1000 words (and we couldn’t fit them all in the print edition even if we wrote them). Here’s a roundup of some of the other stories we felt were important this month.

A new sculpture in La Raza Park, donated by Councilwoman Sandoval’s office

City Officials, Community Celebrate Official Opening of La Raza Park

While the park has been officially called La Raza for a few months and unofficially for a few decades, the new sign proclaiming the name was met with celebration from the several hundred attendees at the June 20th dedication. In addition to the sign, the park has a new sculpture donated by Councilwoman Amanda P. Sandoval’s office. The ceremony included land blessings, dancers, and speeches from the councilwoman and other city leaders. The celebration marked the end of a decades-long fight in North Denver to change the name from Columbus Park. The new sign was accidentally installed in April, but then removed the same day by city officials who wanted to wait to host a celebration in conjunction with the installation.

For a comprehensive history of the park and the campaign to change the name, check out the July 2020 issue of The Denver North Star, still available online.

Concept drawing of Inspiration Point improvements

Inspiration Point Park Upgrades Underway

Inspiration Point Park, the most NW park in NW Denver, is getting some big updates. Using funds from a 2017 voter-approved bond, the city is installing a playground and constructing a new wall along the western point. The city hopes to finish improvements by the end of the year. Inspiration Point Park is a more natural park than most of Denver’s urban parks, with naturally occurring grasses and plants. The playground is being designed with more wood and less plastic than others as well to keep with the less artificial feel. The park was originally created in 1910 as part of the national “City Beautiful” movement and the western point was actually one of the first ski jumps in Colorado, though that has been long since removed. City planners said there were no plans to install a new ski jump, despite this reporter’s suggestion.

The groundbreaking ceremony was led by Mayor Michael Hancock with a slew of city VIPs including Parks Director Happy Haynes and Deputy Scott Gilmore, Councilwoman Amanda P. Sandoval, and neighborhood organization president Jerry Guida, who Hancock referred to as “Mayor of Inspiration Point.” The honorable Ken Salazar, possibly North Denver’s most prominent politician and an Inspiration Point resident, was also on hand for the festivities. Mayor Hancock joked that while all city parks have their advocates, he doesn’t believe any others have had Secretaries of the Interior advocating on their behalf. 

G.E.S. Activists, Councilwoman Cdebaca Call on City to Give National Western Land to Community

A group of activists from the Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea neighborhoods are calling for a portion of the land near the National Western Complex to be given to the community after a public-private partnership (P3) concept fell through last year and the land hasn’t yet been repurposed.

The section of the land east of the National Western buildings is sometimes referred to as “the Triangle” due to its shape. It includes several homes and other buildings acquired by the city. One notable speaker at the rally in late June was David Torres, whose family has lost two homes to the city. One was taken for I-70 expansion and the 2nd is still standing but purchased by the city and currently sits empty.

While speakers at the rally highlighted a variety of issues, the underlying message was a call for the city to give the land to the community, whether that’s in the form of a land trust or other arrangement. Residents of the area highlighted the need for more small businesses and grocers in the area and hope businesses catering to the residents, rather than visitors, can be encouraged to open in the area.

The rally’s most prominent speaker was Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca, who represents the area and has worked closely with community groups like the G.E.S. Coalition. CdeBaca spoke in favor of returning the land to community control. 

The redevelopment of the National Western Complex is an ongoing, important issue and The Denver North Star will be covering it in a more comprehensive story as it goes forward.

First Friday is Back!

As Denver hits a 70% vaccination rate and restrictions have lifted, First Fridays are again hopping in North Denver. First Fridays began when Tennyson St had more art galleries than currently and was one of the two largest informal events along with the First Friday artwalk on Sante Fe. The First Friday of each month many businesses stay open later, many offer specials or snacks to lure in guests, and the street is packed with residents and visitors alike. As Tennyson St has changed, so have First Fridays. The remaining art galleries are still busy but more people can be found in the numerous bars and restaurants as well as in César Chávez Park.

Just North of the business district, a community art walk that started during the pandemic is still going strong too. Local musicians and artists highlight their work in front yards, on fences, and in garages. The community art walk is a volunteer effort and not tied to the business district, though many residents start their evening there before heading south. For more information on the community art walk, including a map of locations, visit www.curatelocally.com

Denver Children’s Advocacy Center Raising Awareness for Child Abuse

North Denver-based Denver Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC) is holding their first ever “Save Jane” event, hoping to raise awareness of the prevalence of child abuse in the city. The organization is reading a list of names representing the 11,418 children who were reported as abused in Denver in 2020. Because they are minors and identities are protected, placeholder names such as “Jane Doe” are being read.

“DCAC hopes that through Save Jane, Denver will recognize the absolute magnitude and prevalence of child abuse in Denver county – it is everywhere you look,” said Gizane Indart, executive director of DCAC.

The Save Jane event will be held on Friday, July 30 at the City Park Pavillions beginning at 9am. Reading over 11,000 names is expected to take over 11 hours. For more information on the organization, the event, and how to donate, please visit www.denvercac.org/savejane or call (303) 825-3850.

Deadly Algae Detected in Sloan’s Lake

 The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) and Denver Parks & Recreation are warning residents about potentially deadly blue-green algae at Sloan’s Lake. The cyanobacteria can poison not only dogs, cats, livestock, wildlife, birds, and fish, but also humans. It can cause neurologic problems and liver failure, leading to death.

The city has posted warning signs around the lake, advising park users not to let their pets in the water or drink it.

The risk comes from dogs drinking the toxic water or licking the toxins off their fur.

Water containing the toxic algal blooms look like pea-green paint or slime on the surface. 

If your dog gets into a harmful bloom, rinse your pet off immediately with fresh, clean water. And, if you’ve been in contact with the bloom, immediately wash with soap and water.

If your pet has been poisoned by the algae, it’ll show symptoms anywhere from 15 minutes to several days, including diarrhea or vomiting, weakness or staggering, drooling, difficulty breathing and convulsions or seizures. Pets can die within hours of consuming the algae. People can get sick and experience symptoms including a headache, diarrhea, weakness, and liver damage.

DDPHE believes the algae blooms will remain in the lake for at least another month or until temperatures start to cool.

Not every story needs 1000 words (and we couldn’t fit them all in the print edition even if we wrote them). Here’s a roundup of some of the other stories we felt were important this month.


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