Can Transit and Smart Planning Transform Colorado's Poorest Neighborhood?

With a new area plan oriented around the arrival of Denver's West Light Rail line, planners are hoping to spur a transformation of the city's Sun Valley neighborhood. Can the area diversify without displacing existing residents?

Located adjacent to the stadium for the NFL's Broncos on Denver's west side, ninety percent of the Sun Valley neighborhood's residents live in subsidized housing and the median household income is only $8,000 a year, reports Jeremy P. Meyer.

But, "[c]hange is coming to the area next week with the debut of the West Light Rail line," he says. And "[o]n Monday, the Denver City Council is expected to approve a sweeping land use plan that officials hope will foster a radical metamorphosis."

"The Decatur-Federal Station Area Plan is a high-level vision for how the area a half-mile around the light rail station should develop in the years to come," explains Meyer. "It foresees high-quality housing for both the poor and middle class, a riverfront park, streets that connect to downtown and a new entertainment and cultural area around the Broncos stadium."

However, some wonder if the plan will benefit the area's current residents. "To try to create that mix in a way that doesn't produce resentment among current residents and attract people that developers want, it's very hard for me to point to a place in the country where that has been seamless and successful," said Jeremy Nemeth, chairman of the Department of Planning and Design at the University of Colorado Denver.

Full Story: City plan looks to revitalize Denver's poorest neighborhood


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