In this month of weddings it looks as if we all will soon be wedded to Denver’s new zoning code. If no one shows just cause to wait for Draft 4-point-umpteen, and our City Councilpersons say I Do on June 21, we will be pronounced Code and Codees. It’s been a looong engagement. Our marriage manual is well over 700 pages. The official honeymoon will last six months, for tweakability. (Unlike your usual marriage, you may use the old rules or the new ones during that time.)
Many say this many-tiered Code is delicious, some say it really takes the cake, some think parts of it are crumby, but considering how many hundreds of cooks it took it is something of a wonder if it is done, no matter how you slice it. Numerous UP residents had a hand in stirring it, as did similar groups in most neighborhoods.
UP Community Council worked to get the lumps out of the zoning for the area near Weaver’s service station, for instance, and fretted over heights and setbacks and character. And worked with DU to incorporate the new Campus Zoning for DU property in UP. We were assured our Prairie Park and Gulch Trail will remain “open space” even though they are now zoned as “parks” (like Observatory, McWilliams and Buchtel Centennial are) rather than “open space.” UP folks put in a truly astonishing amount of gritty volunteer time, led by its ZC committee, chaired by Rosemary Stoffel and David Thorpe. See www.upcc.us for more about this effort.
Sidewalks at last! Work has begun on the long-awaited sidewalk project along the south side of Buchtel Blvd. Pkwy. between S. Monroe St. and S. St. Paul St. No more heart-stopping sights of pedestrians, often with strollers and toddlers, skittering along in the bike lane inches from traffic. This is part of the bond project to finish access walks for light rail stations. Plans are being completed for the next portion of the project, between S. Columbine and S. Josephine streets, with a walk on the west side of Columbine down to Asbury as well. No word yet about the request to the city for four-way stops on Buchtel.
The new building at the Einfeldt Pump Station is underway. It’s a two-story office-and-garage structure in the water company’s parking lot off S. Josephine.
Get the bunting (and buggies & bikes) ready for the annual 4th of July Parade and VFW Band! Kids and dogs, decorated bikes-trikes-wagons-strollers-etc., will parade up and down E. Warren Ave. between S. Fillmore and S. Milwaukee streets, starting at 10a.m. The fire truck will come, if there’s not a fire, to provide a good soaking cool-off. (Holding this event at the same time many UP places of worship are holding services seems odd to yours truly, considering the spirit of UP’s history bound up with Denver Seminary and staunch Methodist founders – an example of separation of church and state? We were soundly outvoted by the UPCC Board.)
This summer in UP -- enjoy a UP park or trail, and while there you might help clean it up a bit, and fill some dog-bag dispensers. Wander over to UP School to see how its garden is growing, or page lazily through the still-tweakable zoning code, or see what’s going on at DU, or clean out your basement and have a yard sale or go to someone else’s yard sale (much easier), or get involved with park projects: stewardship, notification policy, dogs or events. We’re on record as supporting notification of, and reply-time for, all park pro-jects, plans, policies to all neighborhoods, and supporting free dog parks, and no off-leash dogs unless fenced in, and no commercial ticketed events in public parks – closing portions to the general public. We support instead creation of a festival park properly appointed with parking, access and bathrooms, and hear that this may be quite feasible, as in other cities.
The Observatory Park Playground, with its astronomical theme, was officially re-opened with an astronomical number of stars – UP kids, that is, and their parents and others, and dogs – on May 22. Carol Singer of Councilman Charlie Brown’s office put the official OK on it. There was a stellar potluck supper thanks to the Moms Club, and the clear view that UPark is a vibrant, happy, well-behaved but definitely fun-loving neighborhood with constellations of dedicated residents who are glad to live in and help care for University Park.
Also in Observatory Park, by the sports backstop, please pay your respects to the historic drinking fountain, up and running, refurbished by Harry Hill of the Parks Dept. Soon Parks staff will be planting the circle-garden at Warren & Fillmore, and although they will maintain it for us, if you have the urge to pull what you are sure is a weed, go for it.
Star Night at Chamberlin Observatory is June 19, a grand way to spend your evening gazing at the heavens through the big telescope -- and a myriad of smaller ones which members of the Denver Astronomical Society set up on the lawn. Make arrangements to star-gaze on other nights as well: visit www.denverastro.org.
Most schools are out for the summer, so do watch for the children playing in the neighborhood. Over at UP School there will be ongoing gardening of course, as students and their families tend the crops.
UPCC elected new officers on May 5: Pres. Tom Gonnella, VP Dana Strand-O’Connor, Secy. Traci Samaras, and co-Treas. June Morgan and David Seymour. Congratulations!
Raze or praise? On June 1 the Landmark Commission will decide if the Boettcher Science Building on the DU campus meets the criteria for Landmark designation. If so, it will be up to City Council to vote on this designation. DU holds that this building is not landmark-worthy, and wishes to replace the east wing, which needs extensive work, with landscaped lawn. UP folks are verrry interested, but UPCC takes no official position ... so stay tuned.
Writing this column is always fun, and this time I get to thank the kids who run this paper for such a nice “profile” in May ... and I get to set a few things straight, if anyone cares but me. (Probably I talked too fast.) My 2nd grade poster win was judged by Dr. Sheffler, head of Art for Evanston Schools. My legal-secy. job was in Mich., then oil co. job in Denver. It was UPark, not U Hills School. John earned an Ed.D. Buchtel project was for the State’s Centennial Celebration, and it is Buchtel Trail & Prairie Park that received historic designation. (Editor’s note: Thanks, Diana!)
If you have news or views of UP, or something to set straight, contact Diana Helper, 303-733-4902 or email@example.com.