By Margaret Jackson / NewsBreak
(Denver, Colo.) Traffic is back. The return of “Hamilton” sold out. The Colorado Avalanche clinched a playoff berth, and the Denver Nuggets aren’t far behind.
On the eve of the Colorado Rockies’ home opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock issued a proclamation declaring April 8, 2022, Purple Friday and declared that the city is on the road to recovery after taking a beating during the pandemic.
“We’re renewing the downtown experience to be better than it was before is our priority,” Hancock said. We’re all well aware of the challenges and will continue to breathe new life into this part of our city.”
Hancock also noted that the $150 million renovation of the 16th Street Mall will begin next week, and the community-led design process for the 5280 Trail, which will link neighborhoods and connect people, is underway.
And while it’s still uncertain what’s in store for the office market, Hancock is optimistic that even if vacancies remain high, there are options that will ensure downtown remains vibrant. The city is working with landlords to determine which companies’ leases are up for renewal and what businesses’ back-to-work policies are.
“Vacant office space is an opportunity to create more affordable housing,” he said.
While downtown is bouncing back from the dark days of the pandemic, there still is work to be done. To that end, Downtown Denver Partnership has launched My Denver, a program that celebrates everything people love about the city.
“This is an opportunity and our responsibility to care for and build our city,” said Downtown Denver Partnership President and CEO Kourtny Garrett, who sported a My Denver T-shirt.
The Downtown Denver Partnership created the Downtown Action Team to address vandalism and graffiti. It’s also launched the Clean & Safe app that lets users describe a concern, incident location and include photos for a service request.
“If you see something, say something,” Garrett said.
The partnership wants residents to be engaged in helping downtown recover through volunteering, taking selfies at restaurants and posting on social media and supporting local businesses such as those participating in Popup Denver, an initiative to activate inactive storefronts along the Mall.
The partnership selected five businesses for the program, which provides $20,000 in funding for interior design, setup and merchandising and three months of free rent.
The businesses selected are: Travel Posters, GuerillaGarden art studios, Museum for Black Girls, Tea with Tae tea shop and IEM Designs.