Denver District 5 | February 2022
720-337-5555 |  DenverCouncil5@denvergov.org
Senior Aide: Logan Fry | Aide: Jenn Gross | Aide: Felicia Rodriguez |
Dear Neighbors, 

2022 is in full swing and it's a busy time in the City of Denver. Your Council Office is working on a number of citywide and neighborhood initiatives this spring, including: Redistricting, the Near Southeast Area Plan, our Gun Buyback Program, two Traffic Studies, and D5 Spring Parks Cleanup Day. There are also several City Agency planning initiatives happening this spring, including constructing traffic calming measures on 13th & 14th Avenues, adding sidewalks on Quebec St., continuing the BRT project on East Colfax, the Krameria Street bikeway, expanding housing affordability in District 5, and the community safety "Hotspot" initiative on East Colfax. There are myriad ways you can get involved and help affect positive change in your neighborhood, so please take advantage of these opportunities.

As always, feel free to reach out if the D5 Team can be of assistance!

Gratefully,

Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer
District 5
Speak with CW Sawyer about the issues on your mind! Due to the uptick in COVID cases, Office Hours will be held virtually by private phone or Zoom appointment. In-person Office Hours are by appointment only. Please email our office or call 720-337-5555 to reserve a time. If you're unavailable for these dates, please contact our office to schedule an appointment at another time. 
  • Thursday, February 17, 11:30am-1:30pm
  • Friday, February 25, 9:00am-11:00am
  • Thursday, March 3, 11:00-1:00pm
  • Thursday, March 10, 11:00-1:00pm
Quebec Street Pedestrian & Mobility Improvement Project
The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) is working on a project to make upgrades to Quebec Street. This project evolved out of the study done during the East Area Plan, and makes changes to proposed options discussed in 2016-2019. While the former efforts focused on capacity, this new effort is more focused on safety and pedestrian mobility and uses primarily Capital Improvement funding.
This project currently includes:
  • Fill 2.1 miles of sidewalk gaps along Quebec St. (12th to Montview Blvd) & 17th Ave (Monaco Pkwy to Rosemary St.) 
  • Upgrade five transit stops along Quebec St.
  • Upgrade one traffic signal and install accessible curb ramps and crosswalks at Quebec St. & 17th Ave

All work will be completed within existing right-of-way. Project impacts could include removal of select trees; the project team is making efforts to reduce the number of trees that need to be removed through design. Additionally, the project may alter or remove private property or amenities (plantings, fencing) that are currently within City right-of-way; the project team will work individually with property owners that are affected.

DOTI is planning to hold a stakeholder group discussion on the evening of Tuesday, March 8, from 5:30 to 7 PM. Based on the current schedule, project construction is anticipated to begin by early 2023.
Citywide DMV Closures
In an effort to eliminate the DMV backlog resulting from COVID closures, all Denver Motor Vehicle Title & Registration branch offices will be closed for the next three Fridays: February 18, 25, and March 4.
 
During these closures, DMV staff will address a total of around 2,100-2,300 titles per day to eliminate a 30-day backlog of mailed title and registration documentation impacting customers across the city. This effort will eliminate the DMV backlog and allow them to return to the same high level of service Denver residents have come to expect from their local Title & Registration team. Previously, Denver DMV closed in October of 2021 for a 2-day sprint addressed more than 4,000 backlogged transactions and additional overtime has helped us continue to address this workload.
Virtual Workshops for the Near Southeast Area Plan
Two virtual workshops are scheduled for March to give community members the chance to discuss potential recommendations and alternatives for the plan. You can view the postcard that Community Planning and Development sent out here.

Community members also will be able to share their thoughts on an online survey to be posted later this month and in-person events in the community in late March. Those who share their input may opt in for a chance to win $20 gift cards to Target or local restaurants.

Keep an eye on your inbox for additional information coming in the next few weeks or visit the plan webpage.
Highline Canal Underpass at S Parker Road Now Open!
As of Wednesday, Feb 2nd, the Highline Canal Underpass at S Parker Rd. is open! The Contractor will continue minor work on the trail over the next few weeks. A temporary railing has been installed along the trail on the south side of Parker Road, which has allowed the trail to open sooner. This temporary pedestrian railing will be in place until the permanent railing is installed. For regular updates and more information on this project please please visit the constructions website.
Redistricting is Happening!
As you may have heard Council district boundaries are being redrawn following the 2020 U.S. Census. Due to COVID-19 some of the community meetings have changes times and locations please check out the updated community meetings below. You can view the proposed maps before the meetings here. A public hearing will be held at the March 29 City Council meeting where council members will vote on a final map. The new map incorporating changed district boundaries will be in effect for the 2023 municipal election.
 
Upcoming Community Meetings:

 
Meetings may be in-person or virtual depending on public health restrictions. Go to the redistricting website for up-to-date information.
Gun Buyback Program Updates
In late November, CW Sawyer and City of Aurora At-Large Councilmember Curtis Gardner announced a Joint Community Gun Buyback Program that is launching this year to help reduce the incidence of gun violence in both cities. RAWtools, a Colorado Springs-based non-profit organization that works with municipalities and faith-based community partners, will host drive-through gun buyback events on the following dates:

  • March 19, 9 AM to 1 PM
  • April 9, 9 AM to 1 PM
  • May 21, 9 AM to 1 PM
  • June 11, 9 AM to 1 PM
  • July 16, 9 AM to 1 PM
  • August 20, 9 AM to 1 PM
  • September 17, 9 AM to 1 PM
  • October 15, 9 AM to 1 PM

Residents can anonymously turn in firearms for destruction at these voluntary events. Trained volunteers then destroy recovered firearms to ATF standards and convert them into garden tools and jewelry. While we know that individuals participating in criminal activity will not typically turn in their firearms at a buyback event, working to reduce the number of available guns in our communities is part of an overall strategy to address gun violence.

The Denver Broncos have partnered with us on our kick off event on March 19th! RAWtools, Inc., was recognized as a recipient of the 2022 Denver Broncos Inspire Change Program and was awarded $35,000.00 thru the teams Social Justice Fund. Email our office at DenverCouncil5@denvergov.org if you would like to volunteer!
Denver Mask Mandate Ends
As you might have heard, due to rapidly declining COVID-19 cases, stabilized hospitalization rates, and free and easy access to vaccines and boosters, Mayor Hancock announced that Denver's face covering order expired on February 3rd. Private businesses are still able to require masks as they choose. You can view the Public Health Order that expired here.
Solid Waste Expansion Proposal
The City and County of Denver is exploring an expansion to residential waste services that would provide weekly recycling and composting for all customers. To cover the costs of these services, including labor and regular equipment replacement, Denver is proposing a fee based on the trash cart size that residents would select.

The folks at Solid Waste are currently presenting to RNOs and other civic organizations. If your RNO would like to request a presentation please contact Solid Waste here. You can also view their entire presentation here or you can learn more at their website.
Parking Fines Have Increased
As of February 1, parking fines have increased in Denver! It has been 15 years since DOTI completed a comprehensive review of parking fines and found median citation amounts for violations were below peer cities. DOTI said, "As Denver encourages the use of alternative modes of transportation such as walking, biking and taking transit to reduce vehicle congestion, it must also encourage good driver behavior to ensure pedestrian walkways and bike lanes are kept clear and that people with disabilities have accessible parking".
 
Denver is increasing fines by $10 for most parking violations starting next Tuesday, with the exception of a few that directly tie to the City’s goals for safety and mobility for residents and visitors. For example: 
 
  • Parking in/blocking a bike lane is going from $25 to $65 
  • Parking in/blocking a sidewalk is going from $25 to $65 
  • Parking in/blocking a crosswalk is going from $25 to $65 
 
The fine for parking illegally in an accessible parking space is going from $150 to $350, to deter people from illegally using parking areas dedicated to people with disabilities.  

Newport & Alameda Stoplight
The long awaited stoplight at Newport and Alameda is nearing construction! The construction contract was approved by City Council on Dec. 6. Weather depending, work will begin sometime in the next few months. At the Council Office's request, this stoplight will include automatic walk signals so that our Orthodox Jewish residents do not have to push a button on Shabbat in order to safely cross Alameda Ave.
Spring Parks Clean Up Day!
District 5 2022 Spring Parks & Open Space Clean-Up Day is Sunday, May 15th at 8:30 am. Parks and open spaces in D5 are true treasures, providing spaces for exercise, socializing, reflection and much more. Join us to spruce up half of the D5 City-managed parks this spring. Click the button below to learn more and to sign up to volunteer!
Outdoor Adventure & Alternative Sports Master Plan Public Meeting #2
How do you want to experience outdoor adventure and alternative sports in Denver and the mountain parks? Please join Denver Parks & Recreation for the second public meeting to learn about draft plan goals and strategies and share your feedback!

 
The Outdoor Adventure and Alternative Sports Master Plan will provide new and innovative ways to access the outdoors and opportunities to recreate with a focus on providing access in underserved areas. For more information visit their website!
Help Reduce Crime Through Neighborhood Watch
DPD District 3 is holding two virtual events to help reduce crime through neighborhood watch:

Virtual Block Communicator Orientation, Thursday, Feb 17 at 6 pm.   
  • Becoming a Block Communicator or point of contact for your community is simple and takes minimal time. This presentation is for those who have already attended a Neighborhood Watch Action and Awareness Presentation by District 3 Officers. This orientation will cover the first steps in becoming the Neighborhood Watch point of contact for your block. There will be shareable ideas on how you can introduce yourself and Neighborhood Watch to your neighbors and ideas to communicate Neighborhood Watch information with your neighbors. Learn how to research crime stats in your area, search for sex offenders in your neighborhood, and request traffic monitoring/enforcement. Please RSVP to receive the link for this event.
  
Virtual Crime Prevention With Intention - Strategies From the Outside in, Tuesday, Feb 22 at 6 pm 
  • This a new, interactive presentation taught by Community Resource Officers to help you and your neighbors strategize on how to best prevent crimes of opportunity and build a safer area immediately surrounding your home. This program is intended for those who have already attended a Neighborhood Watch Action and Awareness Training and is meant to complement and add to our robust Neighborhood Watch Action and Awareness Training and will discuss ideas about fencing, lighting, landscaping, and more!  While the content of this presentation is vast, it’s been condensed into a 1-hour presentation. Please RSVP to receive the link for this event. 
If you are interested in commenting during a hearing, please review the guidelines and FAQs, and sign up to speak here. Sign-up for public comment at a hearing begins 45 minutes prior to the Committee’s scheduled start time and ends 15 minutes before the meeting begins. Click here for information about how to participate virtually.

There are currently three open rezoning requests in District 5. Click here for more information and updates.  

Upcoming public hearings *dates are subject to change.
Feb 22
  • Updates to requirements and procedures of the Board of Adjustment
Feb 28
  • 3178 S Dayton Ct
  • 1468 Tennyson St
March 7
  • No hearings scheduled
March 14
  • 900 Monaco Pkwy
  • 3435 Albion St
  • 8101 & 8351 E Belleview St
Office of Children's Affairs Programs
The Office of Children's Affairs has many programs that you can use! We've highlighted a few of their best below:

Denver Families: Search for Affordable Afterschool & Summer Programs!
The Denver Office of Children’s Affairs Youth Program Locator makes it easy to find affordable afterschool and summer programs that keep your children safe, engaged and learning when they aren’t in school. The Youth Program Locator is a free online tool that helps families:
  • Access hundreds of afterschool and summer programs for children and youth of all ages
  • Find programs that fit children’s ages, interests, schedules and more
  • Search for free programs and ones that offer financial aid


Your Child May Qualify for Free Preschool!
The Denver Great Kids Head Start Preschool program provides early education opportunities and support services at no cost for qualified families with children ages 0 to 5.

Children enrolled in the program are prepared to enter kindergarten with the social, physical, emotional, cognitive skills and competencies necessary for continued school success. In addition, comprehensive child development programs and support services are available to pregnant moms, infants, toddlers and their families through the Early Head Start program! Families must be eligible and meet the below qualifications to enroll their child:

Take advantage of this amazing opportunity! Complete this contact form to have a staff member follow up with you, visit the Head Start website to learn more, or call 720-913-0880. Spanish speaking operators are available!

Free Tasty Food Available for Denver Youth!
Denver invites youth up to age 18 to enjoy a nutritious snack or supper meal that includes up to five food groups low in fat, preservative free and served with fresh fruit on the side. Registration or signing in is not required - just show up and eat up, and you can bring a friend, or two, or three, or more!

Snacks and supper meals are provided at 18 Denver recreation centers where youth can eat on-site, or through June, they can grab and go or parents/guardians can pick one up! Get a complete list of locations and meal times here, and for additional meal sites and food resources, call the Food Resource Hotline at 855-855-4626 (toll-free and bi-lingual). This institution is an equal opportunity provider and the program is administered at the federal level by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Volunteers of America Colorado is Inviting Kids to Camp
Volunteers of America Colorado operates a free one-week overnight summer camp, Camp POSTCARD. They provide free food, lodging, transportation, and activities. They are inviting anyone who works with 5th or 6th graders to nominate those who demonstrate leadership skills & excellent behavior at school for this exciting opportunity. Parents can ask their child's teacher or coach to nominate their child for camp. Priority is given to students who come from low-income families. You can learn more here details including dates and location here.
Existing Building Regulations Survey
Community Planning and Development is looking for your feedback on existing building regulations. They've shared the following request:

"Supporting adaptive reuse projects (changing the use of an existing building to something new) bolsters the City and County of Denver’s plans and policies around strong and authentic neighborhoods, environmental resiliency, as well as economic diversity and vibrancy. Community Planning and Development wants to identify, understand, and address the regulatory challenges inhibiting greater adaptive reuse in Denver. If you’ve had experience with or considered working on an adaptive reuse project, please take a brief survey (~10-20 min) by Friday, February 25 to help us with this effort."
Ballot Measure Access Modernization
Councilwoman Kendra Black and Clerk and Recorder Paul Lopez are co-chairing a Ballot Measure Access Modernization Work Group (BAM) that kicked-off on January 20 to conduct a much needed review and modernization of the processes and timelines for both citizen-initiated and council-referred ballot measures. The BAM will make recommendations for improvements this spring. Councilwoman Sawyer is also participating in this working group.

Council will discuss the recommendations and decide how to move forward at Budget & Policy meetings scheduled from May 16 - June 27. Topics include:
  • review and comment
  • ballot titles
  • ballot booklet
  • fiscal and operational analysis
  • vote and signature thresholds, and more. 

The next BAM meeting is on February 17 at 2:30-4:30. Public comment is available from 4:15-4:30. Members of the public can sign up in advance and speak for two minutes. The public may also provide input and ask questions by emailing BAMC@denvergov.org. The Clerk’s office will be collecting input and including FAQs to the BAM website. The meetings are recorded and available online for those who cannot attend.
Events Around Denver and D5
The D5 Team brings you just a few of the events going on in our city. To stay up-to-date on more happenings, you can sign up to receive Denver's Office of Special Events' monthly newsletter.
Denver Jewish Film Festival
Feb 14 to March 1
Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park
Open until Feb 20
"Black History Tomorrow" - Gallery and Poetry Slam
Gallery open now!
Poetry Slam, February 24 @ 3 PM
In celebration of Black History Month and MLK Day, the Denver Art Museum, in partnership with the University of Denver, held a series of talks and workshops—titled Black History Tomorrow—with young BIPOC creatives, ages 13-19, to create poetry and mixed-media paintings. Opening Feb. 3, their artwork will be displayed in a gallery at the DU Community Commons during Black History Month. Students will also showcase their poems during a poetry slam at DAM.
Denver’s Latino/Chicano Historic Context: Final Community Meeting and Film Screening 
February 24 at 5:30 PM
Sie FilmCenter, 2510 E. Colfax Ave.
Whistler to Cassatt: American Painters in France
On view through March 13
Whistler to Cassatt: American Painters in France is on view at the Denver Art Museum through March 13, 2022. Use code COFRIEND for $4 off your Whistler to Cassatt tickets when you purchase online, in person or by phone (discount code valid through March 13, 2022).
Denver District 5 Neighborhood Organizations
Denver is a unique city in promoting greater citizen involvement through organized neighborhood associations. Currently, there are 78 statistical neighborhoods represented by more than 200 registered neighborhood organizations (RNOs), Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and Homeowner Associations (HOAs).

In its defined geographic area, an RNO will normally address neighborhood quality of life issues - such as traffic, development and zoning, crime, communication and licensing, and promote social activities to enhance residential spirit, developing a sense of community, and encourage resident participation. RNOs meet regularly and many send out newsletters to keep residents informed on neighborhood issues and events.

Get more involved in your community by joining your Registered Neighborhood Organization (RNO). Below is a list of Council District 5 community organizations. You can also find out which RNO you belong to by entering your address or selecting a location on the map.