Last week during the Building Station Areas that Build Community event, Denver Shared Spaces and Mile High Connects released a report looking at a handful of station areas in our prioritized geographies and the community benefits they may have to offer to the surrounding neighborhoods. The report, 2015 Community Facility Scan: Opportunities for Community-Benefit Commercial Development at Transit in Metro Denver, illuminates the assets and challenges of the station areas and provides recommendations for each. Participants also had the chance to try out the story map tool. The base layer of the tool are MHC’s prioritized station areas; it then incorporates layers of data on things such as health equity, employment, education, and existing community facilities. In addition to the data, it offers rich context for each station area, which provides a comprehensive story for the user. It also highlights recommendations to consider to increase opportunity around the particular station area. Click here to try out the story map tool. We are excited about the report and interactive tool and will continue to use station areas as touchstones for opportunity for low-income communities and communities of color.
Graduate students from the University of Colorado at Denver’s Masters of Urban and Regional Planning Program recently finalized a report on Metro Denver’s transit area stations, which provides a comprehensive analysis of the stations. “This report evaluates the design and development of the half-mile areas(transit zones) around the 45 light rail transit stations in the Denver Metro area as of January 2015. Each transit zone was scored on the level of site development, accessibility, affordable housing, and jobs and economic development.” This lifts up the important issues areas of Mile High Connects and tells the story of how the stations are leveraging opportunity for the communities around them as well as where challenges still remain. Read the full report here.
Wells Fargo began the next phase of our Denver NeighborhoodLIFT program launched a year ago. In close collaboration with Denver Mayor Hancock and the Denver Office of Economic Development, we announced donations totaling $500,000 to help address Denver’s needs around neighborhood revitalization, preparing individuals and families for homeownership, and supporting small businesses.
The grants are going to 10 nonprofits for efforts that align with the City’s JumpStart 2015 initiatives. We expect that more than 78,000 individuals, families and local businesses will receive assistance as a result of the grants. While we know this one program can’t solve Denver’s need for quality, affordable housing and create the path to homeownership on its own, we hope this small step will help make a big difference in our community.
Since 2012, with a combined $230 million investment ($5.65 million in Denver) by Wells Fargo, LIFT programs have been introduced to 32 communities deeply affected by the housing crisis. The program has created more than 8,750 homeowners (250 in Denver), with the help of down payment assistance and homebuyer education. A video about the NeighborhoodLIFT program is posted on the Wells Fargo YouTube Channel. Also collaborating with Wells Fargo on the program are NeighborWorks America and its Metro Denver affiliate, Community Resources Housing and Development Corporation.