10 Resolutions for Denver Neighborhoods in 2024 | Westword

Ten Resolutions for Denver Neighborhoods in 2024

It's time to resurrect the Rossonion, secure the future of Lakeside Amusement Park, and keep Colfax weird.
Denver's neighborhoods are vibrant, full of character...and not without their individual challenges.
Denver's neighborhoods are vibrant, full of character...and not without their individual challenges. VisitDenver at YouTube
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We've already enumerated ten resolutions for downtown Denver in the coming year. But what of the rest of the city?

Other parts of town have equally pressing needs: Where there's progress, there are also challenges of cultural conservation. Where there might be improvements, there can be a gentrifying domino effect. And where there are Denver neighborhoods — well, there are things to do.

Things like these resolutions we've made for ten specific neighborhoods for 2024:
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The underpass in 2021: It's not usually this empty — or this clean, for that matter.
RiNo/Globeville/Elyria-Swansea: Fix that Damn Underpass
It's going to hurt for a while, because it's not a small job. We know, we know. But the bottleneck created at 38th Street beyond Blake Street, where it goes under the train tracks, just has to be corrected. It's a hazard and a complete pain in the ass; the lanes being reduced to one each way creates the opportunity for drivers to be complete assholes at the very least — and, at worst, this stretch can be dangerous or even deadly. Let's not wait for someone to get sideswiped and pushed into a head-on with the concrete center post of the underpass before we decide to do something. This is a problem created by the huge boom in RiNo, and how more people are trying to get to and from there and the mousetrap of I-70/I-25. And the construction just keeps going, and the population keeps growing, and the right thing to do is to address the challenges that expansion creates. This is one of them.
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The fabled Rossonian may be the key to Welton Street's renaissance.
Evan Semon
Five Points: Push for Welton's Renaissance
There have been too many false starts for Denver's "Harlem of the West," and Welton Street deserves better. First, RTD broke its promise to connect the neighborhood to the rest of the city by never extending the rails past 30th and Downing streets. Then in 2018, light rail in Five Points was relegated to a simple spur off of downtown, creating an island effect since nothing in the city is still directly connected to Welton. As a result, that spur now carries little traffic compared to other lines, and seems to be the first taken offline when there's an operator shortage. So the L-line is not only less useful, but also intermittent and undependable. Welton's woes aren't just about mass transit, though that may have added to its troubles: The recent closures of many small businesses just in the block of Welton between 27th and 28th streets is notable. The popular Coffee at the Point shut its doors, as did sour-beer joint Goed Zuur. Above Ground salon gave up its spot to focus on its LoDo store, and Rosenberg's Bagels attempted to open Sherry's Soda Shop next door, but couldn't make it work. And so on. At least Welton Street Cafe — closed  for too long! — will soon reopen up the street. Taco Uprising, the Marigold, Mimosas and Duke's Good Sandwiches have moved in, and with any luck will be around for a long time. Still, it's like the whole street is holding its breath and waiting for the Rossonian to come back—there have been plans for years, one after the other, but nothing has come to fruition. Here's hoping it finally does.
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You must own at least one stroller and a golf cart in order to live in Central Park. It's just HOA policy.
Central Park: Shake that Stapleton Stigma
It's going to take more than a simple name change to get out from under the reputation that the Central Park area has developed for itself. Despite the name change during the pandemic, nothing else has really changed — other than the uber-pampered resident children becoming overprivileged teens (which is sort of its own punishment, thank you, universe). You might want to ask the ghost-ridden Cheesman Park (and Spielberg's Poltergeist, which borrowed the Cheesman story) what happens when you only move your tombstones. Haunted forever —in this case, with ungrateful children raised on the cultural equivalent of white bread and mayonnaise sandwiches. 
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The fact that you can't tell which of the three neighborhoods this shows is all you need to know about these three neighborhoods.
Wash Park, Cherry Creek, and Highland: Get Over Yourself
Sure, we've said this about Highland (formerly the Northside, before it started putting on airs) before — but residents have since said it's equally true about other spots in town, and they're right. These neighborhoods aren't the toniest spots in town, but they can sure sometimes act like it. Y'all are the neighborhood equivalent of new money: flashy, always playing it fancier than you need to, looking to impress with a shiny face instead of the good roots you've got mostly hidden away under designer strollers, fake Patek Phillipes and yoga pants that cost more than most dinners out. We get it, we get it: You're pretty. But if you keep pretending that's all you are, eventually that's all you'll be.
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Lakeside Amusement Park towers over northwest Denver.
Lakeside (and every neighborhood/town adjacent: Regis, Berkeley, Wheat Ridge, etc.): For the Love of Laughin' Sal, Save Lakeside Amusement Park
We include the surrounding neighborhoods because Lakeside, as a municipality, can't carry this load itself. Its population was a scant sixteen (that's not a typo — sixteen!) in the 2020 census. But its most important feature — Lakeside Amusement Park — needs an assist. It's a landmark that we're not going to fully appreciate until it's too late, and too much of it has already been lost. Restoration is long overdue — but with an eye toward keeping the art-deco signage and old-world style for which so many of its fans have fallen in love. Especially with Elitch's plans to move out someday soon, Lakeside's spot on the edge of northwest Denver deserves appreciation — and salvation.
Colfax: Stay Weird, and More Neon
The history of Colfax Avenue is fascinating and ever-developing. Apocryphally, Playboy called it "the longest and wickedest street in America," but Denverite published a piece in 2017 noting that this quote cannot be found or proven. (Denverite did, however, find a 1970s article that described Aspen as "5,000 dentists skiing down one hill," which I'm totally stealing forever.) But here's the thing about Colfax: It's always going to be Denver's delightful, dirty heart. Sid King's Crazy Horse might no longer be there, but its stories are still being told. Sancho's Broken Arrow might have shut down, but Satellite, Nob Hill, Squire Lounge, the Satire, Lion's Lair and more are still alive and kicking. And while we're preserving its history, let's bring back the neon. A good sinful strip deserves all the light it can get.
Baker: Embrace Broadway
The Baker neighborhood boasts Broadway as its eastern border, and offers it a lot of amenities, from shops to restaurants to...well, more shops and restaurants. Plus the fabulous Mayan Theater, saved from destruction in the 1980s, a place that we hope never goes away. But on its south forty, Denver's Antique Row is unappreciated —and possibly endangered.  The mix of old treasures and new art (not to mention an upsurge in cannabis sales locations that caused a new term — the Green Mile — to be added to the many SoBo sobriquets) is a gold mine, if it can be marketed as such. And Baker will be right there to enjoy the company.
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Sloan's Lake is one of Denver's jewels—and should remain so.
Sloan's Lake: Don't Let Up on the Lake-Saving
We first mentioned this in our list of 2022 resolutions, but it deserves repeating (and updating) for 2024. In short, Sloan's Lake is dangerously shallow and too polluted. They've stopped stocking it with fish until it recovers; the only fish left in there are carp and other species that can survive in awful conditions. At one point, Sloan's Lake was over ten feet deep in some places; these days, it's averaging about three feet. That's not drought; that's sediment creeping in from surrounding development and runoff, and the city using the lake as a sewer for way too long. It needs to be dredged; the dredging project in the early 2000s was never finished owing to the contractor charged with the task going bankrupt. Progress is being made by the Sloan's Lake Park Foundation — and that progress needs to be monitored, perpetuated and celebrated in order for the lake to survive.
Capitol Hill: Make Driving Okay Again
Any place where two vehicles passing each other can't actually complete that pass unless one of them pulls over into an empty parking spot? That's a place that needs better parking. Or street planning. Or something, for god's sake, something. And as tough as it is to pass, it can be even tougher to park in Capitol Hill. There has to be a solution — and more construction isn't it. Making 13th and 14th one way in each direction helped — maybe some of those side streets need to be one-way, too? We don't know the answer, but it can't possibly be to wait for flying cars and sky cycles and whatnot...can it?
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Southwest Denver is where it's at these days—until it too is "discovered."
Barnum/Valverde/MarLee/Ruby Hill: Keep on Keepin' on
Congrats to these four southwest Denver neighborhoods for resisting the gentrification pull so common to most of the rest of Denver, and also staying relatively affordable in a sea of exclusionary home prices. When we hear of a friend or family member considering Denver as their next hometown, these are the neighborhoods we think of first, because the mix of culture and some semblance of budget-conscience-buying is unbeatable in the Mile High City. 
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