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John Mosley served in World War II as a Tuskegee Airman.
John Mosley served in World War II as a Tuskegee Airman.
Courtesy of John-Claude Futrell

Four Names Remain as Contenders to Replace Stapleton

After the first week of voting on a new name for Stapleton, the list of nine finalists has been narrowed down to just four: Central Park, Mosley, Skyview and Concourse.

There will be two more rounds of voting for Stapleton residents before the ultimate replacement is announced on August 1. The neighborhood was built on the former home of Stapleton airport, for which it was named; in 1944, the then-active airport was renamed as a tribute to Ben Stapleton, who was a prominent member of the Ku Klux Klan when he was first elected Denver mayor in 1923.

Here are the four remaining finalists, and the descriptions:

Central Park

The Stapleton neighborhood already has an area named Central Park, and Central Park Boulevard runs past the park on its western edge. Renaming Stapleton as Central Park would fit in line with other neighborhoods that have taken their names from parks that lie within them, such as City Park, according to members of the committee that came up with the final list of names sent to voters. But perhaps the biggest selling point for this name is how safe it would be. "The name-change issue has been divisive for our community the last few years. It has sometimes brought out the best and worst in us and created tensions among neighbors. Central Park would be non-controversial, natural and drama-less, which is what our community could use right now," the committee set up by the Stapleton United Neighbors (SUN) organization says in its description of the option. Central Park got the most votes in the first round, according to a chart produced by SUN.

Mosley

This choice would pay homage to John Mosley, a Tuskegee Airman and Denver native, and Edna Wilson-Mosley, his wife and the first at-large Aurora City Council person of color. The couple's grandson, John-Claude Futrell, an Aurora resident, has been campaigning for Stapleton residents to choose Mosley as the neighborhood's new moniker.

"We’ve really already accomplished our goal, and that’s been about opening up the rich history of Denver with our neighbors," says Futrell.

Since Mosley is a single, two-syllable word, it would be "an inexpensive and business-friendly replacement for Stapleton, easy for new logo and signage, and naturally pronounceable," according to the advisory committee.

Additionally, the committee believes that "Mosley addresses many of the categories the Community has expressed a desire for in a new name. It is aviation-related, historically significant, geographically connected to the current area, business-friendly and inspirational. Mosley honors a family, not just one person." Mosley got the second-highest number of votes in the first round of voting.

Skyview

Waxing poetic, the advisory committee writes, "Whether watching fireworks along the Front Range, experiencing a blood moon from the sledding hill, or taking in a sunset or sunrise, viewing the celestial beauty that surrounds us draws us together in awe. In raising our heads up to take in our sky view, we are reminded of the enormousness of the universe."

The name Skyview would also capture the area's aviation heritage. "From earliest days of aviation, the dream was to conquer the sky, extending the boundaries of human endeavor to transcend the adage, ‘the sky’s the limit.' Bringing together the nostalgia of historical air travel and aspirations of those early aviators can give us a name that aspires to give voice to values like diversity, sustainability and access. It is fitting to have a name that directs our thoughts upward to what can be," the committee adds. Skyview came in third in the voting.

Concourse

Naturally evoking images of the inside of an airport, Concourse is versatile in that it can also mean "an act or process of coming together and merging" and a "meeting produced by voluntary or spontaneous coming together," according to the committee.

The committee suggests that choosing Concourse is an "opportunity to reinvent the word as people use it and describe and transcend our neighborhood into 'a coming together of people,' where paths meet and rebuild back to what was intended in the Green Book," the guiding redevelopment document for the Stapleton neighborhood that was penned in the 1990s. Concourse came in last of the four.

Activists have been pushing for decades to remove the Stapleton name from the neighborhood. But over the past few months, as protests erupted around the country over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis,  momentum quickly built for a change.

On June 17, the community delegates to the Master Community Association of Stapleton voted in favor of changing the name, which set off the formal process that will culminate with the announcement of the new name on August 1.

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