Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Su Teatro is safe in the Denver Civic, but what happens to Elyria?

One of the best moves of the year -- both literally and figuratively -- was the city's last-second save of the Denver Civic Theatre for Su Teatro, which just opened its first production in the heart of Denver's historic Santa Fe Drive area.

Su Teatro was already in the process of creating a new home a dozen blocks south and things weren't going well in this economy. Now, the theater company is out from under that burden. But it leaves behind yet another home: the Elyria School, the building at 4725 High Street that Su Teatro had bought back in 1989 for $142,000, and is now selling for $435,000.

What's it leaving behind there? A lot of concern from neighbors, who complain that Elyria, already in the shadows of the I-70 viaduct, is being ignored by the city altogether.

The city had been looking for buyers for the school; developer James Mercado stepped up. He wants to make it a center for female military veterans returning to civilian life, including the Odyssey Family Residences, a new building that would be constructed in the parking lot with housing for 32 families, and in the former school, a community center with a health clinic and cybercafe open to the neighborhood.

But the neighborhood isn't entirely thrilled with the concept. Tom Anthony, president of the Elyria Neighborhood Association, fired off an angry e-mail last week in response to Mayor John Hickenlooper's gubernatorial campaign request that citizens send him ideas. Anthony has a lot of them, the primary one being: stop ignoring Elyria.

Mercado, who's pushing the Odyssey plan, will hold a neighborhood meeting at 6 p.m. tonight; for more information, call 720-394-0972.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun