You won't see a cart selling Pinche Tacos on the 16th Street Mall this summer. No, the Downtown Denver Partnership didn't have the huevos to let the street-food company operate with that name. After all, pinche roughly translates to "fucking," and DDP spokeswoman Sarah Neumann says the booster group has to hold to certain standards.
While she acknowledges some souvenir stores on the mall sell T-shirts with all kinds of off-color references, those don't damage the business prospects of nearby stores. "It's different than having a word that is offensive to certain people," she says. "It can feel like splitting hairs, I know. " (For more on that — and how you can help rename the Pinche cart something more palatable — see page 44.)
But even as Pinche Tacos has been told to hit the road, the DDP is gearing up to put many more carts downtown and is looking for someone to ramp up its mall-vendor program. Whoever fills the newly created position of 16th Street Marketplace Manager will be responsible for more than doubling the number of vendors — from the current 32 to 85 — and creating a vision for who those vendors might be. "We want to bring in more of a mix," Neumann says. "Everything from florists to books and fruits and vegetables."
The goal is to have a new vendor system and vision in place by the time the mall is renovated — some day in the distant future. The DDP has put forward three possible plans; the Denver Department of Public Works in expected to pick one in August.
Another thing you won't see much on the mall this summer — not officially, at least — are bikes.
Despite the popularity of Denver Cruiser Rides and the April kick-start of the B-cycle program, bikes are only allowed on the mall on Sundays. One other exception, at least for a few hours: Bike to Work Day, on June 23. The Denver Pavilions is working on a plan to close Glenarm Street between 15th and 16th streets that day and turn it into the largest bike rack in the state.
"It will be a sea of bikes," says the Pavilions' Wendy Manning, who is still working out the details. "It could be something that becomes a trend in the future."
Scene and herd: Three years after the Colorado Legislature approved the construction of a Fallen Heroes Memorial in Lincoln Park honoring those who died after September 11, 2001, in the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, the commission in charge of designing the monument is ready to begin collecting the $250,000 needed to build it.
"We are going to formally unveil the plans on May 29," just before Veterans' Day, says Rebecca Rippetoe Kim, who's in charge of fundraising. "It will all be based on private donations." Kim's brother, 27-year-old Army Captain Russell Rippetoe, was killed in 2003 by a car-bomb explosion in western Iraq.
The memorial's design — it's six feet high and fourteen feet across — includes six sides, one each for World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and the War on Terror.
That last term, coined by the Bush Administration, caught some flak in March when Democratic state senator Paul Weissmann said it wasn't relevant now that Bush is out of office. The memorial's design was nevertheless approved, and Kim says the concerns didn't hold up her fundraising plans. "My kids will never know my brother, just through stories and pictures," she notes. "So for all kids who go down to the Capitol, it's very important to them."