Could a Sunflower Market create an oasis in the food desert of East Colfax?

After more than a year of study, the Denver Food Action Task Force delivered a report to a city council committee yesterday detailing what can be done to put gardens of eating in the city's current food deserts, including streamlining the permitting process for grocery stores. And the city could take concrete action on that advice today, when the Denver Planning Board will vote on whether to approve the rezoning needed to make a Sunflower Market on the north side of East Colfax between Garfield and Monroe streets a reality.

The market would be part of a retail development on the long-vacant site of the Rosen-Novak and Elway car dealerships, which is owned by the Rosen family.

The neighborhood is currently without a supermarket (the closest store could be Marczyk Fine Foods II, which opened a mile to the east this summer); developers estimate that a Sunflower Market there would create about a hundred new jobs, with an average payroll of over $2 million.

"While we have received a tremendous amount of support for our proposal to locate a Sunflower Market on Colfax Avenue between Garfield Street and Monroe Street, we also face some strong voices of dissent," writes Sean Mandel of Rosen Properties, the developer of the project. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve the livability of our neighborhood. This will not happen without your support."

Rosen Properties has set up a website with more info; today's meeting at 3 p.m. in the Wellington E. Webb building is open to the public.

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