Denver's South Lincoln -- The Future Looks Bright Thanks to Recovery Funds

Last Friday, while on tour of Denver's La Alma-Lincoln neighborhood with Mayor John HIckenlooper, Governor Bill Ritter and Congresswoman Diana DeGette, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that the Denver Housing Authority would receive a $10 million grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- Public Housing Capital Funds -- for the first phase of the redevelopment of DHA South Lincoln Park Homes, a public housing development of 270 units built in 1954.

These ARRA funds are for the Creation of Energy Efficient Green Communities with new construction and will be used to develop 100 new senior/disabled units as well as community facilities in a mixed-income finance project adjacent to DHA's South Lincoln Homes site.

This is the first step in a comprehensive redevelopment of DHA's South Lincoln Homes project into a sustainable, mixed-use, mixed-income transit-oriented community. Phase I development of 100 new senior units is focused on delivering exceptional environmental efficiency and energy performance. The development will reduce energy costs, generate resident and PHA energy savings, and reduce overall energy consumption. New construction design will be a LEED Platinum system.

Additionally, the project will enhance many aspects of public health for residents, including increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables; improved non-vehicular access routes such as bicycle, pedestrian and mass transit routes; the transformation from a public-housing site into a mixed-income environment; and improved access to community amenities. It will also develop and enhance connections to the greater neighborhood through enhanced walking, bicycle and transit connections.

Planning experts across the nation tell us these factors create livable communities. After spending months working with DHA in their master planning efforts I am reassured that the redevelopment of South Lincoln Homes will provide transportation choices; promote equitable, affordable housing; enhance economic opportunities; support the existing South Lincoln Homes and La Alma-Lincoln Park communities and retain its strong cultural heritage while leverage investments for the neighborhood.

I want to congratulate Ismael Guerrero, DHA Executive Director, as well as the Local Resident Council, residents of South Lincoln, community representatives, stakeholders, City staff and partners for their tireless and endless commitment to the overall planning of the redevelopment and revitalization of this wonderful Denver neighborhood.

I couldn't be more excited that this development project is on track to be a national model that a lot of us in Denver will get to call home. Because of this, I want to make sure we continue to preserve the existing community assets that make this area a neighborhood. That is why I'm also fighting to keep the Byers Library open.

It is the only library slated for closure in the Mayor's proposed 2010 budget and I believe it is an invaluable civic asset that would be shortsighted to let go of in a fire sale during a low-value real estate market.

Please join me on Saturday, September 26th at 11 a.m. at Byers Library at 675 Santa Fe Drive for a rally to support keeping the doors open at this important neighborhood center. I hold strong to the belief that it is a moral obligation to continue providing library access to this community.