‘No Street Like It’: East Colfax Neighbors Concerned About Urban Renewal Plans

DENVER (CBS4)– East Colfax Avenue in Denver is one of the last neighborhoods left that hasn’t been touched by urban renewal. That means it needs a lot of updating but the people who live and work there want to make sure along with those updates the neighborhood keeps its character and that they won’t be displaced.

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One of those people is Erik Duplessis. He has owned his own barber shop called Precision Kutz and Stylze on East Colfax for 16 years.

He loves the location, “There’s no street like it in the United States.”

Recently Duplessis and his fellow business owners got some news about the area they think is troubling.

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“It was slated for redevelopment by urban renewal and a lot of concerns that we have throughout the community is that we will be out-priced,” said Duplessis.

They worry that if they have to move they will not only lose their homes and their businesses but also that the neighborhood will lose its character.

“We’re just hoping that we could work with the city and that our voice doesn’t fall on deaf ears and that maybe instead of having pressure on us to leave maybe there’s incentive for us to stay,” said Duplessis.

Curt Upton is a city planner with the City of Denver. He and his colleagues have met with the community and he says they want the people in East Colfax to stay. He said he has already heard that rising property values are making it hard for people to continue to live and work in the neighborhood, but that there are resources for business who need help. He also says the city wants the community’s ideas and opinions to shape the development plan.

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“We’re really excited about continuing this dialogue. It’s been really constructive,” said Upton.

Duplessis remains skeptical that the city truly understood the neighborhood’s concerns, “It was more like they received it. I don’t know that they absorbed it.”

The city will meet with neighbors to present their redevelopment plan before any final decision is made. If you would like to weigh in or get more information about the project you visit the City of Denver’s website.