Obama admin. officials tour Denver sustainable growth areas
Associated Press Writer
DENVER – Federal officials praised a public housing project and historic Union Station on Friday as examples of the way the nation should build for the future, offering a mix of housing, retail and accessible mass transit.
They even came bearing money – a $10 million grant for the redevelopment of the South Lincoln Park Homes project – and said officials on all levels of government should collaborate to make it easier for such projects to succeed.
Adolfo Carrion, director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, joined Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson for the visit.
The trip included the tour of the two sites and an invitation-only forum attended by more than 170 people who support sustainable living initiatives.
The South Lincoln Park Homes development, operated by the Denver Housing Authority, is in a neighborhood built on a once-contaminated area.
A mass transit light-rail system has helped boost business in the area, and the grant will pay for ongoing redevelopment plans.
Union Station opened in 1870 to serve new railroad service in the city. Today, it is the central hub for the Regional Transportation District’s mass transit network and has helped attract housing and businesses to the area.
The government officials say their goal is see neighborhoods redeveloped with a mix of housing, businesses, education and entertainment within walking distance or a close ride away via bus or mass transit.
“That’s really what Americans are looking for today,” LaHood said.
The shift away from urban sprawl also will cut pollution from buildings and commuting vehicles, Donovan said.
During the forum, participants urged the officials to promote regional government collaboration on planning and infrastructure and financing for planning.
Juanita Vigil, 60, moved with her family to the South Lincoln Park neighborhood when she was 5 years old and returned about seven years ago. She walks to work and the grocery store and takes a nearby light rail when needed.
It has become much like it was when she was a child and everything the family needed was nearby. “That’s the future,” she said of her neighborhood.