The ‘strong neighborhoods’ of District 4

Second-term council member focuses on community lead development

Posted 7/5/19

Editor’s Note: District 4 covers the Wellshire, University Hills, Goldsmith, Hampden, Hampden South, Kennedy and Souhmoor Park neighborhoods. When Kendra Black first ran for District 4 of city …

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The ‘strong neighborhoods’ of District 4

Second-term council member focuses on community lead development

Posted

Editor’s Note: District 4 covers the Wellshire, University Hills, Goldsmith, Hampden, Hampden South, Kennedy and Souhmoor Park neighborhoods.

When Kendra Black first ran for District 4 of city council in 2015, she wanted to be an advocate for the area. While development was happening all over the city, neighborhoods in her district saw little investment, Black said.

She began her campaign on the platform of More for Four. Once she was elected, she said she became like a “squeaky wheel downtown,” working to get more projects started in her district.

Her work is beginning to pay off. In May, the city signed a contract for a new park in University Hills, a pet project that Black spent nearly five years working on.

Although Black — who was re-elected in May — is pushing for more projects in District 4, she said she wants to create balance on where that density is going. She is also working to implement neighborhood plans to help guide that density.

“We need to have a plan with architectural standards,” Black said. “We have a lot of community meetings to ask people what they’d like us to work on.”

One development project Black has her eye on is a Kmart that recently closed at South Monaco Parkway and East Hampden Avenue. She would like a project there that the community will value.

Hampden is a busy area for the councilmember. Black said she would also like to see safety improvements along Hampden. Additionally, she is looking into rezonings along the major street to help better prepare the area for some new development.

The light rail is also on Black’s checklist. The Denver Regional Council of Governments recently gave the city a grant for improvements to three light rail stations in District 4 — the Yale, Belleview and Southmoor stations.

Once those improvements are made at the stations, Black said development in the area will likely follow. She’s ready to bring community and volunteer groups together for new projects that may come down the pipeline.

“When it gets developed I want to make sure that the community is part of that process,” she said. “We’re bringing those groups together.”

Black also has heard from residents that they want more local businesses and restaurants in the district, which has many chains, Black said.

District 4, primarily developed in the 1950s, is a relatively new area to the city, Black said. Because of this, the area is very car focused.

“People really want to be able to walk places,” she said. “We don’t have any sort of Main Street.”

A unique factor in District 4 is that it shares a border with four other Colorado cities — Aurora, Englewood, Cherry Hills Village and Glenwood Village. Many of the people in District 4 probably spend some of their time in these other cities and vice versa.

Having lived in District 4 for most of her life, Black said the area has good schools and local parks for people raising families. The central location is ideal as well, she said.

“I like our strong stable neighborhoods,” Black said. “We have really wonderful parks.”

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