New Denver organization hopes to fill in gaps

Neighbors for Greater Capitol Hill will cover four north central neighborhoods

Posted 9/8/19

After leaving Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods in April, a small group has formed their own neighborhood organization: Neighbors for Greater Capitol Hill. Caroline Schomp, the vice president for …

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New Denver organization hopes to fill in gaps

Neighbors for Greater Capitol Hill will cover four north central neighborhoods

Posted

After leaving Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods in April, a small group has formed their own neighborhood organization: Neighbors for Greater Capitol Hill.

Caroline Schomp, the vice president for Neighbors of Greater Capitol Hill, said that she and her eight fellow board members are hoping to fill the gap of CHUN’s coverage.

“We had been feeling for some time that there was not enough focus on the matters that actually concern the neighbors,” she said. “We thought this was a good way to fix that problem.”

Schomp added that Neighbors for Greater Capitol Hill is hoping to have more neighborhood assemblies, in order to get as many voices heard on city or development projects as possible. “There hasn’t been much activity along those lines,” she said.

The new organization will cover Capitol Hill, Uptown, Cheesman Park and City Park West. Schomp said that development in City Park West in particular has not been addressed as much as it should.

Travis Leiker, the president of the CHUN board, said the organization would continue working with other registered neighborhood organizations (RNOs) whenever it made sense to. “We wish any RNO all the best in their endeavors,” he said.

CHUN is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and is refining its mission to have a greater focus on the future of the community, Leiker added.

The new mission means it is “doing things differently than what CHUN has done historically in the past,” he said. “That’s not to say that disagreements aren’t going to arise.”

Members of Neighbors for Greater Capitol Hill wanted to concentrate on select areas because there are several other neighborhoods in north central Denver that already have robust neighborhood groups, such as Cherry Creek North and Alamo Placita, Schomp said. They also did not want to cover the same footprint as CHUN.

“It just didn’t make any sense to us to try to replicate that,” she said.

CHUN covers from 22nd Avenue to First Avenue and from Colorado Boulevard to Broadway. This includes 10 different neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has a number of representatives on the CHUN board. For more information go to www.chundenver.org.

For now, Neighbors for Greater Capitol Hill has two committees: historic preservation, which will be headed by former CHUN member and founder Michael Henry. There will also be a committee on zoning, land-use, transportation and licensing.

“Recent actions and priorities by the leadership and the board of Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods are very different from those of the neighborhood-serving organization that I worked with and loved for 48 years,” Henry said in an email on his transition to the new organization.

Neighbors for Greater Capitol Hill filed its paperwork with the city in July. The zoning committee is meeting every other month, while historic preservation will meet monthly.

City rules state that new registered neighborhood organizations must apply to the city in January or July. Although a lot of specific details, such as membership dues and when the general board meeting will be held, have yet to be sorted out, Schomp and her fellow board members felt that they did not wish to wait.

While Schomp said there has been a little confusion about the two different neighborhood groups, she hopes that residents will see Neighbors of Greater Capitol Hill as a positive force trying to improve those four neighborhoods. Neighborhood organization are still relevant, she added.

“The city needs to have the citizen’s voice, coming from the citizen’s point of view and not from what the city wants,” Schomp said. “We provide a check on the city.”

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