May 2014

 
Councilwoman Kniech, Mayor Hancock, Denver County Judge John Marcucci and formerly homeless Denver resident Sean Stevenson at the
Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community for homeless individuals Councilwoman Kniech first met Mr. Stevenson at Project Homeless Connect in the Fall of 2013.  He has been living at Ft. Lyons, working at the commissary, and maintaining his sobriety for more than five months.   

 

In this Issue

Welcome from Councilwoman Kniech

We Mean Business: Fresh Produce and Cottage Food Sales

Bottom Line: Multimodal and Affordable Housing Priorities for 2015 Budget

Sustainable City: Solid Waste Modernization

Urban Tapestry

City Snapshots

Find Us on the Web

www.denvergov.org/robinkniech

 Follow Robin Kniech, Denver City Council At-Large

 Follow us on Twitter @KniechAtLarge


In the Media

The Denver Post

What can Denver do when a hot housing market hurts?

Denver City Council oks cottage food rules

The Denver Business Journal

Denver residential community gardens given go-ahead to sell produce

Westword

Trading greens for greenbacks now legal in Denver - with a "cottage foods" permit

Greater Park Hill News

Affordable Homeownership Keeps Denver Vibrant

Life on Capitol Hill

Capturing a Slice of the Future for Working Families

The North Denver Tribune

Denver diversity: inclusionary housing ordinances

 

Upcoming Events

Public Meeting: Colfax Corridor Connections

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
5:30pm - 7:30pm
Knights of Columbus Hall 
1555 Grant Street         

Public Meeting: Federal Boulevard Improvements

Thursday, August 14th, 2014
5:30pm - 7:00pm
Barnum Recreation Center
360 Hooker Street

For more city events click here.  


Useful Numbers  

Police Non-Emergency: (720) 913-2000.

Denver Recycles: (720) 865-6900

Denver Channel 8: (720) 865-2308

Call 3-1-1 for:

Graffiti Removal

Non-Emergency & Info

Parking Management

Neighborhood Inspection Services

Noise Violations

Animal Control

Permits & Licenses

Summer: A Welcome from Councilwoman Kniech  

 

This weekend's grand opening of Denver Union Station took more than a decade of leadership from the city, state, region and RTD, as well as federal innovation and private sector development financing.  But the opening was also a personally moving moment for me, because so much of my own evolution as a leader involved the Union Station project.  I am proud of my early work with a coalition of community organizations to ensure fair wages for service workers, apprenticeship training, LEED standards, and yes, finally, affordable housing, would be a part of the finished product.  It was my appointment to the Denver Union Station Project Authority in late 2008 that really changed my life, though.  For the first time, I sat at a decision-making table as part of a team overseeing half a billion taxpayer dollars.  I learned the intricacies of transportation financing, the rhythm of a large infrastructure project, and the tensions of joining vision with reality.  Private development was as important to financing this project as construction apprentices and journeymen were to building it, proving that good outcomes can involve and benefit all these constituencies.  My part in this project was so very tiny, but its role in my life and in the future of this community is truly monumental.  The 2014 Union Station opening is just the beginning.  We have decades of new, future transportation investment and connections to plan for, and I look forward to working with similarly diverse constituencies, from low-wage commuters to regional transportation policy funders, at the drawing board that will write that future. 

Alongside multi-modal transportation, local food is another sustainability priority for 2014.  This spring, I am sponsoring my first-ever legislation coordinated with the season: a zoning amendment to allow sales of Fresh Produce and Cottage Foods as a home occupation.  I am thankful for the engaged communities who researched and developed this proposal, the best work at the City is done in partnerships like these. 

Dozens of partners, from market developers to affordable housing advocates and service providers, continue to provide valuable feedback on proposed revisions to the City's Inclusionary Housing Ordinance.  We announced a concept for the new ordinance in April, it will be run through an economic testing model in May, and based on those results we expect to have a proposed ordinance for consideration this summer.  While important as a policy tool, Inclusionary Housing is only one small aspect of the solutions we need to keep Denver affordable for a mix of families, which is why a city-wide plan and a permanent, annual, sustainable source of local funding for affordable housing are priorities for the 2015 budget 

Forward. Together.

  

 

Councilwoman Robin Kniech     

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We Mean Business: Council Overwhelmingly Supports Access to Fresh, Healthy Produce

As we approach the end of the summer growing season, Denver gardeners now have another option for dealing with extra produce.  Sure, you can still get kids to eat only their veggies or put some in the freezer to last into winter months, but if you are looking for a way to make a little extra cash, why not sell your extra produce to friends and family this fall?  On Monday July 14, 2014, City Council overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Fresh Produce and Cottage Food Sales Ordinance, amending the Denver Zoning Code to allow for the sale of raw, uncut fruits and vegetables and low-risk value-added “cottage foods” as a residential home occupation.  The amendment, which brings Denver in compliance with the Colorado Cottage Food Act of 2012, expands access to fresh, healthy produce and supports Mayor Hancock’s citywide Sustainability Goals to foster food security for Denver residents, a challenging issue for many neighborhoods, particularly in low-income communities with little access to quality grocery stores.

The passage of the Fresh Produce and Cottage Food Sales Ordinance was a truly democratic venture.  The amendment was sponsored by Councilwoman Robin Kniech, with Councilmembers Susan Shepherd and Albus Brooks as co-sponsors, and was developed under the leadership of the Mayor’s Sustainable Food Policy Council and the support of the LiveWell Denver Regional Collaborative.

The ordinance went into effect on Friday July 18, 2014.  Information about the permitting process, rules and regulations, the 2012 Cottage Foods Act and more can be found here.

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Bottom Line: Denver Preschool Program ensures our youngest are ready to learn

Research shows that high-quality preschool has a powerful effect on student readiness to learn.  That’s why Denver has led the way nationally with a program devoted to making sure our youngest students have access to preschool. 

Denver voters approved the Denver Preschool Program in 2006, committing a sales tax of 12-cents on a $100 purchase to provide affordable preschool for any family in Denver with a 4-year-old.  Parents receive a tuition credit, which is scaled to household income and the quality of school attended. More than half of participating families served earn less than $30,000 a year.  Since 2007, 31,816 children have attended preschool through the program—one of the highest enrollment levels in the nation.

To ensure that our children have high-quality preschool experiences, the Denver Preschool Program also invests in training and programs for pre-schools, and there is a certification process in place so neighborhood preschools are meeting the educational needs of young students.  When DDP started, only 52 preschools were rated for quality--today, more than 252 preschools are quality rated.

The Denver Preschool Program is working.  An independent study last year showed 64 percent of third-graders who participated in the DPP posted advanced or proficient reading scores, compared to 58 percent of non-DPP students.  We know this program is working and preparing our students for school.

This November , Denver voters will have the opportunity to keep this program going for an additional 10 years.  The ballot measure also proposes a 3-cents on $100 increase to the existing tax to help keep pace with rising tuition costs, return to providing summer programing and provide more options for households seeking full- and extended-day preschool programs.  The Denver Preschool Program is a success story in providing more access to quality early education, and the entire Denver community benefits.

For more information, visit http://www.dpp.org/

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Sustainable City: Solid Waste Modernization

A summer filled with weekend barbeques and fresh vegetables from the garden sometimes leaves us with more waste than usual.  But where should it all go?  About 75% of what we throw away is actually “good stuff” that can be recycled or composted instead of thrown in the trash, but Denver’s rate of doing so is less than half the national average.  Over the past two years I have worked with my colleagues and city departments to speed the pace of modernizing our solid waste collection system and expanding recycling and composting programs.  With urging from Councilwoman Robb and I, the Mayor’s Office and Public Works created a Solid Waste Master Plan Implementation Task Force to get a plan on paper.  With broad input from experts, stakeholders, and neighborhood representatives, the Task Force is responsible for making recommendations on how best to implement our existing Master Plan, modernize Denver’s solid waste system, increase “diversion” from the landfill, and also how best to educate residents on using waste programs more effectively.  Click here to read more, including updates on the progress.

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Urban Tapestry

More than 100 community members came to discuss proposed revisions to Denver's Inclusionary Housing Ordinance at a meeting in July.  See their feedback here

Special thanks to one of Denver's youngest advocates for healthy food access, and congratulations to Saffron Spurlock for the first permit to sell fresh produce and cottage foods!

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City Snapshots

  9th Annual Kaiser Permanente Colfax Marathon hits Denver streets

Have you seen one of the many “26.2” stickers plastered to car windows and water bottles throughout Denver?  The 9th Annual Kaiser Permanente Colfax Marathon (which is 26.2 miles but also includes relays and shorter races) will talk place on Sunday, May 18th and if you haven’t been breaking in your sneakers all spring to train for the race, you can still sign up to volunteer or come and cheer on this year’s brave participants!  

 Free Benefit Concert to Save Historic Cranmer Park Sundial Plaza

Come enjoy a free concert on Sunday, June 8th from 4:00-8:00pm in Cramer Park to raise awareness for the planned restoration of the park’s iconic sundial.  As a focal point of Cramer Park, the historic sundial and spectacular mountain views draw large numbers of visitors annually, but many years of wear and tear have caused significant damage to the plaza.  The concert will feature local musicians including Petals of Spain, Joe Sampson, and Jen Korte and the Dirty Femmes, all covering famous songs about the sun.  Find more details here.  

► Denver Community Corrections Board Seeking Candidates

The Denver Community Corrections Board is seeking candidates.  The mission of the Denver Community Corrections Board is to ensure public safety, safeguard the rights of Denver residents and provide for the needs of offenders who will be supervised in the program.  The Community Corrections Board meets the third Wednesday of each month from 7:30–8:30am.  The deadline to apply is May 15, 2014.   

► Denver Unveils First Cultural Plan in 25 years

Denver has unveiled its first cultural plan in 25 years, IMAGING 2020.  Denver’s Cultural plan provides a strategic vision for the city’s arts, culture and creativity, and sets a bold agenda to achieve those goals over the next seven years.  The plan aims to support Denver Public Schools’ arts education strategic plan, increase the visibility of local artist and creative talents, and even addresses the need for affordable housing for artists.  Visit Denver Arts and Venues to learn more about IMAGINE 2020.  

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 ©2011 Robin Kniech, Denver City Council, At-Large, 1437 Bannock Street, Room 488, Denver, CO 80202. Email: kniechatlarge@denvergov.org. Phone: (720) 337-7712. Fax: (720) 865-9540.

Council Aides: Feven Netsanet (Feven.Netsanet@denvergov.org) & Laura Brudzynski (laura.brudzynski@denvergov.org).
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