Denver Direct: Open letter to Mayor Vidal

Friday, April 22, 2011

Open letter to Mayor Vidal

Globeville Civic Association #1
Elyria Neighborhood Association

Globevllle Civic Association #2
United Community Action Network

April 22nd , 2011

Mayor Guillermo Vidal
City and County of Denver

Dear Mayor Vidal:
In your speech to Inter-Neighbortlood Cooperation this year you stated you weren’t planning to take a passive role during your brief tenure as Mayor. While your career in public service is long and storied , we know your current position as the City’s Chief Executive is a unique and authoritative role. We sincerely urge you to utilize it as you see fit. For this reason we are calling your attention to the current “emergencie du jour” in the north neighborhoods.

Since the Consent Decree on ASARCO was first issued in 1993, the people of the north neighborhoods, and particularily Globevilie, have dealt with the foul legacy of nearly a century of a metals smelting operation that began without oversight and ended without closure. At this juncture the City is being asked to comply with an arrangement that has taken years of negotiation, however without engagement of the local community. Consequently, although several important steps have been taken towards healing this “open sore” in Globeville, those steps have utterly bypassed the residents of the community most affected by the outcomes, and reached a conclusion and a permanent direction that has taken us unawares and left us as bystanders in the vision of our own future.

While Councilwoman Montero has already taken a position. not bothering to ask for or append a letter from the residents, and continues her maternalistic march pursuing her own agenda, the north neighborhoods have ideas and responsibilities of their own. Furthermore, we live here.

While we agree forming a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District similar to what has funded the planned development of Stapleton and other communities is an important step in our future, we object to having been left out of its program and its Development. The bureaucrats who have been planning the future for us first presented their plans for the May vote on March 9 . The cursory and tardy
involvement of the residents and stakeholders who will permanently live with their proposal is unacceptable. Furthermore the thesis of the current TIF plan, that an additional $10 million in public financing is needed to achieve the “desired” goal of stirring the existing toxic mess with slurry and leaving it there, is completely unsubstantiated minus the existence of a Globeville Neighbortlood Plan. Under a “worst case” scenario the entire $10 million may never be repaid. Under a
“best case” none of the $10 million should be needed. Imagine trying to operate the Stapleton TIF absent a neighbortlood plan; or the Denver Pavilions TIF without an architectural plan. Yet, someone is telling you we need an ASARCO TIF without having a plan to inform the economics DURA represents it demands.

For instance, who would want to take possession of 80 acres of property that was the cause of hundreds of acres of toxic contamination still remaining in Globeville. Elyria and Swansea, especially if it’s still contaminated and deed restricted and liable to be a nuisance for time immemorial and slated for low value use like industrial? We think the question is rhetorical.

On the other hand, who would want to own 80 acres of property with a great view, near the Platte River Greenway and large parks, near a new commuter rail stop, a few minutes’ drive from Coors Field and the Pepsi Center, with a great retail center off a major interstate highway and a solid, viable development plan supported by three historic neighborhoods leading the way in the New Energy
economy? We think that question is also rhetorical.

In other words, Mayor Vidal, the bureaucrats, in their own quaint way, are putting the cart before the horse. Here in the north neighborhoods we might have been a bit too trusting, but we do understand if the cart is in front of the horse, the horse can’t see where it’s going. Adams County has the most to gain from this proposal, but the citizens of Globeville have the most to lose, and that, Mr.Mayor, is YOUR territory.

For this reason we beg you to intervene in this process and demand that the Globeville Neighborhood Plan be adopted first and foremost prior to any action being taken on the ASARCO site, obviously a key piece of the future for all parties, and one that demands a context before it is “rolled in slurry.”

Yours truly.
(all signed)

Margret Escamilla, President
Globeville Civic Association I

Armando Payan. President
Globeville Civic Association II

John Zapien, ex-President
Globeville Civic Association II

Dave Oletski, Vice-President
Globeville Civic Association I

Jaunita Gable, President
Elyria Neighborhood Assn

Drew Dutcher, Vice-President
Elyria Neighborhood Assn

Tomas R. Anthony, President
United Community Action Network, Inc.

Max Weyker, Vice-President
United Community Action Network, Inc.