An informational meeting organized by Colorado Department of Transportation officials was overtaken by local protesters Thursday night at the Swansea Recreation Center in Central Denver.
Officials had come to detail next-step plans on the $1.2 billion “Central 70” interstate project set to begin early next year. Construction crews will remake 10 miles of I-70 that cut through the neighborhoods of Elyria and Swansea between Interstate 25 and Chambers Road. The officials never got the chance to give their planned presentations. The protesters wanted answers, not information, and mostly, they wanted to halt the project.
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From Denver Post
By Aldo Svaldi | email@example.com | The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: February 16, 2017 at 5:02 am | UPDATED: February 16, 2017 at 12:29 pm
In the 80216 ZIP code, an index of home values is up 30.1 percent the past year and 250 percent the past five years, handily beating U.S. and Denver averages.
That strong property appreciation is a testament to both how depressed prices were and how desperate buyers are for affordable properties.
Some residents fear the severity of the area’s environmental problems are being ignored and remediation plans remain inadequate. Three major redevelopment projects, including reconstruction of Interstate 70, are combining with booming home and land values to push long-time residents out, said Cdebaca.
“I feel like the new people are clueless” of past polluters, she said. “Sellers aren’t required to report it, and the institutional knowledge is being displaced.”
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Earthjustice’s civil rights complaint says the working-class neighborhood has coped for 50 years with the freeway’s original construction. Now it would bear the brunt of new negative effects on residents’ health, quality of life and economic well-being, since dozens would have to relocate. The complaint says the disproportionate impact would violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because CDOT likely will receive federal funding for the project.
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Until now, the impact-statement drafts have cited modeling from the Denver Regional Council of Governments that goes through 2035, but White said DRCOG recently updated its models through 2040. The Clean Air Act requires federal environmental impact documents to include data from the peak year of expected air emissions in the project area; given metro Denver’s growth, White said, 2040 will have worse emissions than 2035.
That projection hits on a key point of controversy over the project. The Sierra Club and community groups in March filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, challenging recently changed federal air quality standards that allow for the I-70 project.
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When Jones starts May 23, she and her deputy directors — longtime deputy Todd Wenskoski and Christopher Pacheco, who is leaving his position as a public works senior engineer and project manager — face plenty of challenges. Among them is continued skepticism from some residents of those areas that the city can balance developer and neighborhood interests. Many also strongly oppose the state’s I-70 project, which the Hancock administration has supported.
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Community organizations representing neighborhoods in north Denver adjacent to I-70 joined the Sierra Club Tuesday in a suit to challenge new EPA guidance relied upon by the Colorado Department of Transportation to determine that increased emissions from the expanded interstate highway would not violate national air quality standards. CDOT is proposing to eventually expand the current 6 lane highway to 10 travel lanes and 4 frontage lanes.
Under EPA’s earlier Clean Air Act requirements, the project could not qualify for federal funds because it would cause particulate pollution to violate the air standards on high pollution days. READ MORE
As stated in previous correspondence, we are concerned about the proposed transformation of Globeville
Landing Park from its existing conditions to a major detention and conveyance area without full discussion with the community. The process and proposed utilization of the park is unacceptable. As we discussed, a community meeting in January is essential. Please propose date, time, place for that meeting.
We expect that in addition to your presence, public works, storm drainage, parks and NDCC will be present.
Set forth below are particular issues that must be addressed at the community meeting:
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