The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that Denver is one of five finalists for a sought-after $30 million grant – seed money city leaders hope will spur the massive planned makeover of Sun Valley, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the state.
The city was one of 34 applicants for the Choice Implementation Neighborhood grant. Federal housing officials will be visiting Denver in the coming weeks to meet with city and Denver Housing Authority officials for a closer look at plans to turn Sun Valley into a community where people of all incomes live.
The neighborhood, consisting almost entirely of the Sun Valley public housing community, is tucked away between the Platte River and Federal Boulevard, just south of Mile High Stadium. It is made up largely of women and children, nearly all of whom live far below the federal poverty limit. The city has been working for several years on a plan to create a much more dense neighborhood that brings together a mix of market, workforce and public housing — without the forced displacement of the residents who live there now. Sun Valley’s location, just south of the Decatur Street light rail station and within a few minutes drive of downtown, makes it a prime spot for development in a city that is now booming. The transformation of what is now called the Sun Valley eco-district is expected to cost $600 million over a 10-year period.
“We’re excited that we are one of the five,” said DHA executive director Ismael Guerrero. “It’s a kickstart for the whole Sun Valley eco-district revitalization.”
The other finalists are in Boston, Massachusetts; Camden, New Jersey; Louisville, Kentucky; and St. Louis, Missouri. Guerrero says HUD will likely award four grants, each $30 million, and the winning cities will be announced in December.
Photo courtesy of the Denver Housing Authority. Sun Valley residents and community organizers discuss plans for the new Sun Valley neighborhood in 2012.