It has been my honor to serve the City Council District 5 community over the last three years. Throughout my time, I’ve committed to bringing the voice of the people back to city government. As we embark on summer adventures, I want to take a moment to reflect on my accomplishments over the last year. The following provides a snapshot of completed and current projects and initiatives my office has been working on to respond to the needs of our residents.
Gun buyback program
Crime in Denver has risen over the past several years, and we have seen an uptick in senseless acts of gun violence both in our community and across the country. My office is dedicated to making Denver a safer place to live and work. To support public safety improvements being implemented by the Denver Police Department, I created a gun buyback program in partnership with Colorado Springs-based nonprofit RAWtools, the City of Aurora and the Denver Broncos. The purpose of the program is to help reduce incidents of gun violence in our community by reducing the availability of weapons being stolen from cars and homes and used in other crimes. We are providing monthly opportunities for residents to anonymously exchange their unwanted firearms for gift cards. To date, more than 360 weapons have been turned in, melted down, and turned into garden tools. Details can be found online at denvergov.org/district5.
Expanding the Housing Affordability Project
Affordable housing is one of our city’s great needs, and District 5 residents identified it as a top priority in 2021. On June 6, Denver City Council approved the Expanding Housing Affordability project, which requires new residential developments of 10 units or more to designate a percentage of the units as affordable. The program also raises linkage fees that support the city’s Affordable Housing Fund and incentivizes adaptive reuse to help stop the scrapes we see in our neighborhoods. This legislation will create many more deed-restricted affordable units in Denver, and directly addresses the need for more affordable housing in our city. More information on the project can be found on denvergov.org/affordabilityincentive.
Denver City Council recently approved a new council map outlining the city’s 11 city council district boundaries. The new map achieved the desired outcomes of District 5 residents, incorporated feedback from neighborhoods across the entire city, and fulfilled all the charter and resolution requirements that direct the process. I believe the 2023 map does an excellent job of balancing the varying interests identified. Residents will vote for a councilmember in their new district in April 2023, but their current councilmember will continue to serve them until July 2023 when the new mayor and city councilmembers are sworn in. See the approved map at tinyurl.com/2023map.
Traffic safety improvements
To address concerns around traffic safety, my office conducted three traffic studies in partnership with the engineering firm, Fehr & Peers, and DOTI. Taking community feedback into consideration, we prioritized traffic calming measures that will enhance walkability, create safer street crossings and fill sidewalk gaps to better connect transit stops and nearby schools. DOTI will install these improvements over the next several years. Some improvements include a stoplight at Alameda Avenue and South Newport Way, a rapid flashing beacon crossing at East Sixth Avenue Parkway and Clermont Street, road-narrowing pinch points at East 14th Avenue and Glencoe Street, sidewalks and bike lanes in several areas of the district, and parking improvements along Dayton Street. Find more details at denvergov.org/District5.
Looking ahead to the next year, our team will continue our work to serve the residents of District 5. Stay tuned for updates on the following projects and legislation:
• Supporting small businesses in East Colfax by implementing security measures recommended by Denver Police Department through Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design assessments.
• Saving residents money by exempting diapers, including incontinence products, from Denver sales tax.
• Ensuring Denver voters have access to clear information on their ballots by updating Denver’s voting timelines, ballot titles and Bluebook requirements.
• Making owner-opposed historic designations fairer by aligning city council’s hearing requirements with the Historic Preservation Commission’s hearing policies.
• Implementing the East Area Plan recommendations to reduce car-centered uses and promote ground floor activation through a legislative rezoning.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office if there’s anything we can do to support you.
Amanda Sawyer represents District 5 on Denver City Council. She can be reached at DenverCouncil5@denvergov.org or 720-337-5555.
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