Auraria neighborhood "doomed," predicted 1975 campus impact study

westside neighborhood traffic volumes high accident locations.jpg
A graphic showing "high accident locations."
Failing to work with the community could lead to "severe problems of sabotage and vandalism," the study suggests. It goes on to discuss the general poverty of Lincoln Park residents (median incomes in the area were half those of Denver residents as a whole), the lack of thriving retail in the Santa Fe corridor -- in an area now teeming with brewpubs and art galleries, Joe's Buffet was then the largest restaurant -- and the blue-collar Democrat politics of the community, with "a minority group of young people that can be described from activist to militant to revolutionary to terrorist. There are many recorded incidents of bombings and shootings in connection with political decisions."

That may seem a mite overstated even for the polarized racial politics of 1975, but the study goes on to present some sobering stats and trends to support its assertion that, unless intensive planning is done to integrate the new higher ed center with the neighborhood, "It appears that the community and its sociological components are doomed."

Ironically, one of the measures advocated by the authors -- allowing local residents substantial access to Auraria's athletic fields -- is one of the selling points for the latest development surge on campus, which is prompting Metropolitan State University to build new ball fields south of Colfax on contaminated industrial land. Over time, even institutional planners can learn something from the lessons of the past.

For more of the 1975 view of what Auraria might become, see the excerpt below. But first, a couple of other bits of fallout from my feature. I've been chided by the University of Colorado Denver (no longer "at" Denver) branding police for referring to their institution as UCD. After spending big bucks on new branding campaigns, they tell me that's so...1975. But until they come up with a better acronym, "CU Denver" sounds so...dumb. Other vigilant readers have taken me to task for referring to "Buffalo pride" when everyone who's up on their branding (me excluded, obviously) knows that UCD (oops) recently declared that its mascot is Milo the lynx. They may not have an obscenely bloated athletic budget like "CU Boulder," but they have their own mascot, and that's a start.

Now, here's some more from that study.

Auraria Study 1975

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Auraria campus expansion: See plans for new athletic fields and more."

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