Highpointe development a low point for besieged neighborhood

On paper, the redevelopment of the old Marriott at Hampden and I-25 looks like a dream deal for southeast Denver, complete with luxury apartments boasting "curated amenities" and a "lazy river" winding through the place. But Holly Ridge residents say that the project has been a nightmare for the neighborhood, involving months of traffic, debris and disruption, repeated violations of noise and safety codes, sewer backups, street and property damage -- and an anemic response from city officials to their complaints.

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Auraria campus expansion: See plans for new athletic fields and more

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This week's cover story, "Ghosts of Auraria," delves into the half-buried history of the campus, which is moving rapidly forward with hefty development plans that include three new flagship student-services buildings, a hotel, and a leap across Colfax to build new athletic fields on a contaminated industrial site. The changes are coming so fast you need a program to identify the players -- and a few good maps.

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Photos: Union Station tour digs dirt on transit hub, light rail

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Big pics below.
On Saturday, city planner, urban explorer and overseer of the DenverInfill blog Ken Schroeppel took a handful of Denverites on a tour of Union Station to discuss the just-opened Light Rail Plaza and the station's future.

Here's an inside look at the project.

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Emerson apartment complex inches toward approval despite complaints

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A lengthy administrative battle over a 42-unit apartment complex, to be built on the corner of a historic block of grand single-family homes on the south end of Capitol Hill, appears to be just about over. But opponents of the 777 Emerson Lofts say the review of the ever-evolving project by the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission failed to address several significant changes to the design before the LPC gave its approval to the proposal last week.

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Garden-In-A-Box expands water-saving effort

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A couple of recent posts in these parts have discussed the huge demand for new water diversion projects that could be facing the Front Range in a few years. But one of the simpler solutions -- xeriscaping -- tends to conjure up images of barren front yards filled with rocks and cacti. Fortunately, just in time for spring gardening fever, residents across the metro area now have access to one of the niftier solutions to the problem.


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Chicken Coop Tour hatches promise of job creation: Kenny Be's Worst-Case Scenario

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full comic below
It is probably safe to say the jobs that were lost during America's Great Recession will never come back, each a casualty of an unsustainable economic system. All new jobs will be created as society transforms into a sustainable future.

Attend the October 2, 2010, Inaugural Denver Chicken Coop Tour (sponsored by Denver Urban Homesteading and Denver Botanic Gardens; tickets $20) and see how the backyard chicken industry will be a leading generator of new jobs...

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FasTracks: Webcast this morning of DIA groundbreaking (and possible Anubis attack)

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It's hard not to be excited about the 10:30 a.m. groundbreaking today of the FasTracks East Corridor rail line at DIA. After all, that means in a few short years folks will be riding the rails from Union Station to the airport, and passing through fantastic creations by Calatrava along the way. RTD's live feed of the groundbreaking will capture shovels hitting the dirt not far from DIA's demonic blue mustang -- and at the very spot Anubis the Death God recently stood!

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Flipping off Obama in Grand Junction

President Barack Obama's Saturday appearance at Central High School in Grand Junction was a consistently civil event, particularly compared to healthcare town halls like the one staged by Representative Ed Perlmutter earlier this month. But predictably given the number of national media representatives in town to cover the get-together, there was plenty of hubbub outside the gymnasium where Obama spoke -- and no lack of grandstanding. Above, check out a clip of a man who proudly gave the finger to Obama's motorcade. The highlight? HIm narrating his daring move with the line, "Getting ready for the flip-off...." Hope he didn't pull anything.

After the jump, check out two more videos: a photo montage that attempts to equate healthcare opposition to patriotism by substituting natural sound for a stirring rendition of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." as well as footage featuring a woman sure that the current plan won't let her keep her current doctor, but uncertain what part of the bill creates this edict. She also points out that Obama isn't God, because only God is God. Betcha it says that right on His driver's license. His truth is marching on!

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Columnist chronicles Denver's New Urbanism conference on the Huffington Post

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Photo by Jonathan Shikes
The new-urbanist enclave of Highlands' Garden Village.

Last week, the Congress for the New Urbanism held its annual conference in Denver -- an event we commemorated with examinations of Bradburn Village, Highlands' Garden Village and several other New Urbanist developments in the city; find them in our Not-So-New Urbanism archive. As for the conference itself, the issues debated there are currently being chronicled on the Huffington Post by Frank Gruber, a columnist for the Santa Monica Lookout News. He's posted three dispatches thus far, with the first, "New Urbanism: Very Misunderstood," setting the stage for the discussions to follow by, among other things, sharing some of the criticism levied against the movement. He writes:

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Not-So-New Urbanism: Prospect

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The Congress for the New Urbanism is holding its annual conference in Denver June 10-14, complete with bus tours of our most well-known new-urbanist enclaves. But how do you judge walkable, neighborhood-based developments? Is it by the diversity (or lack thereof) of their residents, the number of parks nearby, their stumbling distance to a local watering hole? Over the next few days, we'll explore and judge -- oh yes, judge -- six of these developments and find out which is the most urban of the new urban.

On a sunny summer morning, with the sun glinting off the nearby cornfields and recent rains having turned the parks a deep emerald green, Prospect looks too good to be true. But this is the reality of not-so-new urbanism.

Prospect, which is just down Main Street in Longmont, turned an eighty-acre tree farm into Colorado's first new urbanism community, winner of the Governor's Smart Growth Award in 1996. Developer Kiki Wallace hired Duany Plater-Zyberk (DPZ), the planners of Seaside, Florida, and Kentlands, Maryland, to make real his vision for his family's farm, and the results today are stunning. The architecture ranges from modern to Southwestern to victorian to old mining shack; the landscaping is mature, and trees shade the narrow, winding streets.

But there is trouble in this paradise: The project, now in its fourth stage, is still short of the planned 585 units, and many of the retail spaces in the charming little downtown are empty. Still, the long-term prospects of Prospect look good. Very, very good.

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